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Statewide campaign encourages Kansans to exercise

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at 9:34 a.m.

A statewide campaign to encourage exercise and combat obesity launches Saturday, and supporters are urging Kansans to get moving.

“We’re not telling them they have to go run a mile,” said Rick Pappas, one of four Wichita-area Physical Activity Champions selected by the Governor’s Council on Fitness to promote the benefits of exercise. Pappas, a longtime physical education teacher in Wichita public schools, is now a P.E. educator at Wichita State University.

“Taking the dog for a walk counts, playing in the park with your kids, even housework,” he said. “Park your car a little farther. Take the stairs at the mall instead of the escalator.

“Those little things add up. We just want people to be more cognizant of the rising rates of obesity in Kansas and how physical activity can have a positive impact on your health for a lifetime.”

The Get Active Kansas campaign features a new website – www.moveacrosskansas.ks.gov – where residents can log their physical activity and track their progress across a map of the state. Participants can receive credit for up to 60 minutes of exercise each day, with a goal of completing at least 600 minutes a month (30 minutes a day, five days a week).

In 2012, about two-thirds of Kansas adults were classified as overweight or obese. And according to the 2011 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey, nearly one in four Kansas high school students were classified as overweight or obese.

Gov. Sam Brownback led the second annual Kansas Obesity Summit in September, promoting residents to be more active and promote physical activity among businesses, schools, churches and community groups.

Looking for some simple ways to get more exercise? Consider these tips from Pappas and his colleagues at Get Active Kansas:

• Take an activity break. Get up and stretch, walk around and give your muscles and mind a chance to relax.

• Do housework or yard work, such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn or raking leaves, at a more brisk pace.

• Play basketball with your children or friends.

• Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.

• Get up to change the channel on the TV instead of using the remote control.

• Walk in place during commercials. Try a few jumping jacks.

• Wash and wax your car by hand, clean out the garage or plant some flowers.

• To motivate children to be more active, set a good example. Let them choose which games or activities they would like to do – such as walking or bicycling – and plan them as a family.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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