First Walk N.D. Challenge of 2011 has been set

Staff reports

Did you eat too many goodies and turn into a couch potato during the holidays?

Then start walking.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service's Walk North Dakota program can help you get moving. The program challenges you to walk 200 miles during an eight-week period. The next session runs Jan. 9 to March 5.

To reach the 200-mile goal, you'll need to walk about 10,000 steps a day at least five days a week. That's the equivalent of walking five miles a day.

"But don't worry if you can't manage that many steps," says Linda Hauge, Walk North Dakota coordinator. "Walk as many steps as you feel comfortable walking, and keep trying to walk a little more each week."

This is how the program works: Put on a pedometer in the morning and record the number of steps you've taken by the end of the day. Then report those steps every two weeks. If you don't own a pedometer, record one mile or 2,000 steps for every 20 minutes you walk.

You can report your progress online at http://www.walknd.com or on a mail-in postcard. If you report online, you'll receive an e-mail message reminding you when to report.

You can join Walk North Dakota as an individual or part of a group. Groups that haven't participated in the program should send an e-mail to info@walknd.com.

You don't need to live in North Dakota to participate.

The registration fee is $10 per person for anyone age 19 or older and $5 for youth age 18 and younger. North Dakota 4-H'ers can participate free of charge. Go to the Walk North Dakota website at http://www.walknd.com to register. For more information, contact Hauge at (701) 231-7964 or info@walknd.com.

Since the program started in May 2004, 4,076 participants have walked about 1.58 billion steps, or approximately 792,989 miles.