NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Walking ND in the Spring

Walking ND in the Spring

            It’s here!   Spring - and the ability to be outside more – has finally arrived.  The bike paths and sidewalks are sometimes mini-traffic jams with bikers, strollers, roller bladers, walkers, tricycle riders all enjoying the outdoors.

            In addition to the emotional lift of getting out of the house after a long winter, all that physical activity helps control weight, reduce the risk for many diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and many cancers. Exercise helps strengthen bones and muscles for both children and adults.

            How much time should we be spending on some type of outdoor activity?  For children and teenagers the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services recommends 1 hour of activity per day. For adults the goal is 150 minutes, or 2 ½ hours of physical activity per week.

            As parents, we can do many things to help our children develop healthy exercise habits for life and make physical activity fun for the whole family.

Tips for Making Family Time Active Time:

  • Set an exercise goal (in minutes) for the family. Agree on a prize for reaching your goal such as a family bowling night, trip to the pool or other celebration
  • Start a tradition of celebrating special occasions like holidays and birthdays etc. with a volley ball game, family tug-of war, foot ball toss, basket ball game, etc.
  • If you’re having trouble finding time for exercise, schedule exercise time on the family calendar.
  • Ask everyone to help unload the groceries. Carry smaller loads and make more trips to the car.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make taking the stairs an adventure like climbing a mountain or a game of who can get to the top first.
  • Park farther away from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Park the car a block or two from school and walk kids the rest of the way.
  • Ask children for ideas of fun things they would like to do to be more active.
  • Plant a garden.
  • If it’s too early to plant a garden, plan it, by measuring the space, and going through catalogs to select seeds. Turn garden soil over or get large flower pots ready to go.
  • Rake the yard. Give everyone a job, such as holding the trash bag open, raking and inspecting. Keep their interest by switching jobs often.
  • Wash the windows and sweep the sidewalk.
  • Walk or bike to the library grocery store, and post office.
  • Walk the dog.


            Another Walk North Dakota program is ready to help you get outside again and improve your health by making physical activity part of your daily routine. Walk ND challenges you to walk 200 miles during an eight-week period. The next challenge runs April 11 to June 5.   You can reach that goal by walking 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 walk that many steps. Linda Hauge, the Walk North Dakota coordinator, says “We encourage you to walk as many steps as you feel comfortable walking and keep trying to walk a little more each week,” All you need to do is put on a pedometer the first thing in the morning and record the number of steps you’ve taken at the end of the day. If you don’t own a pedometer, record one mile or 2,000 steps for every 20 minutes you walk.

            Participants must report those steps every two weeks. You can do that 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 as an individual or part of a group. Groups that haven’t already participated in Walk North Dakota 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. 4-H club members can participate free of charge. To register, visit the Walk North Dakota Web site at http://www.walknd.com. For more information, contact Hauge at (701) 231-7964 or info@walknd.com.

            Nearly 3,900 people have accepted the Walk North Dakota challenge since the program began in May 2004. They have logged more than 1.5 billion steps, which is the equivalent of more than 756,000 miles.




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