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Around the Home: Get fit in a fun ‘walk’ through Georgia

POSTED: February 22, 2012 12:30 a.m.

If you're looking for some accountability when it comes to staying fit, try the Walk Georgia program.

This free program can help you get back on track with your New Year's resolutions or maintain your commitment to healthier habits.

Participants can watch their time and energy turn into miles in a virtual "walk" through the state.

It's OK if you're not sports-oriented. You'll receive credit for a variety of activities such as gardening, dancing and yard work.

The goals of the 12-week program, sponsored by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and its partners, are to help you:

• Get more fit.

• Develop the habit of regular physical activity.

• Get support from others who are also interested in moving more.

• Have fun.

The Online component of Walk Georgia offers an activity record to keep track of your weekly physical activity and time.

The activity you record is translated into "walked" miles, based on average rigor of the chosen activity and the time you were active, according to the program's website.

As you accumulate miles, you'll navigate a map of the Peach State and chart your course to "walk" Georgia.

As participants move throughout the virtual state, they'll view fun facts about each county and discover information on how to improve their health.

Participants can register as individuals or form a team. It's a great way to start a friendly competition with co-workers, neighbors or relatives.

Watch your progress and see how you compare to other individuals or teams throughout the state.

Be sure to read the "Exercise Tips" and check out the "Additional Resources" link.

Registration continues through March 17. The program ends May 5.

For more information, visit: www.walkgeorgia.org.

Ready to jazz up your menus?

You'll find a variety of recipes for smoothies, burritos and more on the National Dairy Council Web Site, www.nationaldairycouncil.org. Plus, the site offers tips on health and wellness.

Family members who coordinate and prepare the meals often miss out on family time. A little planning now can help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your relatives.

It's not too early to take a look at your menu plans (especially snacks) for spring break and family gatherings coming up in April and May.

Here are some more sites that offer a wide range of tips and recipes:

• www.mealsmatter.org

• gapeaches.org

• www.georgiapecansfit.org

• www.georgiaeggs.org

• www.diabetes.org

Spring is a really busy season in Northeast Georgia. Festivals and a variety of annual outdoor events will bloom.

The 10th annual Hall County Master Gardeners' Spring Garden Expo is April 6-7. For details, visit www.hcmgs.com.

Be sure to read The Times "Get Out" section each Thursday for information on upcoming events.

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact: 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.



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