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Wilburn: Get in shape before spring is sprung
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Two simple facts we know of affect weight loss: take in less calories when eating and burn more calories with physical activity.

One pound equals 3,500 calories. Can you reduce 3,500 calories a week? Yes, it is as simple as cutting out 500 calories a day.

For example, cut out a second helping and save 300 calories, cut out a 16-ounce soft drink and save 200 calories, cut out a candy bar and save 300. You can also reduce calories by exercising. A 160-pound person can burn 211 calories by walking or doing aerobics for 30 minutes.

Combine healthy eating and exercise to lose 2 pounds a week. A gradual weight loss is safer and more likely to be successful in the long run.

Move more, live more

To help you get started, the University of Georgia is offering Walk Georgia, a free eight-week program sponsored by UGA Cooperative Extension to increase your physical activity in a fun, community-oriented way. You may participate as an individual and track your progress with other individuals in your county and state OR join a team of four to exercise together.

Record your physical activity

The online component of Walk Georgia provides an activity record to keep track of your weekly physical activity and time. The activity that you record is translated into miles, based on average rigor of the chosen activity and the time period you were active.

Track your progress across the state.

When you accumulate miles, you will be able to navigate a map of Georgia and chart your course to "walk" Georgia. As you move throughout this virtual state, you will be able to view fun facts about each county you visit and learn new ways to improve your health. You will also be able to see how you compare to other individuals throughout the state.

Join us!

We hope you will be inspired to join us and others in your county as we get more active and become healthier. Register by March 10 on the Walk Georgia Web site.

This program is sponsored through your local Cooperative Extension office (call Hall County Cooperative Extension at 770-535-8290 and ask for Debbie Wilburn). For more information about other county Cooperative Extension offices, call1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.

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