Signs on trails encourage healthy lifestyle
PRATT -- What’s your cholesterol? What’s your blood pressure? What’s your weight? What’s your blood sugar? These and other health-related questions are addressed at the Kansas state government's Healthy Kansas website, healthykansas.org/whats_your_mile.aspx. The Healthy Kansas website includes a program entitled "What's Your Mile?" This program helps visitors to the website tailor a walking/hiking program to improve personal fitness.

To promote this effort, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is helping turn information into action at state park trails throughout the Sunflower State. Helping park visitors stay fit, park staff answer the "What's Your Mile?" question and provide exercise incentives on park trails by posting signs that help hikers gauge their fitness level. At the beginning of most trails, signs are posted reading, "This trail leads to better health." Included on the signs is information about how to increase health and fitness, including hiking's role.

Every person's metabolism is different, but certain benchmarks apply to all. The benchmark for this "exercise" is that if you can complete one mile in 14 minutes or less without discomfort, you are achieving a good level of fitness. To help hikers know just how well they are doing, park staff have also posted markers at one-mile intervals along each trail that is a mile or longer.

The "What's Your Mile?" campaign includes the following HealthyKansas Pledge:

  • get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily;
  • eat a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables; and
  • avoid tobacco use.

This summer, use Kansas state parks to help fulfill the first part of this pledge. You'll have fun and feel better in the process.