Panola County Gets Ready

Written by Vickie Langford Lacy.

Walk Across Texas 2016

It is that time again! Panola County residents like to walk and Walk Across Texas gives them an opportunity to have fun with friends and pool their miles with seven other teammates.  Local community leaders are responsible for sponsoring and promoting the event each year.  Those persons include Sharon Ivey, Sharon Rivard, Pat Whitaker, Ginger Adams Compton, Don Cocklin, Teresa Dennard, Joni Reed, Amy Allison, Susan Corley, and Joel Hill.

Last year Panola County had teams of eight to walk over 33,000 miles.  That is the fifth highest number of miles logged of any county in Texas.  Yes, that includes counties such as Dallas and Harris Counties.   Adults and youth both participated in the eight week event with the Carthage High School Band walking a significant number of steps in the challenge.

This year’s free fitness walk will kick off in collaboration with the suicide prevention movement, Save A Life Today (SALT) with a two mile walk on Saturday, September 17.  The kick off will be at the Carthage Junior High track.  Registration will be at 8:00 am and the two mile walk will begin at 8:30.  Hibbetts Sporting goods will be on hand with door prizes and answers to questions about walking shoe fit. If you are not already registered online, Sharon Ivey will register participants.

Team captains from other years know that now is a good time to be talking to your team members and getting signed up on the website:  walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu/.  Teams are encouraged to come up with fun names.  Two years ago the Southwestern Electric Company named their team, “The Walkie Talkies.”  Neighborhood groups, businesses, county and city offices are all encouraged to take this opportunity to encourage their friends to get out of the chair, walk for their health, and have fun at the same time.

Since 1996, thousands of Texans have participated in Walk Across Texas.  Panola County is one of the counties who piloted the program in the beginning stages.  Walk Across Texas is sponsored by the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service and is designed to help promote healthier living by challenging each group to walk two miles per day for eight weeks.  If eight team members walk two miles per day for eight weeks the team will have walked 840 miles, the distance between Longview and El Paso!  Participants may walk as teams or as solo walkers. 

Throughout the challenge team members may convert other physical challenges like physical labor, running, playing sports, mowing the grass, aerobic exercising, bike riding, skateboarding, roller blading, treadmill walking, swimming, etc. to walking miles by using the drop down calculator on the home page of the WAT web site.  Any kind of exercise that causes breathing to accelerate may be converted to walking miles.

To keep things fun and interesting mid-way events are suggested for teams below:

October 8, 2016: Potlatch Fun Run

October 15, 2016: St. William Catholic Church Cajun Fiesta with dance band and dance floor opportunities

October 31, 2016: Downtown Main Street Flash Mob. (Stay tuned for practice sessions to be announced.)

The last day to walk will be November 12, 2016.  The last day for captains to turn in miles will be November 19, 2016.   To celebrate on Saturday, November 19, 2016 there will be door prizes and snacks at Winkler Place, senior retirement living.  Bethany Home Health is invited to share about “Healthy Lifestyles” and Hibbetts will be providing door prizes.  You must be present to win!  More details are to come.  Tentative time is 10:00-11:00 am.

Participants get a little competitive with their friends along the way.  Some find that they even lower their cholesterol without taking medication.  Blood pressure may even go down.

Visit walkacrosstexas.edu for more information or call Vickie Lacy, Panola County Extension Agent (FCS) at 903.693.0380.

“Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides equal opportunities in its programs and employment to all persons, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”