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Everybody Walk Across PA program

Posted: May 3, 2016

Who walks 194,000+ plus miles in a day? Answer: Participants of the “Everybody Walk Across PA” program.

Increase Your Physical Activity And Eat Healthier. How many times is that repeated in health messages? The Everybody Walk Across PA eight week wellness program was conducted across the state for the second year and was designed to help people do just that. Across Pennsylvania, over 1500 participants from 49 counties formed teams of up to five people. They committed to walking or doing the equivalent physical activity of at least 10 miles per person per week for 8 weeks. A total of 194,332 miles were logged during the eight weeks. Teams came from communities, worksites, senior centers, schools, and civic organizations.

This year we virtually visited the State Parks in each district of the state, with themes such as History, Vistas, Waterfalls, and Harbingers of Spring. Weekly emails included information on health and wellness, motivation, tips for physical activity and highlights about our “virtual” visit to the parks.  In addition, Outdoor Food Safety and Kids in the Outdoors were included to encourage safe and fun outdoor experiences for families.

Evaluations showed that over 95% of respondents increased the amount of physical activity they engaged in weekly, and 36% increased the amount of fruits and vegetable they ate daily. Comments each week and through the evaluation indicate that this program helps to create a habit of physical activity for individuals & families and included: “I will keep going even after the program ends.” “My whole family became more active.” “I really enjoyed forcing myself to get outside more.”

Participants ranged in age, with many older adults included. The following comments indicate that not only is “Everybody Walk Across PA” a multi-generational happening, but it is also intergenerational , with participants across the lifespan drawing support, motivation, and energy from one another as participants work together to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. Here are some of the comments alluding to how older adults were fully integrated into the event:

  • One of our team members ran the Broad Street Run on Sunday for the 5th time, with his 75 year old father, who ran it for the 1st time!!
  • The Golden Girls are hanging in the best that we can. With 2 hospitalizations, it is sure making things interesting! That team spirit is what is keeping us going!
  • Octogenarian mom is still racking up high mileage, putting us all to shame, but a couple of us have doubled our mileage for the week! Hours of yard work has cut into walking and running time, but it sure helps with the total. We all love getting outside and getting moving!
  • We made it through the week. One of our team members had a Stroke, has had a 90% recovery. She was the force behind us getting through this past week. Can't say any more, too emotional, but We Did It For You Annie!
  • The eldest member carried our team every week this year. She, at 80 years of age, was averaging over 32 miles! We all have something for which to strive. We appreciate another great event and plan to keep walking into next year's event!

For more information about the program, future events, and event participants, check the Penn State Everybody Walk Across PA website. [Lead contact person: Karen Bracey (kbracey@psu.edu)]