RUTLAND - WalkRutland, a program of the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition (RAPAC), is launching its latest walking challenge.
The 2nd annual 100 Miles in 100 Days challenge is designed to encourage individuals to get out and walk 1 mile each day for 100 days. The program is free and open to all adults who live or work in Rutland County.
This walking challenge is an easy way to keep moving and lose a few pounds - or at least maintain your weight - during these cold winter months. In 2010, about 450 people participated. According to the walking logs and survey information, a total of 44,557 miles were walked during the 100 days, and each of the finishers lost an average of 4 pounds.
WalkRutland promotes walking by offering monthly guided walks and periodic walking challenges, as well as incentives to participants.
"Walking is as close as you can get to a magic pill," said Jen Coleman, WalkRutland coordinator. "It strengthens your heart and bones; can help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar; helps control your weight; helps to prevent memory loss; relieves stress and gives you energy. All that and there's no co-pay.
"Walking is a great exercise for busy people because you can accommodate it to your schedule. You can squeeze it in before or after work, during your lunch, or you can walk in 5- or 10-minute chunks throughout your day. Furthermore, you don't need to wear special clothes, and you don't have to shower when you're finished."
The challenge, which begins Jan. 17 and ends April 26, encourages participants to walk 1 mile a day for 100 days. The mileage can be measured by distance, pedometer steps (2,000 steps = 1 mile), or time (approximately 20 minutes = 1 mile). Guidelines in the packet clarify that you must go for an actual walk - strapping on a pedometer and counting your steps throughout your normal daily routine isn't in the spirit of this walking challenge. Also, miles must be walked - running doesn't count because this is a walking challenge. Walking indoors (a list of indoor walking sites is in the packet) or on a treadmill is acceptable.
Even though people are encouraged to walk a mile a day, as long as they complete 100 miles in 100 days, they can fulfill the challenge. This allows people to have the flexibility to double up their mileage if their schedules won't permit them to walk every day. Also, the challenge does not limit people to 100 miles in 100 days.
"Several participants from last year are setting a goal of 200 or 300 miles in 100 days," Coleman said. "One hundred miles is only the starting point."
If people miss the initial start date of Jan. 17, they can still participate and qualify for completion as long as they walk 100 miles by April 26.
It's easy to participate. Each individual must complete and mail in a registration form and keep a log - walking logs are provided in the registration packet - of his or her mileage. Participants who mail in their qualifying walking logs by April 30 will be entered in a drawing for prizes. These prizes will be distributed on Saturday, May 14, at Rutland's Depot Park in conjunction with the Farmers Market. Some of last year's prizes included massages, kayak rentals, grocery gift cards, and fitness club memberships.
This year, 100 Miles in 100 Days registration packets can be downloaded from www.walkrutland.com or picked up at these Rutland County libraries: Brandon, Castleton, Clarendon, Fair Haven, Killington, Pawlet, Pittsford, Poultney, Proctor, Rutland, Wallingford and West Rutland.
For more information on the challenge, visit www.walkrutland.com or call Jen Coleman at (802) 342-3479.