Woman Challenge Promotes Physical Activity

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Women's physical activity

The Nebraska Health and Human Service System's Office of Women's Health encourages all women to participate in a new program called the WOMAN Challenge.

WOMAN stands for Women and girls Out Moving Across the Nation. All women age nine and older are invited to participate. The event is an eight-week national campaign dedicated to increasing every woman's physical activity. The WOMAN Challenge begins Mother's Day, May 13, and ends July 8, 2007.

"This event is a great way to begin an active exercise program that will truly make a difference in how women feel," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, HHSS Chief Medical Officer. "Only eight weeks can make a big difference in how you feel and look."

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This free eight-week challenge encourages women and girls to walk 10,000 steps or get 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Interested persons can register for the event online at www.womenshealth.gov/ Participants will receive a free pedometer (while quantities last) and tracking log to record their progress throughout the eight weeks. They will also receive weekly e-mails with health tips to help them reach their goal.

Women and girls can participate either as an individual or as a team. Team participation is encouraged, with up to 10 people per team. Moms, grandmothers and daughters can form a team, or co-workers can participate as an office or company team.

"Women can also choose to travel one of six different 'virtual' courses across America," said Kathy Ward, Administrator of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System's Office of Women's Health. "The six imaginary routes include cross-country, Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountains, Plains and Midwest, Gulf and Caribbean and the Northeast. Each route can be accomplished within the eight-week period."

Although personal goals may vary, a person with an active lifestyle walks approximately 10,000 steps per day. This is equal to about five miles in distance. A goal of 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times per week is also considered an active lifestyle.

The WOMAN Challenge will kick off the eighth annual National Women's Health Week, May 13-19. The event is being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health.

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