Fitness program lets you Walk Georgia

Exercisers gathered today to kick off a fitness program that lets participants walk across the state -- without leaving their favorite local parks.

Walk Georgia, an eight-week effort sponsored by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, gives both individuals and teams a chance to accumulate virtual "miles" by doing various forms of exercise. At the end of the eight weeks, prizes are awarded based on distances traveled.

It's all done through a Web site -- www.walkgeorgia.org -- where participants both register and log the time they spend exercising.

Most Georgia counties are participating in the statewide effort. Locally, participants in today's kickoff festivities at Weracoba Park were optimistic about the program's potential for community involvement.

"We're all doing it together," said Joy Hendrix, director of the South Columbus Senior Center. "It makes people more aware that you need to exercise and eat right so we can all live longer."

Registration for Walk Georgia is open until Monday, March 10. Visit www.walkgeorgia.org to register.