Have you ever dreamed of being a marathon runner but haven’t had the time to properly train or the thought is just too daunting? UT-TSU Extension in Wilson County has joined forces with UT Extension in Robertson and Smith counties to host May Marathon Month! This is a personal challenge that allows you to accumulate miles by walking, running or jogging throughout the month of May.

A marathon is 26.2 miles, so you can accomplish this goal by running less than one mile a day. If this is still too much, you can commit to a half marathon (13.1 miles). This is a personal challenge, but you can challenge your friends, family or coworkers to see who “finishes” the marathon first!

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health. Moving more and sitting less have tremendous benefits for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or current fitness level. Individuals with a chronic disease or a disability benefit from regular physical activity, as do women who are pregnant. The scientific evidence continues to build—physical activity is linked with even more positive health outcomes than we previously thought. And, even better, benefits can start accumulating with small amounts of, and immediately after doing, physical activity.

Today, about half of all American adults — 117 million people — have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity.

During this time of uncertainty, we want to encourage you to take charge of your health. Following social distancing guidelines put in place due to COVID-19 doesn’t mean you have to stop being active. Levels of the recommended physical activity are also good for maintaining immunity, in addition to adequate diet and nutrition. Getting outside is good for mental health as well. According to federal guidelines, adults generally need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic (cardio) activity per week, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Moderate or greater intensity muscle-strengthening activities for all muscle groups should be done twice a week. Children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes or more per day of aerobic activity. For children, much of this should be active play time.

So, put down that electronic device and put on your walking or running shoes. The deadline to register for May Marathon Month is May 3. To register, go to http://tiny.utk.edu/MayMarathon. You can contact Shelly Barnes with UT-TSU Extension in Wilson County at sphill24@utk.edu for questions or more information.

Your local Extension program focuses on providing educational programming and outreach in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development. We are thankful to serve you and want you to know that even our offices are currently closed, we are still here and still working for you. Please reach out to us for more information about our programming.

For more information on this or other family topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sphill24@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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