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The Governor of Illinois wants you—to walk.

Walk Across IllinoisIllinois Governor Pat Quinn issued a year-long fitness challenge to Illinois residents this past Friday. He challenged them to walk 167 miles anywhere within the state in 2012 as part of “Walk Across Illinois.”

Those 167 miles are symbolic. A decade ago, Gov. Quinn hiked the width of Illinois, starting at the Mississippi River in Rock Island and ending at the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago. He completed the 10-day journey with his 78-year old physician, Dr. Quentin Young, to promote decent healthcare for everyone.

Paul Radzki, exercise physiologist at Weiss, says he hopes the challenge raises awareness and gets people in the state’s larger cities walking more. “Some of these cities are so big that no one walks. They have to get in their cars and drive everywhere,” Radzki says.

According to Radzki, walking is also one of the safest activities that people of any age can enjoy outdoors. It’s low-speed, and unlike running, biking or skating, it is also low-impact, putting less pressure on joints. “If you really think about it, everything else can be dangerous, especially for older people,” he says.Gov. Quinn also hopes this challenge will encourage people to participate in promoting their own health:  Illinois ranked as 23rd most obese in the nation in a recent report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Walk Across Illinois website offers many ways people can get moving, both indoors and outdoors.

Outdoor Walks:

  • Walk to work
  • Take an after dinner stroll
  • Take your pet for a walk
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • If you drive, park far away and walk to your destination
  • Walk to do your errands.

Indoor Walks:
  • Visit a nearby museum
  • Walk around your local mall
  • Take the stairs at work
  • Walk to colleagues’ offices instead of emailing or calling them
  • Walk around your house while talking on the phone

Other Options (each is the equivalent of 1 mile unless otherwise noted):
  • Bowling: 30 min.
  • Climbing stairs: 15 min.
  • Dancing, moderate to rapid: 20 min.
  • Elliptical machine: 15 min.
  • Frisbee: 30 min.
  • Gardening: 30 min.
  • Golf: 9 holes = 2 miles
  • House cleaning: 30 min.
  • Jumping rope: 15 min.
  • Mowing the lawn: 20 min.
  • Shoveling snow: 20 min.

Walk Across also features a link for scenic walks throughout Illinois

“If you’re a non-walker, you should think about getting out and walking everyday, no doubt about it. And if you’re already a walker, think about finding ways to walk more,” Radzki says.


“Walking keeps you limber. It’s also good for your lungs, your heart and your brain activity. You’re getting fresh air, which gets more oxygen to your brain,” he adds.

Walk Across Illinois is open to all Illinois residents. Walkers can log their miles online at or call (312) 814-5220 to join. Upon completion of the 167 miles, each walker will receive a certificate and have his or her name posted on the challenge’s website.

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