Davis Health System's "100 Miles in 100 Days" program is entering its eighth season this summer.
The self-directed program promoting physical activity encourages people of all ages to commit to walk or do other aerobic activity for at least one measured mile for 20 minutes every day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
"The requirement is very simple: go out and walk," said Marjory Moses, DHS director of community wellness, who coordinates the 100 Miles program. "Or choose another outdoor or indoor activity that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working, like biking, running, using a treadmill or going to Zumba class."
Moses said participants don't have to be in super shape or super-thin to participate; the most important thing is to stay committed to moving for at least 20 minutes each day.
The purpose of the program is to create the habit of getting even a small amount of physical activity every day. Most people choose to walk - many with friends, family or co-workers. It is proven that consistent physical activity like walking has many health benefits, including muscle and cardiovascular fitness, weight management and blood pressure and blood sugar level reduction. In addition, regular moderate exercise lifts one's spirit and mood and improves sleep.
"Every year, people tell me that the 100 Miles program has helped them lose weight or how much better they feel - how they are able to do more activities they enjoy because they feel better," Moses said. "It's very rewarding to see how people benefit from the small act of 20 minutes a day."
Those who log at least 7 miles a week also are rewarded with a finisher's T-shirt after all the miles are compiled in September.
Registration for the program is ongoing, and many people already are signed up.
"We expect to have a great turnout," Moses said. "Last year, more than 87,000 miles were logged! We hope to get close to 100,000 this year."
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton was among the first in the community to register.
"I've participated in this for quite a few years now," Broughton said. "It's great for the community, and it promotes a healthy lifestyle, helps people lose weight, clear their head, and, of course, it's fun."
The event has a personal meaning for Broughton, as well. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he decided to try the walking program.
"It helped me lose weight, control my sugar levels and correct my sleep patterns," he said.
100 Miles in 100 Days is modeled on the original Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days, developed and trademarked by the Wellness Program at the Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University. DHS has permission to offer a similar program.
Registration and recording miles can all be done online this year at www.dhs100miles.com. More information is available by contacting Moses at 304-637-3139.