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Simple Steps program aims to get people moving

Five years ago Dakota County started the Simple Steps, a free walking program to encourage people to be more physically active. The program has grown every year, and organizers hope this year will draw even more people out.

Community health specialist Katherine Martin said the county hopes to get 1,500 people to participate in this year's free program. Simple Steps encourages participants to walk for fun and fitness.

"We found that a majority of the population doesn't get enough physical activity," said Martin. "This is a nice, easy way to get motivated to do more physical activity."

The program is open to any adult who lives or works in Dakota County.

In Rosemount, a number of people participate with in Simple Steps including Kathie Hanson. Hanson has walked with the program since it started.

"I joined it for personal and business reasons," said Hanson.

Hanson said she wanted to be healthier and was on a wellness committee at work, which was charged with providing opportunities for employees. Hanson works for the city of Rosemount and started a walking team with the Simple Steps program. Employees can either walk with the team or on their own.

Hanson walks every day at lunch. During the summer, Hanson, who lives in downtown Rosemount, walks to and from work.

Hanson said she likes the program because it holds her accountable to be physically active.

Hanson said Simple Steps has improved in the five years since it started. She said they have added nice online features including a place to log time walked, walking tips and a list of walking trails in Dakota County.

"It's a really good resource," said Hanson.

Those who want to participate can sign up with the program now through July 15. The program runs through August, though Martin hopes people will keep walking even when the program has ended.

The goal of the program, Martin said, is to improve the overall health of residents in the county. She said improving people's health benefits everyone because healthy people are more productive, have lower healthcare costs and feel better.

"It's to everyone's benefit," said Martin.

To sign up go to the Dakota County website at and search for Simple Steps. Sign up is easy and free.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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