Stepping lively

By on May 14, 2009

Kaneland staffers on the move
by Lynn Meredith
There’s nothing like a healthy competition to get people moving. That’s the motivation behind a month-long walking contest between the six Kaneland schools and the district office.

During April, staff members logged the number of steps they took on a given day, and added them together for a weekly total by school. They kept track of the numbers, along with calories burned, by the use of a pedometer attached to their waistbands.

The competition was part of a spring initiative to bring awareness of the benefits of walking and to inspire people to increase their level of activity.

“I might normally take between 3,000 and 7,000 steps a day without trying,” Erica Schlichter said.

To get to the 10,000 steps recommended for health, participants say they have to think about it.

“I get up and walk to an office instead of calling them on the phone,” Schlichter said.

John Shields won two of the four weeks; the district office won one week and Blackberry Creek won two weeks and had the highest cumulative total steps. Incentives like DVDs, healthy cookbooks, lunch boxes, Tupperware containers and gift cards to Jewel were given to the weekly winners.

Did the initiative have the desired effect? Sarah Mumm, who coordinated the competition, said that two staff members were told by their doctors that they no longer needed blood pressure medicine. Another staffer confided that she had lost 7 pounds, even before the contest was over.

“There are more cars parked farther away from all buildings, more staff taking the long route to their classroom and offices, and even one school has created a cheering section for their walkers,” Mumm said. “This initiative is promoting awareness on staying active all day, teamwork and support of wellness for each other and promoting truly healthier lifestyles all week long.”

By the numbers

Total steps taken :
71 million

Total participants:
228 walkers

Winning school:
Blackberry Creek

Highest cumulative average per week:
63,000 steps (BBK)

Final week average for weekly winner:
80,000 steps
by John Shields

Daily recommended number of steps:

: Curriculum Director Sarah Mumm (in green) walks with a group of other educators at Kaneland High School. They took part in a month-long walking contest in April, accumulating 71 million combined steps from the 228 walkers. Photo by Lynn Meredith