By Mark Woodland
A new summer wellness program is encouraging BYU faculty and staff to take the right steps to a healthier life; the right million steps, to be exact.
“Tour America”, the new summer fitness challenge for BYU faculty and staff members and their families, encourages participants to make a conscious effort to walk more, measuring their steps with a pedometer and posting the results on a Web site. The ultimate goal is for each participant to reach 1 million steps by the end of the summer. The results are individual, but participants enjoy the competition of comparing distances as well.
“The nice thing about this challenge is that [participants] can go at their own pace,” said BYU Wellness Coordinator Krista Mangan.
Unlike other programs that must be completed on a set schedule, “Tour America” allows participants to walk as much or as little as they want throughout the duration of the summer.
This flexibility has attracted over 300 participants who are all taking part for different reasons.
“I am ultra competitive,” said MOA Store manager Laney Oswald, who is currently training to run in the St. George Marathon. “This is a program where I can push myself to the physical limits because it is a competition.”
Apart from a healthier body and the satisfaction of a job well done, motivation to take part in this program comes through prizes offered to participants who reach certain milestones. For every 100,000 steps taken, participants reach a new city, are offered a new health challenge and can earn a new prize.
At each city participants can complete a mini-health challenge like eating five fruits and vegetables a day, tracking fat intake, wearing sunscreen for a week and completing three health screenings. The cities have such health conscious names as Cholesterol Springs, Las Veggies and Wella Wella.
Prizes include a sun protection kit, a box of Cheerios and a first aid kit, according to a write-up by Wellness Coordinator Jeannie McLaughlin. Every participant that reaches 800,000 steps will be entered into a drawing to win an overnight stay at a Park City resort.
To date, “Tour America” participants have walked a total of 208,271,981 steps. This is about 104,136 miles or 4.16 times around the world. Thirty-three participants have reached 1 million steps.
The “Tour America” summer fitness program will continue until August 25, 2006. All non-student faculty, staff and their families are invited to participate.
The BYU Wellness Center offers a variety of activities and events to help BYU students, staff and faculty to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For more information about the BYU Wellness Center and future events visit wellness.byu.edu.