Let's Get Physical

A new exercise craze has made its way into our area. Local health officials are competing to see who can walk the most to help improve their health, and at the same time have a little fun.

For many employees of the South Health District, the work day is spent sitting behind a desk, advising people on how to improve their health. Now, with the help of tiny pedometers, employees are getting up and competing to see who, if anyone, can walk 10,000 steps in a single day.

Jennifer Steedley of South Health District says, "It’s roughly five miles a day, and that's the goal, to take 10,000 steps in a day. Now it’s a lot tougher than you would think. We need to be doing what we're telling our clients to be doing. If we're not doing it, if we're not physically active, how effective is it when we tell patients, 'Hey, you need to do a little bit more?'"

Walking program promoters say they've seen the program slowly grow in popularity.

John Sparks with Lowndes Partnership for Health says, "We've been helping companies do this program for the last year, and by and far it’s been the most successful physical activity program we've ever done because people find it very simple to implement into their lifestyles and it’s fun to have a little device to get feedback and know they are doing some good."

Exercise team members keep track on charts. While there is some competitive pressure, participants say the extra exercise is life-changing and more people should take part.

Steedley adds, "That's what the hope is, that we can get our friends and families and eventually our patients involved as well."

It’s helping more south Georgians realize how a little extra walking can drastically improve their health. Organizers say another benefit of the program is its low cost, since most pedometers cost just a few dollars.