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Community gets moving through the pandemic to log 43,000 miles

AIESHA BANKS • May 30, 2020 at 7:30 PM

The Stayin’ in but Workin’ Out challenge was a virtual, micro-fitness challenge issued by Healthy Kingsport to keep individuals and teams moving through the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition ran from March 23-May 4. More than 33 teams participated — or 985 individuals —  and collectively logged 85 million steps or approximately 43,000 miles. That’s equivalent to one and a half trips around the Earth or 15.09 trips across the United States. Simply incredible!

The top teams were Ballad Health, YMCA, Luttrell Staffing, the town of Greeneville, Healthy Kingsport, St. Dominic Church, the Bank of Tennessee, First Presbyterian Church, and the Sullivan County Health Department.

The Stayin’ in but Workin’ Out challenge motivated the teams to push harder, reaching out of individual comfort zones to increase daily activity in trying times.

Tiphanie Bigham, team leader for YMCA, said, “We greatly value the partnership with Healthy Kingsport and recognize the importance of horizontal collaboration to encourage overall well-being in our community. Walker Tracker provides accountability, virtual social support, and motivation for individuals to assess their current level of physical activity and to build on increasing that level, taking small steps over time.”

In 2018, our region became the first in the nation to log more than 6.7 million miles of physical activity by crushing Healthy Kingsport’s 2 Million Mile Challenge. This statistic includes the miles students from Kingsport City and Sullivan County Schools amassed during the last school year, which contributed over 4 million miles to our challenge total. Healthy Kingsport’s annual physical activity challenges were established to decrease our high physical inactivity rate, which is a major contributing factor to our region’s twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Healthy Kingsport recently issued its 2020 challenge: 4 million community miles! We are eager to add our community miles again this year and believe together we’ll top 5 million total miles. While that seems like a real stretch through the pandemic, we have proven ourselves to be a region that is not only capable but wholly committed.

Beginning June 1, Healthy Kingsport wants to create a summer challenge that will push our community to change its mindset when it comes to being active. When you tell yourself something, your mind starts to believe it. Instead of telling yourself hiking is difficult or running is hard or I don’t have time to work out, tell yourself, “I can do this” and you will!

As students, parents, and teachers are ending their school year and our community is trying to find new ways to be active, Healthy Kingsport would like to spring into summer with a new Walker Tracker challenge! Our new challenge will be called Mind Over Miles beginning June 1 and ending Aug. 1. We want to challenge everyone to get at least 6,000 steps or 3 miles per day. Who knows, there might be some giveaways after the challenge!

You can download the Walker Tracker app or go to healthykingsport.org and click on “Join Walker Tracker” at the top of the page. Link your device and join our challenge; it’s that easy! You can also visit our Facebook page for a “how-to” tutorial about Walker Tracker as well as suggestions on some local hiking trails to help get your steps in!

For more information on Walker Tracker and on signing up for the challenges, contact Desteny Ferguson at [email protected]

Healthy Kingsport is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy.

Aiesha Banks is the executive director of Healthy Kingsport. She can be reached at [email protected]

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