Take strides to better health during ‘Step to it challenge’

Hennepin County residents can now register for the county’s “Step to it challenge,” open to people of all ages and abilities who want to get moving while connecting with family, friends and neighbors. During the challenge May 1-28, participants track their steps for a chance to win Twins tickets or other prizes.

Any activity counts

Participants can log all types of activity toward their step total — even for activities already part of their daily routine, like washing the car, cleaning the house and doing laundry.

“Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. There’s always something you can turn into an exercise,” says Sharon Kephart, a “Step to it” participant from Brooklyn Center. For the past several years, she has participated in the “Step to it challenge” with her 92-year-old mother, Doris Kephart, and 26-year-old daughter, Ashlee Kephart.

The challenge has enabled the three generations of women to find new ways to stay active and spend time together. “Instead of always being in a rush going from place to place, it was a way to see each other every day. You don’t realize you are taking that many steps every day. It’s encouraging to see and makes you feel good,” Sharon said.

The extra activity added up. Ashlee Kephart took home the title of highest stepper under 65 from Brooklyn Center last year. She racked up 1,047,560 steps.

Participants stay connected

Naomi Davidson, age 72 of Crystal, uses the challenge as a way to stay active while meeting people. She was the top stepper age 65 or older for her community last year with 1,090,575 million steps.

“I’ve always been a very active person, and I know the importance of exercise. The “Step to it challenge” is a great way to meet new and existing neighbors. Introduce yourself as you walk by and ask them to join your team. A safer neighborhood is one where people know each other. And it is fun,” Davidson said.

For the past five years, Davidson has inspired her neighbors to get active by forming a neighborhood “Step to it” team, which she named the “The Dynamos.” The team ends each year’s challenge with a celebratory barbeque at Davidson’s home.

“What I have found is that many people think it is too time consuming to enter your steps or that you have to go to a gym. You can enter steps daily or weekly using your everyday activities. The challenge only lasts four weeks. Every step helps your city, and you help yourself with the exercise,” Davidson said.

How to participate

  • Register online at orgor call 612-348-5618.
  • Log your activity daily or weekly May 1-28.
  • You can log steps using your activity tracker.

 

— Information provided by Hennepin County