Imagine walking the 34-kilometre route between Gambo to Gander every week. The Gambo Recreation Commission is hoping people in Gambo will actually do that and more next month.
It recently announced the Gambo 10,000 Step Challenge, encouraging participants to walk 10,000 steps — approximately eight kilometres — every day for six weeks, which is even farther than walking the distance between Gambo and Gander every week.
“Eight kilometres is what’s recommended by Health Canada that the average person should be walking to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said recreation commission chairman Jim Pritchett.
Pritchett’s committee introduced several healthy living programs last year, such as dance classes and fitness boot camp, but because participation was low the group decided to try something different.
“A lot of people didn’t show up because they didn’t think they were co-ordinated enough or physically fit enough for some of the more intensive programs,” he said.
“So we decided to try the 10,000 step challenge, which is something almost everyone can get involved with. Nearly everyone can go out for a walk or walk around the house.”
Registration was held Saturday, and will be held on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Gambo Community Youth Centre. For a small fee any community member can take the challenge — to a maximum of 500 people. Each participant will get a pedometer and a logbook to track their progress. They can also record their weight, measurements, body mass index and body fat percentage at the beginning of the challenge and again at the end.
Pritchett said people who record their steps online will be entered into a draw for prizes.
The person who recruits the most members will win two tickets for “Revue 2010,” a dinner for two, and a night at a Gander hotel.
The committee will be planning group walking events once or twice a week.
“We’re hoping to have some nighttime walking around the track and field in Gambo, as well as some walks around different trails,” Pritchett said.
“We’re also going to try and have a walking scavenger hunt.”
He hopes the initiative will result in a healthier community.
“Our goal is to increase the overall activity level in Gambo,” said Pritchett. “Health Canada recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day and there’s all kinds of health benefits associated with that, from diabetes prevention to cardiovascular benefits.”
Those who successfully complete the 10,000 step challenge will have walked more than 330 kilometres, just about the distance from Grand Falls-Windsor to St. John’s.
The Gambo 10,000 Step Challenge is funded by a wellness grant from the provincial government.