Staying at home is not stopping participants in this year’s National Fitness Challenge. The quest to stay or become fit has fueled innovative and creative ways of being active during this period of self-isolation. From regular Zoom gatherings, to yoga, to running virtual 5k events and more, the 155 participants in the 10 NFC markets have amassed 21,049 miles in the month of May alone, as tracked by their wearable Fitbits. That’s the equivalent of 41 round trips to the International Space Station! Or one round trip from the northernmost point of North America to the southernmost point of South America!
The annual National Fitness Challenge is supported by a grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. Since 2011, the Anthem Foundation had provided $1.3 million in grant funding to the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes for the National Fitness Challenge initiative, impacting thousands of Americans with visual impairments by partnering with multiple agencies across the country.
The National Fitness Challenge encourages participants to partake in at least 30 minutes of physical activity and 10,000 steps each day. These daily goals are born from research showing individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety.
The funds from the Anthem Foundation provide each National Fitness Challenge participant with a Fitbit wearable which measures various activities, calories burned, and the number of steps taken. For the month of May, our National Fitness Challenge participants exceeded the CDC-recommended level of physical activity of 150 active minutes per week by logging an astounding 259 minutes per week.
Among the participating markets, the National Federation of the Blind in Milwaukee, Wis., has been hosting a virtual 5k each month along with a group watch party on Zoom of workout videos presented by three-time Paralympian Tyler Merren. The Sacramento (Calif.) Society for the Blind has a member who leads a blind and visually impaired yoga session once a week, and they will also be hosting a virtual 5k in July. And before the end of June, the Columbus, Ohio, chapter is planning on returning to either virtual or socially-distance soccer practices.
The other participating National Fitness Challenge markets include Atlanta (Ga.), Fort Wayne (Ind.), Indianapolis (Ind.), Miami (Fla.), Portland (Maine), Ruston (La.) and San Francisco (Calif.).
Here are the figures accumulated by the 155 participants during the month of May:
Average Steps per day: 7,616 steps
Average Distance per day: 3.3 miles
Average Active Minutes per day: 37 minutes
Total Steps by group: 48,106,229 steps
Total Distance by group: 21,049.5 miles
Total Active Minutes accumulated by group: 252,330 minutes
Average Daily Active Minutes (top 5 participants): Ranged from 105 to 153 minutes/day
Average Daily Steps (top 5 participants): Ranged from 16,571 to 20,047 steps/day
Congratulations to all the National Fitness Challenge participants who have persevered through these uncertain times to maintain their fitness levels.