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Walkers circle the globe six times

One step at a time

Created date

November 26th, 2013
Walkers circle the globe six times

Eighty-five Tallgrass Creek residents and 34 staff members trekked across the country in September. And most never left home. The walkers were part of a virtual Walk Across the World wellness challenge sponsored annually by Erickson Living, the managing company of Tallgrass Creek. Locally, Tallgrass Creek modified the challenge to a lively, fun Trek Across America competition between the community s residents and staff.

Fun challenge

Tallgrass Creek resident and staff teams were measured weekly on a map of America posted in the community s lobby with miles logged as if walkers were actually traversing the country. The starting point was Baltimore, Md., the location of Erickson Living s corporate headquarters, with all participants heading west to California. Miles were measured in time walked, with 20 minutes equating to one mile. Chair exercisers also participated with seven and a half minutes equaling one mile. There was a lot of back and forth, good-natured joshing between the residents and staff, says Jill Cline Evans, the community s resident life manager. We had a lot of fun with the challenge.

Pedestrian power

Residents and staff diligently tracked and submitted individual exercise times weekly to Wellness Coordinator Amy Stewart, the competition s official scorekeeper. Stewart tallied miles each week and posted both groups locations in a Where are we now? section on the country map, based on minutes and miles walked. It didn t matter if participants walked around the community, on the treadmill, golf course, or somewhere else, says Stewart. It all counted. Residents Norm Dalton and Joyce Keeler each logged many of their 1,925 minutes of walking which equated to 96.2 miles in Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha s Vineyard, where they vacationed in September. But that was only a warm-up to more intense walking later in the month when they vacationed in Europe. One day, we walked five hours in Salzburg, Austria, and only sat down twice to rest, says Norm. Europeans walk much more than Americans, so it was easy to be inspired.

Let s hear it for the home team!

Five Erickson Living communities participated in this year s September challenge and vied for honors in three categories: participation (based on percentage of the community that participated), places (based on most places walked), and mileage (based on most miles walked). About 800 Erickson Living residents, staff, family, and friends participated, logging more than 150,000 miles effectively circling the globe at the equator six times. In the participation category, Tallgrass Creek won with 38% of the community s residents participating. Eagle s Trace, in Houston, Tex., placed first in the places visited and mileage categories. Here at home, residents won Tallgrass Creek s Trek Across America competition hands down, logging 3,208 miles (the distance between Baltimore and the western border of Colorado). Staff participants walked 1,875 miles (the distance between Baltimore and St. Charles, Mo.), passing through five states. All together, the two groups walked 5,083 miles, more than covering the country s entire width.

Winning walkers

Roger Johnson led Tallgrass Creek s resident team with 4,234 minutes, or 213.2 miles, followed by Jack Dritley, who walked 2,384 minutes (many on the golf course), or 119.2 miles. Merrill Stiles walked in third place with 1,962 minutes, or 98.1 miles. Norm and Joyce took fourth place in the competition. Communications Specialist Tami Peckham led the staff s team with 1,145 minutes, or 57.5 miles. I was vacationing for a week and made sure I walked in all seven states we passed through on our way to North Carolina, says Peckham. I saw some amazing things I wouldn t have seen if the contest wasn t going on. The walking continues daily at Tallgrass Creek with many residents covering the entire area of the community both inside and out. Walking helps clear your head, says Roger, who walks almost every day. It s really a great and necessary part of my day.

Walking and wellness

We all know exercise helps control weight and reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Here are four more good reasons to get out there and strut your stuff:

  • The latest research shows a minute of walking can add two minutes to one s life.