STEPtember and WALKtober – ICAA’s Active Aging Week at Pacific Regent

Each year, the International Council on Active Aging hosts an “Active Aging Week” at the end of September. The residents of Pacific Regent were eager to join forces and host our own Active Aging Week here in Bellevue! After throwing around a few ideas, we settled on a “STEPtember: Walk Across the Country” step challenge! Now, of course we are not actually going to walk across the entire country, but we could simulate it! Every participating resident (about 30 people) received a pedometer (or used their own tracking devices) and submitted their total count of steps at the end of every day for the last week of September. In just the first week, we made it all the way to Oregon! Residents also received a step converter chart so they were able to convert other activity into countable steps. For example, if a resident took our Water Motion Aqua Aerobics class for 30 minutes, they could count 75 steps for 30 minutes of water exercise. We wanted them to get credit for the class even if they didn’t take any physical steps on terra firma! Residents were able to reference this chart for other activities too, such as: gardening, yoga, vacuuming, tennis, elliptical, etc. We did not want to limit our residents from participating if the challenge was solely for fully able-bodied individuals. This increased our participation by a great amount! Every movement counts, after all, right?

The week was not solely devoted to our step challenge. We had multiple doctors come in and give seminars, we partnered with Bartell’s Drugs and offered a Flu Shot Clinic, and we ended the week with a “Healthy Celebration” party! At this celebration, we invited our exercise instructors, had a Blood Pressure Clinic performed by our Wellness Nurse, Debbie Goeppele, two of the residents on our Health Committee manned a “Senior Leadership” table, handing out flyers, and we offered healthy snacks such as a fruit and veggie platter, dark chocolate, raw nuts, and trail mix! We raffled off a very large, very healthy gift basket too!

Quickly after the celebration, we got feedback that the residents didn’t want to end the step challenge – they were having way too much fun!! So instead of throwing in our towel on that last Friday in September, we transformed it from “STEPtember” into “WALKtober” and kept on walkin’! The residents are still going strong and walking more every week. Every Monday morning we count the steps that were submitted during the previous week and announce where we have walked to. As of last Monday (10/15), we landed on Antelope Island, UT, smack dab on the Great Salt Lake! We will continue walking until residents get tired of tracking. Hopefully we will walk all the way to New York City!!

Stay healthy, friends, and keep on walkin’!

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