Looking to promote an active lifestyle through fitness walking and the use of pedometers, Sportline kicked off its Steps Across America tour that has a relay team of 12 Americans walking 3,100 miles from New York to Los Angeles. The team will walk for more than 14 weeks and host at least 2,000 fitness expo events.
Dan Kinsbourne, Sportline's vice president of marketing, said the Steps Across America concept was born out of a challenge from the pedometer maker's CEO to create a national campaign that promotes awareness of fitness walking and pedometers.
"For us, it's really promoting awareness for all the tremendous benefits that fitness walking can provide. It's something that 82 million Americans do for fitness already today, and it's something that everybody can do," Kinsbourne told SNEWS®. "Using a pedometer allows people to set their own personal goals, progress at their own pace, track their progress and use the real-time feedback that a pedometer gives to really motivate themselves."
The 12 walkers on the Sportline Steps Across America team -- made up of eight women and four men -- were chosen from more than 300 entries and represent a cross section of Americans of varying ages and races. Kinsbourne describes the walkers as "ordinary citizens who wanted to participate in something extraordinary who are themselves committed to fitness walking and wanted to participate in the event."
Along the 3,100-mile route, the official walkers will work like a relay team and trade off walking duties. Each day, one two-person team will share a single specially designed Sportline pedometer made for the trek and log an average of 20 miles a day. Whereas an average pedometer can track 100,000 steps, the team's pedometer has been engineered to track up to 10 million steps. Along the route, the team also will be joined by another workout partner -- a dog sponsored by Iams -- to promote exercising with a pet.
The April 18 launch event at Chelsea Piers in New York City was hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi, World Champion figure skater and the Steps Across America spokesperson. Yamaguchi got the first two-person team walking by handing off the official Sportline pedometer during an "Every Day Well-Being" Expo. The walk is scheduled to finish in Los Angeles on July 17.
In addition to the coast-to-coast walk through dozens of cities in 11 states, more than 2,000 "Every Day Well-Being" special events will be held along the way at participating Wal-Mart stores, community centers, YMCAs and schools to promote the benefits of walking.
"The events will provide useful tips about fitness walking to help people become aware that there are products they can benefit from," said Kilbourne, noting that people can learn how to use products and learn how to measure their stride,
Also, in coordination with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Steps Across America President's Challenge will be issued at every event to motivate and reward adults and children to walk for exercise.
"The benefits of walking are clear. Research shows that people who wear a pedometer walk nearly 2,000 more steps per day than fitness walkers who do not," said Sportline President Brian Anderson said in a statement. "Sportline Steps Across America is an important initiative devoted to helping everyday Americans become motivated to achieve an overall healthier lifestyle."
In addition to Sportline, sponsors of Steps Across America include TracFone Prepaid Wireless, Wal-Mart, 7-Up, Centrum, Coppertone, Iams, Image Fitness, Jif/Smucker's, Kodak, Os-Cal, PayDay Pro, Weight Watcher's Smart Ones, Wisk, Advil, Alavert, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Nestle's Carnation Instant Breakfast and Otis Spunkmeyer.
For more information on the event and to track its progress, check out www.stepsacross.com.