TWIN FALLS — In an effort to promote health and wellness, Kyle Miller, the physical education teacher for Lincoln Elementary, organized a fitness challenge to walk the distance from Idaho to the summit of Mount Everest.
Miller credited the inspiration behind this challenge to his alma mater, the University of Idaho, and discussions about school health. Being able to promote fitness wasn't the only thing that excited Miller, but also because of the impacts it could have on his co-worker's teaching abilities.
“How do I give the best instruction, be the best me I can for the students? So, there’s plenty of studies that show that being physically active helps with brain function," said Miller. "I wanted to put that challenge out to the staff and we called this year, because of the pandemic, our Everest.”
To figure out distance and how many steps it would roughly take, it did require some leg work from Miller.
“I took the distance from Idaho to Nepal, however many miles that was and times it by 5,281 feet. Then I divided that by two and a half because the average stride is about two and a half feet per step, and with that, I was able to get about 20 million steps. ”
Each staff member received their own pedometer to keep track of how many steps they took daily. Afterward, the participants would enter that number of steps on a shared Google Doc, so Miller could keep track of their progress.
The consistent reporting of numbers made for fun and intriguing conversations while at work. There were some tough parts about the challenge, but the pandemic motivated them to keep going and keep with it.
“There’s maybe, potentially, not as many options of things to do right now," said Cleo Keener, a music teacher at Lincoln Elementary. "So just having that goal of getting steps helped me think of, okay, I should go on a walk and get moving or go on a hike.”
Since the challenge was a success in boosting morale, promoting social interaction and staying fit, a lot of those involved are open to the idea of doing something similar in the future.
“I think maybe even taking it further and going on hikes together and doing things, where you’re doing it together physically and separately to reach a goal would be really cool, but yeah, I’d love to do it again," said Keener.
The participants in the challenge managed to go over their goal of 20 million steps and reached a combined total of 21,917,387 steps.