Sponsored by Activate America, America on the Move is a national YMCA effort designed to motivate and inspire community members to take small steps to promote active living and healthy eating.
"Just to get people moving is so important," said Kenny Stone, YMCA of Southeast Missouri health and fitness director. "Anything is better than nothing."
Throughout America on the Move, YMCAs will track the number of participants and steps taken with a goal of reaching 1 billion steps nationally. But for the YMCA in Sikeston, the goal is 3 million steps beginning Saturday through Sept. 30.
"Walking a mile sounds like a lot of work, but it's just 2,000 steps," Stone said.
The general public may be surprised to learn how many steps are taken in a given activity. For every minute people run 8 miles an hour, they take 350 steps per minute, Stone said. In a basketball game, the average person takes 212 steps per minute, the equivalent for bicycling is 236 steps per minute and vacuuming is 94 steps per minute, he said.
"You can get activity in about every movement. We don't normally think of vacuuming as exercise, but it is. And gardening is another great movement; it gets 118 steps per minute," Stone said.
To help get people moving, each day next week, the YMCA is conducting different activities and exercises for its members and non-members. Monday will kick off the week with bring a friend day.
"Anybody can bring in a friend and we'll be giving out guest passes," Stone said.
Tuesday is family fitness day.
"A lot of times people come by themselves and this day will allow them to bring their family members," Stone said.
The YMCA has something for everyone when it comes to physical fitness, Stone said.
"Things that people can use are the treadmills. Or if they don't like the treadmill, we have elliptical and stationery bikes. We have a basketball gym people like to use as a walking track and we also have aerobics classes," Stone said.
There's a multipurpose room and weight machines, too, he said. Wednesday is school walk day.
"Wednesday is a big event. All the public schools in Sikeston have agreed to have all the kids walk for at least 30 minutes," Stone said.
Thursday is an aerobics day, which will be a day to market the Y's aerobics classes.
"Friday we're doing boot camp. At least one armed forces recruiter will be here to lead us in a mock boot camp training," Stone said.
Saturday is Corporate Fitness Day with some of the larger businesses in the area participating.
"We've done health and fitness promotions like this before, but we haven't participated in America on the Move," Stone said.
It's very important for Americans to become more active, Stone said. "We (Americans) just don't do enough," he said. "That's why we have such high obesity rates and people are overweight. ... We're hoping this will encourage people to improve their physical fitness."