WalkWorks ChesCo! Program reaches new milestone
At their Sunshine Meeting public work session this week, the Chester County Commissioners received an update from Health Department Director Jeanne Casner announcing a milestone in the WalkWorks ChesCo! challenge. Since the launch of WalkWorks in April 2017, Chester County residents have registered more than four billion steps in the WalkWorks ChesCo! program.
“Chester County residents who have signed up for WalkWorks have traveled close to 1.7 million miles or 50 times around the world,” said Casner. “Since April of 2017 we have been engaging thousands of people to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, and while we know that there are many more residents who actively walk, we celebrate the four billion step level as a major goal achieved.”
“The next step in our challenge is to sign up even more people and really push to reach five billion steps by April, when we’ll be launching the next phase in our challenge,” added Casner.
WalkWorks ChesCo! is a program that promotes, educates and empowers county residents to adopt a healthier lifestyle one step at a time by creating more places for walking, supporting and promoting walking groups, coordinating walking challenges – and importantly – creating the website that allows everyone to track and tally their steps. What began as the County’s response to the national Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, has now grown into a program that engages County residents of all ages and that has been replicated by communities in other states.
Throughout 2018, WalkWorks ChesCo! participants were motivated by 18 competitions including the First Responders Walking Challenge, the Chester County Library Summer Walking Challenge, the “Ville to Ville Step Challenge”, Chester County Farms Tour and the YMCAs’ Y2Y Walking Challenge
“WalkWorks ChesCo! has created more places for walking and brought together many communities and groups in the County with a common purpose of walking,” said Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell, who first brought the idea of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to Chester County. “The benefits of walking are many. It is arguably the easiest form of exercise and it helps to improve mental health, reduce chronic disease risks and, of course, burn calories.
“And as the County strives to develop more walkable communities in our boroughs and the City of Coatesville, walking is becoming an additional – and healthy – method of transportation,” added Commissioner Farrell.
One of the key components of the WalkWorks ChesCo! program is the specially designed website that tallies all steps taken by residents who register to participate. The website, chesco.org/walkworks, syncs with most devices and mobile apps that already track steps and it also allows users to convert other physical exercise into steps to be manually added.
“In addition to tracking actual steps, the WalkWorks ChesCo! website currently converts cycling into steps,” said Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “In anticipation of the next phase of the challenge in April, more physical activities have been added to the website so that everyone registered can convert more activities into steps. These include swimming laps, weight lifting, yoga, aerobics fitness classes, circuit training, dancing and horseback riding.”
Commissioner Kathi Cozzone noted: “WalkWorks ChesCo! has showcased the benefits of walking in many Chester County communities and led to the creation of many walking groups and walking challenges. Four billion steps is a great achievement, and with more people registering their steps on the WalkWorks ChesCo! website, we believe that we can reach five billion steps by the end of April.”
In planning for the next phase of the challenge, participants in WalkWorks ChesCo! are encouraged to give feedback through a short survey that can be found on the WalkWorks web page. To find the survey, and for more information about the WalkWorks ChesCo! program and how to register, go to chesco.org/walkworks.