CLEVELAND — A challenge by an Ohio nonprofit is encouraging school districts to get out and get healthy.
The Step It Up Challenge, in partnership with FitBit, encourages school employees and students if they wish to join to rack up the most possible steps during the challenge, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13.
With the help of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the school district that ends with the most steps will receive $1,500. Top steppers in each district will win $1,000. Steps must be recorded on the FitBit app, and there is no cost to participate.
Robin Dahman is the Clearview High School cross country coach, and she is hyping up those around her for the challenge.
“I’m going to win obviously!” Dahman told to her team. “Because ain’t none of you running 13 miles on the weekends, I know that!”
There’s plenty of playful banter and motivation from Dahman and the student athletes.
“I hope that just the way I live my lifestyle is motivating to them, but I love seeing them set goals and when they think they hit a brick wall, realizing they can go past that,” said Dahman.
The army veteran, science teacher and three-sport coach has been preparing her team for a competition between schools to get active. She has already shown her commitment through creating a trail in the woods.
“My son and I came with a UTV and chainsaws and just started cutting stuff so that they’d be able to have a safe place to train and not on the streets,” said Dahman.
She hopes the challenge will help students with their fitness and mental health.
“This was an opportunity to get kids up and moving and let them realize that the more you train your body to destress, the better the brain functions," she said.
Patti Starr is part of Health Action Council and the school’s athletic director. Starr believes the challenge is great for physical and mental health.
“It encourages walking or really any level of exercise, whether you’re doing dancing or hiking or running, but really encouraging us to active on a daily basis,” said Starr.
Dahman is going to use the challenge in her classes as well, and hopes the healthy lifestyle she’s passionate about becomes a shared feeling.
“They’ll be stepping long after this is over. And again, hoping they see that this is actually something that makes me feel better, get up off the couch, get moving, and again for physical health, but also for the mental health side of it,” said Dahman.