Senators, staff to walk it off

Posted on May 3, 2007

Working up some healthy competition between their staffs, U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both R-Tenn., have launched the Tennessee Walking Challenge — and the most steps to the finish line wins. The senators and their staffs will wear pedometers over the next two weeks to measure which office takes the most total steps. The contest marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. “You can feel a little competition going on,” said Sen. Corker, an avid runner and triathlete who ran the New York Marathon in the early 1990s. “Everybody’s got these little gadgets on their side, and everybody’s paying a lot of attention to how much walking they’re doing.” Sen. Alexander, who ran track at Vanderbilt University, said he hopes the Walking Challenge will challenge Tennesseans to live healthier lifestyles. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise, five or more days a week, or 10,000 steps daily, for maximum, long-term health benefits. “I’ve always enjoyed walking, hiking and exercising, and I hope our friendly competition will inspire those working on Capitol Hill and Tennesseans across our state to walk and exercise together,” Sen. Alexander said in a statement. Former Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Sen. Alexander held the first Tennessee Walking Challenge in 2004. Sen. Corker may have a bit of a head start on his counterpart as one of 12 senators who participated in Wednesday’s ACLI Capital Challenge, a 5K race among the three branches of government and the media. He clocked in at 24:45, about five and a half minutes behind Senate race winner John Thune, R-S.D. “I knew I wasn’t going to come close,” Sen. Corker said. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., was one of 25 House members in the race, finishing the course in 21:16, just under three minutes behind House race winner Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. STEPS TO FITNESS Blue Cross/Blue Shield of America estimates more than 60 percent of American adults do not get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends taking at least 10,000 steps daily to produce the best, long-term health benefits.