Step-Challenge Champ: 'This is My Mount Everest'

June 01, 2021  |  by WesleyLife

"Remember -- I don't do this every day!" was Jeanette Lackender's first response when a team member asked her how she achieved an incredible feat early this month: tallying 566,439 steps in 10 days in the latest WesleyLife FitBit challenge. 

Still, the fact that she walked an average of 18 miles per day for a week and a half -- even if she never does it again -- is staggering. (As a frame of reference, fitness experts recommend people walk 10,000 steps a day, which, for most individuals, equals between 4 and 5 miles.)

As part of a series of FitBit challenges, WesleyLife team members who chose to participate were tasked with walking 100,000 steps in 10 days. People who achieved that total were entered into a grand-prize drawing for $500 toward an item on the winner's bucket list.

Jeanette said she didn't set out to win a prize; her goals were to improve her fitness and challenge herself.

"I'm on my feet all day with two jobs, so I felt that maybe I had an unfair advantage, but I decided to use it to my benefit," Jeanette, a housekeeper at Halcyon House in Washington, said. "After a couple days of getting a lot of steps, it kind of got to where it was a personal commitment. I wanted to push myself."

To tally between 50,000 and 75,000 steps a day on average, Jeanette followed this schedule:

  • She routinely woke at 4 a.m. to walk or jog as many steps as possible before the workday began. "I wouldn't stop till I got to 10,000 steps before it was time to leave for work," she said. "That got me off to a good start."
  • Whenever she wasn't moving forward during the course of the day, she made sure to walk or jog in place. "I never knew it was possible to dry your hair while jogging or brush your teeth while walking!" she said with a laugh. She also ate lunch while walking.
  • She incorporated extra movement into regular errands. "When I went to the grocery store, I'd park in the farthest spot because that was an easy way to get more steps," she said.
  • She also incorporated movement into family time that had previously involved being sedentary. "If we were going to watch a movie, I'd get out the mini trampoline and bounce the whole time," she said.

Chris Marshall, Executive Director of Halcyon House, said the community's leaders are tremendously proud of Jeanette, a 10-year team member, and not just because of her step accomplishment.

“Jeanette’s huge step number speaks for itself as far as the level of energy and great work ethic she exhibits, but her key asset from my perspective is her heart," Chris said. "Her kindness and caring, positive attitude and team spirit are just outstanding. Jeanette is a natural leader, and we are fortunate to have her on our team!"

Jeanette, who said she feels fortunate to be part of the Halcyon House family as well, is hoping to keep up an enhanced fitness regimen of at least 20,000 to 30,000 steps a day now that the contest has ended. 

"I'm 62 years old, and I can't believe, even at this age, how much better I feel from all the activity," she said. "I feel healthier overall, and sharper. I don't have a foggy head, and I find that I just want to keep moving. It's changed my life and I would ask everyone not to be afraid to try it.

"I'll never run a marathon or climb Mount Everest -- so to me, this is my Mount Everest."

CONTACT: Lisa Ryan, Director of Marketing and Communications; (515) 988-1788

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