AI 100 Days of Fitness

Jeneane Kehew earned the T-shirt she is wearing in this photo by for her effort in the Viking Strong challenge — being active at least 30 minutes a day for 85 days or more. Kehew typically walked two miles a day, either on her treadmill or walking her dog.

Sometimes the toughest part about getting — and staying — fit is finding the time. After attending a forum on health and wellness for superintendents in western Pennsylvania, Dr. Matt Curci, superintendent of Apollo-Ridge School District, had some ideas to solve that problem.

Enter: 100 Days of Fitness. Using what he learned at the forum, Curci in 2016 implemented a program that motivated staff to get active, while helping them find the time to do so. 100 Days of Fitness focuses on individual fitness goals, not just losing weight, so everyone could participate, and it was totally voluntary. After holding a workshop and launching a pilot program for administrative staff, 100 Days of Fitness was extended district-wide and more than 60 staff members participated in last year’s effort.

It worked like this. Participants aimed for a goal of 30 minutes of daily fitness activity or 10,000 steps per day for the remaining 100 days of the 2015-2016 school year, and Curci and his team created a spreadsheet where participants could log their efforts. They were then rewarded with prizes like T-shirts for meeting goals.

The program aimed to incorporate activity throughout the day, making fitness more accessible to people with seemingly never-ending to-do lists. For example, participants were encouraged to break down one 30-minute chunk into three 10-minute segments, and videos were made available to teach easy workouts that could be done in an office. Teamwork was encouraged, so teachers exercised together and held walking meetings, and open gyms were available two days per week for activities of choice.

Curci enjoyed seeing such commitment to the program that produced great results.

“It was cool to see a room full of staff doing yoga together,” Curci says. “We’ll be holding something similar again this year.”