Pedometer Challenge Week 9: Little Changes Can Add Up

By Megan Wilcox, APR, ThedaCare Media and Public Relations

Life sometimes gets in the way of our plans to exercise daily. Lisa Malak of WFRV Channel 5 and her husband, Rookie of WDUZ 107.5 FM, know that all too well. With busy jobs, 6-year-old twins, and family health issues, getting up and moving isn’t always easy.

Lisa says the pair signed up for the Pedometer Challenge, sponsored by ThedaCare and ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, thinking it would be a piece of a cake. 

“We both thought we’d do really well, even perhaps, thought it would be easy to rock it,” she says before admitting it’s been anything but “easy.”

 That being said, the pair hasn’t given up. While the family is active on the weekends, with such activities as hiking, biking, and downhill skiing, The Challenge, which started in early February and runs through the end of April, helped them realize just how much they sit every day at their jobs – she in TV, he in radio.

“We were surprised at the small number of steps taken each week,” Lisa says. “I don’t think it’s overstated that it has been an eye-opening experience and one that will change the way we approach daily living.”

Some changes the couple made include parking farther away from the door whether they’re at work or the grocery store and getting the kids involved in some kind of daily exercise.

“The twins are learning a lot about exercising in school, so we have jump ropes now that we practice with in the garage -- thank goodness the Polar Vortex is over,” Lisa says. “We have the kids do 10 minutes of walking or jumping jacks before they can play their learning computer games on the kindergarten site, etc. And with these small changes, we’ve made improvements.”

Last week, Lisa logged 20,357 steps while Rookie got 21,284. The family visited the zoo and did some other outdoor activities that kept them moving.

Staying active and being able to keep up with their children is important, says Lisa, adding that she and Rookie are among the oldest parents in the twins’ kindergarten class.

“We wanted to kind of analyze where we stood physically,” she says. “You want to be able to keep up with the kids, and we do right now. But what about the future? We thought analyzing physical activity by tracking steps would be a really good starting point.”

That starting point showed them they have a bit of work to do, but Lisa and Rookie keep at it, knowing the pay-off is improved health.