We’re trying to get 1 billion steps by next year

Could you walk a billion steps in a year? That’s the challenge posed by Baltimore City and the Baltimore City Health Department as part of a new initiative that kicks off this weekend.

“We’re trying to get 1 billion steps by next year, and we know we can do it,” walking ambassador Coach Donte Samuel said.

Baltimore’s Billion Step Challenge asks city residents of all ages to reach that goal in the next year.

“That campaign involves the city actually organizing events throughout the year that people can come and participate in, but it also is going to include us inventorying all the great things that are already happening in the city related to opportunities for people to get active and be more fit,” said Greg Sileo, with the Baltimore Health Department.

That includes things like the November Project that brings folks together for a fun workout, or the Safe Zones at Belmont Camp to get kids started on a healthy lifestyle while they’re still young.

Samuel said people you can participate regardless of your fitness level.

“You have a choice, and the choice is to get moving and get active, whether it starts off low, as small as walking, or if you’re running marathons. The fact is, we’re trying to bring everyone in for this initiative we have here,” Samuel said.

The kick off for the campaign is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lake Montebello with entertainment, health fair and a fun run. Organizers hope people across the city accept the challenge for a healthier life.

“If you look at the drivers for chronic disease, which really plagues a lot of people in our city — heart disease, diabetes — we need to be eating better, fueling our bodies with better nutrients and also getting out there, being more active and getting involved in more movement. Those are the only ways we’re going to be able to reduce those risk factors,” Sileo said.

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