Residents Put a Step in Their Spring

Residents Put a Step in Their Spring

For two weeks in May, residents of the adult living homes supported by JCFS Chicago monitored how much they were moving as they participated in Put a Step in Your Spring, a new exercise project conceived by nurse Janis Goodman to teach the residents about exercise and healthy lifestyles.

Janis’ step-counting venture developed from a fitness project where two University of Illinois at Chicago students made exercise and healthy snacks videos for the residents.

“From that I just created my own project,” Janis said.

Residents from all seven homes took part in the program, and each person received a pedometer at the introduction party, where they also discussed what steps mean and how they add up to miles.

“The residents hadn’t really understood the concept of counting steps to equal miles to identify fitness,” Janis said. “So it introduced that concept, which I think was a positive, it initiated taking walks.”

Janis said she made counting steps into a contest for individuals and between houses.

During the first week, the residents wore their pedometers only while they exercised or went on intentional walks. They wore their pedometers all day during the second week, Janis said.

Keith Johnson, Lead Direct Support Professional at Migdal Oaz in Rogers Park, said many of the residents enjoyed the competitive nature of the program.

“For others, they enjoyed seeing how many steps they can do in a day,” Keith said. “I do believe they will continue to monitor their steps with staff support.”

Janis said several residents were still counting their steps after the contest ended, and they showed her their progress on their phones at a culmination celebration at the Abe & Cooper Center. She said they can look at graphs on their phones that show their weekly totals, which was a good way to also introduce some math skills. 

At the celebration, where individual and house winners were announced, residents received small participation trophies and everyone enjoyed healthy snacks made by residents after watching the UIC student’s video. It was followed up the next week with a bowling party.