Steps on winning a healthy grant

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Meg Underwood, director of the Pilgrim Senior Center and center nurse Paula Woodbine-Ducharme are counting their steps and so, too, is a group of center members intent on staying healthy and winning a $2,500 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

They got off to a start Tuesday at City Park at the kickoff to the Step Up Challenge, a month-long statewide event where teams from senior centers look to come up with the greatest average of daily steps. There are individual prizes for the most steps in addition to the grant to the winning senior center that is to be used for health and wellness activities.

Those registered for the competition wear pedometers and log their daily tallies with Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

Underwood and Woodbine-Ducharme plan to augment whatever members of the Pilgrim Senior Center team do on their own with group walks every other week at City Park and Rocky Point Park. Competitive juices were already flowing with some team members saying they had already recorded 17,000 steps by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Team member Chet Foster, who does a lot of cycling, questioned if that could count. He was assured there would be a method of converting his pedaling to steps.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will award three $2,500 grants, one to the winning senior center in each of three regions in the state.

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