TOPS Members Step Up to International Recognition

Central New York Area – Weight-loss experts say walking is great exercise for better health. More than 1,500 chapters of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) took that seriously over the past year, “walking” a cumulative total of 10,247,056 miles in the name of good health.

TOPS members were motivated by the nonprofit weight-loss support organization’s president, Barbara Cady, to complete a Million Mile fitness challenge to “trek” from their annual International Recognition Days (IRD) event in July 2008 in Chicago to this year’s location in Orlando, Florida, to be held July 16-18. Chapters completing the goal of walking an individual 1,000 miles per chapter member were eligible to win cash prizes, to be awarded at IRD. The challenge began last July and included points, or “miles,” given to members for each 30 minutes of participation in physical activity. In addition to walking, members were encouraged to participate in physical activities such as aerobics, ballroom dancing, bicycling, swimming and water aerobics, and tennis – anything to keep them fit and active.

The results of this year’s challenge were astounding:

• In total, TOPS members “walked” an equivalent of 10,247,056 miles to surpass their goal of 1,000,000 cumulative miles.

• Eight chapters walked more than 40,000 miles each, including members from Ontario, Canada; Leesburg, Florida; Aberdeen, Mississippi; Joplin, Missouri; Silverdale, Washington; Hot Springs Village, Arkansas; Newton, Kansas; and Brookfield, Wisconsin.
• Approximately 25,755 members worldwide participated in the challenge.
• Participants ranged from a 7-year-old who tallied over 500 miles to a 96-year-old member who recorded over 1,000 miles.
• One member from Murillo, Ontario walked 11,581 miles.
• One mile equals 2,000 steps; therefore, 10 million miles equals 20 billion steps.
• One mile burns 100 calories; therefore, 10 million miles burns 1 billion calories.
• The energy needed to burn one pound equals 3,500 calories; therefore, almost 300,000 pounds (150 tons!) were burned by TOPS members due to their exercise response to this challenge.

“The response to this challenge was more than we dared to imagine,” said Cady. “We continue to be proud of the incredible motivation of our members as they work together to embrace a healthier lifestyle through exercise, smart eating, and support!”

TOPS’ International Recognition Days (IRD) is hosted annually to honor TOPS members and celebrate their weight-loss successes. The three-day event honors members from all over the world. The convention is held in a different city in the United States or Canada each year to enable as many people as possible to attend. This year’s event will take place July 16-18 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.

TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was founded more than 61 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677 for more information.