Pushuptember: 10,000 pushups in 30 days
Those wanting a full-body work needn’t look any further than themselves. Pushups are more than a popular strength-building exercise – they activate nearly every muscle in the body – and with the upper body, core, and leg muscles involved, make for an ideal, on-the-spot workout. You’re essentially lifting your entire body weight, not an easy feat when done repetitively.
At Sharpstown High School in Houston, Texas, HealthCorps Coordinator Kenai McFadden got students to work out with fun and bragging rights as the only incentives. It started with students doing pushups during lunch as part of Cafe O’ Yea, but popularity soon surged and it grew into a school-wide campaign to complete 10,000 pushups in 30 days.
“Why 10,000 pushups?” McFadden said. “Just to say we did them!”
During lunch each day, students showed up and performed pushups on a yoga mat in the courtyard, which attracted a student audience, members of which brought other friends over, which led to pushup challenges and contests. In order to reach the goal, students showed up to the HealthCorps classroom after school or throughout the day and, if they did at least 10, signed the back of the “10K Pushtember” Calendar.
“It was challenging, it was competitive,” said Sharpstown Senior Omri Speed. “You could try to do more pushups than someone, or do them together. Everyone had to pitch in to reach the goal – we even made deals with the teachers and coaches to get them to do pushups.”
The Pushuptember contest was wildly popular at Sharpstown, which may be due to the task at hand being accessible to nearly everyone.
“Sometimes students don’t think they can participate in academic stuff, so by doing pushups they felt they were contributing to the greater good of the school,” said Sharpstown Senior DeAngelo Val.
The participation was so great that the competition extended beyond the school. Yoga mats were set up during football games, and students did pushups every time the school team – the Apollos – scored. “The campaign was ultimately successful, with over 10,300 pushups recorded by September 30,” McFadden said. “Pushuptember got students moving at Sharpstown to reach a challenging goal!”