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To Encourage Fitness, An Attempt to Reach the Moon

You always hear that to get in shape, you need clear fitness goals. How about lunar exploration (figuratively)?

To Encourage Fitness, An Attempt to Reach the Moon

To get more people to take the stairs, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to change the building code. San Francisco personal trainer Kelley Heye has a different idea.

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“One evening I was sitting in my chair looking at the full moon out the window, and I simply thought to myself, “I wonder how many steps it would take to get to the moon.”

That’s how Heye says she came up with MoonClimb: a simple, silly social game that is trying to reach that number of steps (477,714,000 in Heye’s estimation) on terrestrial stairways and paths.

Heye found fitness over 10 years ago, in her 40s, and now leads stair-climbing work-outs each Saturday. “I thought this would be a fun project for my clients, to count steps and hope to reach the moon (virtually obviously),” she says. “It was about motivating people to take more steps than they normally would.”

The addition is automated–with a bot scanning for tweets addressed to @moonclimb, taking the number that precedes the word “steps” and logging it for all on Earth to see. But the community, small but international, is built by humans. “It’s about being a team as it will take a team of people to reach the moon,” says Heye.

It appears it will take that team a bit longer than Heye planned when she launched MoonClimb on the first full moon of 2012, with hopes to finish by that year’s last.

“At this exact moment, together we have taken enough steps to circle the Earth around the equator plus 3,416.59 miles,” says Heye. “That’s the distance from San Francisco to New York, plus about 500 miles. Still sadly a bleep in the climb to the moon.”

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When I started following @moonclimb on Twitter, she replied:

At the current rate, they’ll reach the moon in 2026.

About the author

Stan Alcorn is a print, radio and video journalist, regularly reporting for WNYC and NPR. He grew up in New Mexico.

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