’22 Miles of Smiles’ challenges Lawrence residents to get fit

The most popular number in Lawrence Township this month is 22 – as in, “22 Miles of Smiles,” which is the Lawrence Township Recreation Department’s fitness challenge.

The fitness challenge, which began June 1 and ends June 22, encourages residents to walk, run, jog, ride a bicycle or follow a workout program that totals 22 miles.

Miles do not have to be actual miles. They are calculated in 15-minute exercise intervals, said Nancy Bergen, the township’s superintendent of recreation.

A 15-minute burst of exercise is the equivalent of three-quarters of a mile, Bergen said. A 30-minute exercise session is equal to 1.5 miles, and a full hour of exercise counts as three miles, she said.

The 22 Miles of Smiles is based on Lawrence’s welcome signs at the township borders, which proclaim “Lawrence Township – where nature smiles for 22 miles,” Bergen said.

The idea for the fitness challenge grew out of Gov. Phil Murphy’s “stay at home” executive order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Bergen said.

“We were looking for a way for Lawrence residents to stay active and healthy and to have some fun while observing social distancing during this time. The fitness challenge is for all levels of fitness,” she said.

“The fitness challenge can be completed from any location and with any workout that you choose. Whether it is at one of the parks or at home, this challenge is for you, your friends and your family,” Bergen said.

Participants can keep track of their mileage by downloading a GPS app on their cell phone, or they can calculate their mileage on the basis of 15-minute exercise increments, she said.

The last day to submit a completed fitness log is June 22, Bergen said.

Although the number of participants in the fitness challenge is unlimited, only the first 250 people who submit fitness logs by June 22 will receive a special, commemorative T-shirt, Bergen said.

For more information, visit the Lawrence Township Recreation Department page at www.lawrencetwp.com.