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10,000 Steps in The Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

A unique way to dedicate your MLK day of service activities by combining your favorite hobbies or exercises with the spirit of community service that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his life's mission.

As Americans, we have inalienable rights guaranteed by the constitution. Those rights were the fundamental motivation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s social justice initiatives and made social justice and community service through non-violent protest his life's work. His messages are still valid today. Dr. King's own words sum up his outlook on service to the community—"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Life of Service

Dr. King had many notable achievements in his life. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and Time Magazine honored him as Man of the Year in 1963. Many community and political leaders recognize Dr. King as one of the most influential Americans in our history. One of his most notable efforts on behalf of social justice was his four-day, 54-mile walk from Selma, Alabama, to the capital city of Montgomery in 1965. Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, led a group of marchers that at times swelled to 25,000 participants of all races, ages and genders.

Unfortunately, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was taken from us on April 4, 1968. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan inaugurated a new Federal Holiday as a Day of Remembrance for MLK. He made it this nation's only National Day of Service. On the third Monday each January, we have an opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

In celebration of his noble life, we offer the following ways to honor Dr. King in the remembrance of his 54-mile march and all his life's works to bring people together and make a difference. Deciding if you want to emulate the physical activity Dr. King experienced on his historic four-day march for social justice may be a different way to honor him. But, remember his words —"Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

MLK Day of Service Physical Activity

We offer the following suggestions for you to commemorate this achievement. To incorporate an active lifestyle measurement in your MLK day of service, we created two unique ways to measure day of service activities that you can include. Using an exercise calculator from WebMD linked below and one of the two themes below, you can dedicate your chosen physical activity to the spirit of service to others. Use this calculator link and enter any hobby from walking to sewing, shopping and gardening into the calculator. Then enter the duration and your weight. The calculator will give you a calorie burn. Using a fitness tracker will help you stay on track.

1. 10,000 Steps of MLK

We created a formula for you to walk 10K steps or more. Determine an MLK Day of Service Activity from the list of suggestions and resources below. Using this fitness calculator and knowing Dr. King's weight, we determined Dr. King would have burned 1,643 Calories to walk 10,000 steps. We round up to 1,650 calories. Now it's your turn. Using the calculator, enter your favorite activity and weight. Then determine how long to burn 1,650 calories to meet the number of 10K steps of MLK. Go grab that tennis racket or fencing foil.

2. MLK Selma March Activity

A second way to emulate Dr. King's noble efforts for social justice and community service is by dedicating a more extended amount of time to specific MLK Day of Service community activities. Using Dr. King's selfless march to Selma as a baseline, we determined he and his followers walked 54 miles in four days at 2.5 mph. This equaled 21.6 hours of walking activity or 4,597 walking calories burned.

Using this formula, we encourage you to use the day of service suggestions and resources below to pick an activity. Many of these are family activities and some are even remote. The idea is to find one you would enjoy and record the time spent organizing, coordinating and participating in the event. Sharing your day of service on social media is not included in your time. Still, it is well worth the effort once the activity is completed.

MLK Day of Service Activities

Now that you have decided on one of the themes above and know the duration of your service activities, you can use the list below to fill that activity duration commitment.

Virtual Day of Service Activity Suggestions:

With today's pandemic, some of us may not feel comfortable in crowds and others just may not be able to take part in some activities. But you can still participate with these below. (Viewing TV is an option in the activity calculator)

• Leisure Viewing—follow these links to view some of the speeches made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

• Leisure Reading—use this link to read the transcripts of 11 speeches made by Dr. King Jr.

• After reading and or viewing the speeches, take some time to think about his words and ways that you can use the remaining days in 2022 to create multiple days of service in Dr. King's honor.

• E-Greetings—Send free e-greeting cards with quotes from Dr. King using Crossroads free e-cards. You don't have to sign up. Just go to the site, pick your card and enter the recipients' email.

• Educational Viewing—Discovery.comhas a complete child resource filled with virtual activities for your children and or class to participate in.

• Create a favorite playlist of inspirational, uplifting and respectful music symbolizing friendship, love, community and respect. Next, share it with your friends and invite them to add to the list until you have hours of beautiful music that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr would be proud to listen to.

• Join a virtual run/walk by signing up here or here

In-Person Day of Service Activity Suggestions

Those who mask up these MLK Day of Service Activities are waiting for you. For exercise enthusiasts, this is the time to burn those calories. Plan out your physical activity exercises using the calculator and determine your activity duration commitment—the 10K Steps of MLK or MLK Selma March. Next, jump on that bike or put on the swimsuit, whatever it is and start dedicating your sweat to the memory of Dr. King's physical activity. If following the formula above is not your desired way to celebrate a day of service, find below fantastic suggestions to explore.

Americorps was founded in the spirit of community service and has a complete list of incredible opportunities to participate in MLK Dy of Service events nationwide.

• All states and communities have food banks. And they are always looking for volunteers.

• Volunteer at a shelter and help prepare and serve meals.

• Make no-sew fleece blankets and donate them to shelters in your area. This is a great family activity. You can purchase two yards of fabric cheaply at local retailers and follow this pattern to make a warm blanket for someone in need.

Join Be My Eyes. This free app pairs visually impaired people with volunteers who see them on a video call. Help someone you don't know get ready for a first date or read an expiration date on food. A favorite that allows you to invest a small amount of time, when you can, in service to others.

Dedicating, on social media, your physical exercise expands the community service message that Dr. King strove for; that we can all do something to help others. For more great information on exercise, nutrition and health, go to


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