October 21, 2010

Administration vs. Finance in 10,000 Step Challenge

People are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps per day.

Who’s the fittest of them all?

In a race between the departments of Administration and Finance, time and pedometers will tell.

Case Western Reserve University’s Senior Vice President John Wheeler and Chief Financial Officer John Sideras playfully put on boxing gloves to launch the 10,000 Step Challenge that runs Nov. 1-30.

“We’re going to have some fun,” Sideras told employees during breakfast at Thwing Center to announce and explain one of the new programs in the university’s wellness plan. 

Wheeler echoed that message and told everyone they would reconvene later to learn who won the challenge.

Some 480 employees from the two departments are eligible to participate in the challenge to start walking 10,000 steps a day from Nov. 1 through the end of the month. Each day teams of four or five individuals will exchange a sedentary lifestyle to incorporate walking or exercising into their work and home routines.

Eventually what is a friendly competition between two departments will go campuswide in early 2011, said Carolyn Gregory, vice president of human resources. The challenge is among a number of organized activities to promote healthy living on campus.

So, it’s time to get ready and start walking. Each staff member was given a pedometer and told to begin wearing it to learn what his or her daily average steps are and, if needed, to boost those numbers to prepare for the official start date on Nov. 1.

While 10,000 steps may sound like climbing a mountain, it’s the amount of exercise needed to maintain health. Generally people log a few thousand steps in their normal routine. Some will have to supplement their numbers with several thousand more steps after work or incorporate more strides in the work schedule by walking the stairs instead of riding the elevator.

“There are no excuses,” said Bryn Mota, director of 1-2-1 Fitness Center.  The center has partnered with the university and provided free passes to work out on days with inclement weather. The walkers will receive motivational emails and other tips to inspire amblers to increase the pace.

Mota even encouraged using those passes for small group meetings—only instead of sitting around a table, the group is walking the treadmill.

Exercise is one way to a healthier life, according to Sideras. 

He explained that health care costs are one of the largest items in the university’s budget and average about a 12 percent annual increase.  Fit people also have better attendance at work and also feel better.

Here’s how the competition works: four to five people from the department form a team.  Individuals registering without a team will be matched with other participants. Each day teams will report their daily step count to team captains, who will turn in the numbers to 1-2-1 Fitness.

For the average office worker to reach the challenge, that can mean walking down the hall to speak with a co-worker instead of sending an email or walking instead of riding the shuttle from the parking lot. 

Mota said small changes can add up to reach the 10,000 step goal.

At the end of the month, the winning team from the winning department team will have lunch with Wheeler or Sideras. Members of the team with the most steps will receive a free, six-month membership to 1-2-1 Fitness Center. Many other prizes will be awarded for individuals and teams logging the most steps.

Teams from Administration and Finance need to register by Oct. 31 by email or call 368.1123.

Posted by: David Wilson, October 21, 2010 09:11 AM | News Topics:

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