University of Calgary

Medicine pedometer challenge wraps up with more than 200 million recorded steps

UToday HomeAugust 14, 2013

Faculty members and staff in the Faculty of Medicine have walked the circumference of the earth just over three times in the past eight weeks as part of the Walk Wholeheartedly Workplace Pedometer Challenge.

The goal of the employee-driven event was simple: to promote wellness and active living within an atmosphere of friendly competition. Through a series of special events, including Rodeo Days – a chance to get into the stampede spirit by roping cactus and barrel racing – nutrition talks, yoga sessions, lunch-hour walks and even a jump rope demonstration, the 39 participating teams of eight got moving and recorded a combined total of 217,592,225 steps.

Since the challenge kicked off in May, participating staff and faculty increased their weekly step counts on average 71 per cent, and the challenge’s most mature participant, 73-year-old Doreen Gebers, increased her weekly steps by almost 80 per cent.

“I have a daughter who is a marathon runner and is always telling me I need to walk! Each week, I chose something different to do like walking malls or through Ikea, biking on the path to my daughter’s place, and a lot of gardening; I even went line dancing for some fun,” said Gebers.

“This challenge has convinced me to keep up the level of fitness I have achieved. I know it is good for me physically and mentally, and my two daughters are proud of me.”

When it was all said and done, the Queens of Hearts (Anne Heiligsetzer, team captain; Karen Hopkins, Jo Trotta, Ang Jones, Jean Knippers, Robin Fisher, Dawn Novak, and Deborah Treijs) walked away with the title of top team recording a total of 8,923,546 steps; the top individual was Bruce Allen with 3,460,656 steps. The winners were awarded the Golden Shoe team and individual trophies respectively.

Even though the 2013 challenge has officially wrapped up for the year, a faculty member is keeping the spirit very much alive by taking the idea with her to Nicaragua to be implemented in six universities as part of their overall wellness strategies. Also, organizing committee chair Carol Walsh has been approached by other faculties interested in starting similar initiatives or looking to broaden the event’s scope for next year

Walk Wholeheartedly was sponsored by AUPE Local 52, the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, and the Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Staff Wellness.


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