Author: Martha Gonzalez, Outreach Coordinator – Christie’s Place
A typical office job definitely has its perks, such as air conditioning, no tough physical labor, and the comfort of not being exposed to the elements. However, there are two sides to every coin. Studies show that people who work behind a desk are more likely to adopt sedentary behaviors. This type of behavior increases the risk for several chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.
Christie’s Place, a local non-profit organization that serves woman, children and families affected by HIV, is making strides to curb poor health outcomes related to a sedentary lifestyle. The Christie’s Place Wellness Committee implements activities throughout the year to encourage staff to be mindful of their health and wellness. They recently wrapped up a 70-Day Steps Challenge, where staff competed to see who could rack-up the most steps. Thirteen out of eighteen staff members participated in this challenge. Each participant contributed a small amount of money to be included in a grand prize for the person who walked the most steps in the span of 70 days. The committee created a group using the Pacer App to track the team’s steps, while some participants chose to stick with apps or gadgets they were already using, such as a Fitbit.
The winner of the challenge accrued a total of 818,720 steps.
“I’m not a competitive person but the app really helped me keep track of my steps and motivated me to walk more,” said second place winner, Karla Medina, Medical Case Manager at Christie’s Place.
As a team they were able to accumulate 4,936,057 steps in only ten weeks. Converted into miles that is about the same as walking from Balboa Park to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada—about 1,800 miles.
Stepping into the New Year the Wellness Committee will meet to decide on their next challenge.
Martha Gonzalez, Wellness Committee Chair, said, “It’s important for me to think of activities that will challenge staff but also motivate them to participate and be able to maintain once the challenge is over.”
Providing opportunities for staff members to create and maintain healthy habits in the work place makes for a more energized team both physically and mentally.