This semester, several Malone staff and faculty are doing the Fitbit challenge, also known as the step challenge. There are 14 teams and both individual and team goals. Individuals pick a goal of steps to reach per day through whatever activities they enjoy doing.
“The step challenge is a way that we are trying to [give] our staff and faculty an opportunity to get more active. You have to have an activity tracker of some kind and you have to download the Fitbit app,” said Joyce Byler, director of the wellness center.
Byler said participants keep track of everyone in the challenge and put them on teams. The Fitbit app keeps track of the steps daily and weekly. Through the app there are both daily and weekend competitions.
“Every week we put out a different challenge. The challenge might be weekend warrior, so for that weekend we average out the steps of everyone on that team and come up with the team winner. Sometimes we pull out the winners of each team [and] sometimes we just recognize the team who won,” said Byler.
Byler said this challenge works in accordance with the participants’ regular routine.
“The reason [the steps challenge] works is because faculty especially, as well as staff members, are super busy. We don’t have time to all meet together and work out together, and we all have different things we like to do. This way we can all challenge each other, but at our own time,” Byler said.
Everybody has their own way of becoming more fit and getting their steps in. People do what makes it work for them, and they get credit for whatever they do. The challenges help motivate staff members and faculty to get their steps in.
This challenge was suggested by Mark Jakowski, associate professor of education.
Jakowski said the Fitbit challenge affected his schedule because he knew he needed to get to a certain goal. He would walk early in the morning before breakfast in order to get his steps in.
“It also allows me to pray and get centered for my morning and the rest of the day. I tend to walk earlier in the morning when it’s still dark because my wife gets up early. There’s nobody around outside and its calm, [with] not much to distract you, so the morning works for me. Because of that I already have momentum,” said Jakowski.
Jon Peterson, director of choral activities, has jumped into the challenge as a way to continue creating a healthy lifestyle.
“The inspiration came from outside of Malone. I had a rough year, health-wise. I came back from Kenya with the chamber choir and had a blood clot in my leg. I wasn’t allowed to be extremely mobile, definitely not able to work out, [until] that cleared up, and it took months. I was already a little overweight, and I got more and more out of shape because of that,” said Peterson.
Peterson said he was already in the mindset of getting back in shape, since he was off his feet for months. He got a Fitbit the same day that he got invited to the challenge.
“The fitness challenge came along, and I thought I had the accountability at home, [and] I could definitely use the accountability at work,” said Peterson. “I do a lot of walking and we have an elliptical machine in our basement. I get the bulk of my steps on that. We have a baby at home in addition to our six year old, and any chance I can do something without having to leave the boys is great. My wife and kids could be playing in the basement, and I’m with them while I work out.”
Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for The Aviso.