Pedometer challenge pushes faculty to get in shape

GVL / Eric Coulter
Chris Borda, Vicki Wenger, and Troy VanKoevering are members of team Moving PIC-tures competing in the 2012 Pedometer Challenge

GVL / Eric Coulter Chris Borda, Vicki Wenger, and Troy VanKoevering are members of team Moving PIC-tures competing in the 2012 Pedometer Challenge

Rachel Cross

The eighth annual pedometer challenge at Grand Valley State University motivated faculty on campus to get in shape by participating in teams that encouraged each other to get healthy and fit.

The challenge lasted from Sep. 26 to Nov. 7, and faculty in teams of four people participated in the challenge. This year, there were 364 participants and 91 teams at GVSU, which competes against Saginaw Valley State University to see who can get the highest step average.

The first place went to the team “Full Throttle” with a total of 2,256 miles traveled. Second place went to the “Sergeant Steppers and the Lonely Shoes Club Band” with a total of 1,995 miles, and the third place winners, the “DEV Destroyers,” traveled a total of 1,903 miles. GVSU lost to SVUGVSU had an average of 378,154 steps, whereas SVU had an average of 433,320 steps. The most creative team name was given to the group “One Foot Two Foot White Foot Blue Foot,” and the winning department was Facilities Planning.

Lindsey DeSarmo, health and wellness coordinator of the challenge, said there are two different categories of competition. The first level is less competitive where teams simply set a goal of miles to walk by the ending date, and if they achieve this goal, they win a prize. The second level is more competitive, where participants compete against one another and are typically exercising more days a week and hitting the gym.

DeSarmo said that from the feedback she receives, she has found that the pedometer challenge intrigues a majority of the faculty and staff to incorporate more physical activity throughout their day.

“Many faculty and staff may decide to start taking the stairs versus the elevator, just things that get them moving more than usual,” DeSarmo said.

Dorothy Vice, athletic and recreation facilities management assistant, participated with the Rec-ers this year. Vice’s team finished seventh place out of 45 in the level 2 competition.

“Getting external motivation from teammates was great, but the most rewarding part was seeing our progress when compared to the other teams,” Vice said. “We logged the number of steps accomplished each day into a database online and could always see our number of steps compared to other teams.”

Chris Borda, office coordinator of the Padnos International Center and participant of this year’s pedometer challenge, said he has a great time participating in the pedometer challenge, and that it’s something that he and his teammates look forward to every year.

“We enjoy thinking up crazy team names, doing activities together and pushing each other to keep stepping,” Borda said. “We’ve spent lunches touring the parts of campus that we don’t often see, walked over to check the progress of the new football field and brought exercise bands and hula hoops into the office for a different form of exercise. All of it adds to the fun of the challenge.”

DeSarmo said there are a lot of different prize categories for the pedometer challenge. For the competitive challenge, there is the golden shoe category. The golden shoe is a pair of sneakers painted gold that is passed between SVU and GVSU for winners. For second and third place, recognition plaques and gift certificates to Gazelle Sports are given out. For the noncompetitive challenge, athletic socks are given to each team that meets its goal. In addition, the most creative team name earns a prize and there is also a celebration lunch for the competitive team at the end of the challenge.

The challenge was originally created by an intern in the Human Resources Department, which now provides pedometers to participants.

For further information on the pedometer challenge, go to
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