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e-dition - March 23, 2007

Walk this Way:
Initiate a Pedometer Challenge

By Ilana Simon

Sixty-five University of Winnipeg faculty, staff and students participated in a five-day "Pedometer Challenge" last month designed to assess their activity levels, celebrate UWinnipeg's 40th anniversary and draw attention to Heart Month. And now the Department of Kinesiology & Applied Health is encouraging other departments on campus to get moving too-and will help interested groups by lending out the Department pedometers.

"Most participants said they had fun and found the project motivated them to increase their activilty levels," said Dr. Glen Bergeron, Chair of Kinesiology & Applied Health and one of the participants. "For myself personally, I gained an appreciation of how much walking (and sitting!) I do in a day. The pedometer also made me more aware of the opportunities I had to walk, which I might not otherwise have taken advantage of if I wasn't wearing a pedometer."

Uniter staff, members of the Athletic Therapy and Kinesiology Students' associations, and Kinesiology & Applied Health faculty and staff took part in the "Pedometer Challenge." Each was issued a pedometer and required to wear it during waking hours over a five-day period. Fifty four of the 65 pedometers recordings were considered valid.

Little Changes Boost Activity Level
The average number of steps over the five-day period ranged from 39,912 down to 30,045 steps. While, the project was not meant to be a competition, participants noted that everyone was interested in comparing results and this motivated them to think about being more active and log more steps.

"While wearing the pedometer I found that I was more inclined to take the stairs (especially at school), walk to the next closest bus stop, or even run a little bit longer on the treadmill. Now whether that had to do with the fact that we kind of made it into a competition or not I can’t say; but overall, the experience showed me that you can always walk a little bit further, or exercise for a little bit longer," said Tamra Irwin, vice-president of the Kinesiology Students' Association.

She said the "Pedometer Challenge" demonstrated to her how little changes can significantly boost your overall level of physical activity and improve your physical health. "Even though it may only be one set of stairs, or getting up to change the channel instead of using the remote control, it all adds up," she said. "That one set of stairs four or five times a day as opposed to the escalator, makes a huge difference in the amount of steps you take everyday."

Campus Challenge
Both Bergeron and Irwin found the "Pedometer Challenge" to be a positive experience and encourage others on campus to initiatie their own similar events. "It is a good eye opener, and has positively influenced the amount of walking that I do everyday," Irwin recounted. "And it was a fun little competition between friends to see who could exercise more. What better competition is there than that?"

Bergeron said communication increased between staff and students thanks to the "Pedometer Challenge" and both groups were enthusiastic participants.

The "Pedometer Challenge" project committee included Tim Volk representing the Kinesiology Students' Association; Katie Sawicki, representing the Athletic Therapy Students' Association; and Dr. Fred Gutoski, staff member in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health.

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