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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Oct. 5, 2007

Faculty and staff getting healthy, step by step

by Paula Van Brocklin

Walkers on campus

Response to the "Every Step for I-S-You" pedometer challenge has exceeded expectations, with nearly 1,000 participants. Pictured above, left to right, are challenge teammates LouAnn Doyle, Chloris Williams, Kathleen Killorn, Tami Kuhn and Stewart Nelson. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Nearly 1,000 faculty and staff members have "stepped" up their commitment to a healthier lifestyle by participating in the "Every Step for I-S-You" pedometer challenge through the end of October.

Faculty and staff signed up at the end of September in teams of three to five individuals. The first 500 who registered received a free pedometer, courtesy of the benefits office, which provided $5,000 for the event. An additional 250 individuals had the option of purchasing a pedometer for $10. The remaining participants already own pedometers.

Challenge participants are encouraged to log their daily step counts on a Web site, which monitors both team and individual standings. Step totals for each team will be averaged at the end of the month, and prizes will be awarded to teams and individuals with the highest step averages.

The Wellness Works committee is coordinating the project, under the direction of Gregory Welk, associate professor in kinesiology; and Sally Barclay, coordinator of the Nutrition Clinic for Employee Wellness. Wellness Works comprises undergraduate students who work to promote worksite wellness on campus.

The primary goal of the challenge is to promote active lifestyles among Iowa State faculty and staff through a friendly, team-based challenge.

Welk said walking is the logical choice for a work-site health initiative. "Walking is easy, relaxing, and people can do it anywhere," he said. "The team aspect also helps hold people accountable to get their steps logged."

Kathy Killorn, a secretary in apparel, education studies and hospitality management, is taking part in the challenge. "The pedometer is a great motivator," she said.

Chloris Williams, who also is a secretary in AESHM, said the challenge enhances her regular exercise routine. "It's fun to see how far you can go, and to challenge yourself," Williams said.

Barclay believes the competition will help more faculty and staff develop healthy lifestyles. "We're hoping that if people do it for four weeks that it will become habit," she said.

The campus-wide challenge is an extension of a pilot study conducted in the College of Human Sciences last spring, in which more than 125 employees participated. That project's success prompted the Wellness Works committee to launch the campus-wide challenge this semester.


Cyclone connection

New-Lifestyles Inc., founded in 1992 by ISU graduate Teresa Vollenweider (1982, B.S., physical education), supplied the pedometers and developed the Web site for the "Every Step for I-S-You" challenge. Based in Lee's Summit, Mo., Vollenweider's company imports and distributes pedometers, and develops physical activity plans for schools, government agencies and health departments.