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

Nov. 2, 2007

Employees rose to the challenge

by Paula Van Brocklin

A walk around the world is no small feat, but about 1,000 Iowa State employees collectively accomplished that goal during the first week of the campus-wide pedometer challenge. "Every Step for I-S-You" started Oct. 3, and by the event's final day, Oct. 31, those same individuals had logged enough miles to circle the earth more than three times.

"We have been thrilled at the level of interest and involvement (in the challenge)," said Jesse Truax, a senior kinesiology and health major and co-coordinator of the Wellness Works committee, which helped organize the event. "We thought walking around the world would be challenging ... this greatly exceeded our expectations."

With one day left in the event, participants had collectively walked more than 72,000 miles. Administration led the university groups with 15,328 miles followed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with 11,738 and 9,468 miles, respectively. One of the top teams, appropriately named The Threadbare Sneakers, averaged 21,214 steps a day, or 11 miles, and the top tier of individuals averaged about 28,000 steps per day, or almost 15 miles.

Stewart Nelson, a custodian with facilities planning and management, was one of the individual leaders throughout the challenge. He said leading a healthy lifestyle was key to his motivation.

"I've been on a weight program for the past three years, and I've lost between 40 and 50 pounds," Nelson said. "Walking helps me have an active lifestyle." Nelson averaged between 22,000 and 25,000 steps a day, including a 50,000-step day, equal to a 26-mile marathon.

"I thought I was doing pretty good (with the number of steps) that day until I got home and checked the computer and saw that others were right behind me. So, I took a walk with my wife for an hour-and-a-half, got home and decided to take another walk by myself," Nelson said.

It's that kind of behavior challenge organizers were seeking.

"We're hoping that the individuals will make behavior modifications to incorporate more activity into their day," Truax said. "On a university level, we hope to build a worksite wellness program for the employees, and gain support from top [administrators] through this competition."


The name game

Creativity was not a prerequisite for joining the "Every Step for I-S-You" pedometer challenge. But an abundance of innovative Iowa State-themed team names says ISU employees are a creative bunch. Here's a sampling:

  • CydeWalk Sisters
  • Kinecys
  • The Stray Catts
  • CELTic Striders
  • The Greenlee "Gait"ers
  • Library Lollygaggers
  • State Gym Rats
  • Mad Cy-entist
  • CY-D Walkers
  • Team ExerCYize
  • Tone Clones
  • CALS Gals