Achieving Health & Wellness One Step at a Time

The Health & Wellness (H&W) Committee decided that March was the best time for our members to get active and accumulate their steps as the spring weather was warmer, brighter and fresher than ever! Thus, the Committee presented the Centre for Blood Research (CBR) Step Challenge, an event designed to encourage fitness and push oneself to meet those goals through extending the number of steps one walks daily. From March 4th to 24th, a total of three weeks, our CBR members were required to log their daily steps in a Google tracking sheet and reach a goal of 10,000 steps averaged weekly (no carry overs). This allowed their progress to be visible and hopefully acted as motivation to either walk more or continue their fitness routine. Last year, the Step Challenge lasted four weeks and the objective was 12,000 steps per day, making it difficult to accomplish. This year, changes were implemented to increase participation and completion rates, such as assigning a more obtainable goal and supplying lots of rewards as incentives.

A total of 26 ambitious steppers signed up and remained consistent with their steps throughout the three week timeline. In the first and second week, 17 steppers met the goal, whereas in the third week, 13 steppers finished the Step Challenge. Walking 10,000 steps is a difficult task itself, so we permitted “step-equivalent” activities to count. These include everyday activities such as sports, bicycling, shopping, yoga, and swimming, to name a few. By the end of the Step Challenge, we had a grand total of 10,452,496 steps. Fun fact: that’s enough to walk the entire distance of Canada coast to coast once! At the end of each week, the H&W Committee supplied milestone rewards and sent encouragement emails to our steppers – it was certainly effective! Rather than fostering a fierce competition, the Step Challenge focused on personal goals and sparked passion while elevating moods.

To celebrate the stepper’s achievements, the H&W Committee placed fresh fruit in the CBR lounge after the first week. At the end of the second week, the team handed out healthy surprise bags (containing a granola bar, juice and fruit cup) to the 15 steppers who maintained their weekly average of 10,000 steps. At the end of the third week, the team handed out a final prize to the 13 steppers who successfully finished the Step Challenge: a completion certificate and a Booster Juice gift card. These 13 steppers were then qualified to enter a raffle for the grand prize: a meal prep gift card! On March 29th, CBR held a healthy pita lunch social to celebrate the end of the Step Challenge and draw from the raffle to determine the lucky winner. Congratulations to Dr. Peter Bell (Postdoctoral Fellow in the Overall Lab) on winning the raffle prize! Here are Peter’s thoughts on how the Step Challenge helped him reach his personal fitness goals:

“I especially liked the timing of the challenge, because it encouraged me to start getting back to fitness after the winter break – and starting is usually the most difficult step! The early start to training helped me to gain a personal best in the Vancouver Sun Run, and has made recent mountain biking trips easier on the legs!”

Great job to all the members who participated and persevered throughout the Step Challenge.  Whether the step goals were exceeded or not, it was an effective method to get everyone active, inspired and to set health goals! Join in on the fun next year!