Emory employees are 'Moving More' again

By Erin Long | Emory Report | Sept. 22, 2016

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The 2016 Move More Challenge is now underway, with approximately 9,200 employees from Emory University and Emory Healthcare pledging to track their steps with Fitbits and add more physical activity to their daily routine. Emory Photo/Video

The Move More Challenge is back! Designed to encourage Emory employees to add more movement to their daily routine, the physical activity challenge was so popular last fall that the Healthy Emory team has brought it back again this year. The eight-week challenge kicked off Monday and continues through Nov. 13.

The Move More Challenge uses Fitbits to allow participants to track their daily steps, set goals and compete with their co-workers. For this year’s challenge, employees had the opportunity to upgrade their Fitbits to a newer device, with Emory subsidizing part of the cost.

Approximately 9,200 employees from Emory University and Emory Healthcare have signed on to take the 2017 challenge, forming a total of 42 teams which are all competing for prizes and bragging rights.

A trophy will be awarded to the teams in each category (small, medium, and large) that have the highest average steps for the entire eight-week challenge period. There will also be recognition for teams that are the most improved from the 2015 program. Individual challenge participants who meet certain thresholds will be entered into a drawing to receive prizes at the end of weeks 4 and 8.

“With this being the second year of the challenge, some departments are really stepping up their game,” says Melissa Morgan, manager of wellness programs. “We’ve seen wellness champions, leaders and employees at all levels inspiring each other and coming up with creative ideas to encourage their employees to move more."

  • Campus Services is offering “Walks with Matthew” every Friday at lunch, led by Vice President of Campus Services Matthew Early.
  • Oxford College is leading a “Move More Mondays” program for their employees, giving them an opportunity to play the Just Dance Xbox game during lunch.
  • Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is offering free access to their cardiac rehab gym for participants (normally $25/month) and is also purchasing t-shirts for all of their participating employees.
  • The Goizueta Business School and Emory University Hospital are sponsoring “Weekly Walks with a Leader.”
  • A physician at Student Health Services is sponsoring a Zumba class for employees.
  • Human Resources is providing their employees a chance to win prizes if they achieve 10,000 steps at least three days per week.
  • The Blomeyer Health Fitness Center is offering a special $50 membership to all Move More participants during the eight-week program.

“Many Move More participants have also formed teams to support the charitable walks that Emory has typically supported such as the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk and Winship’s Win the Fight 5K,” adds Morgan.

New for this year, participants can also earn a $100 incentive on the Emory medical plan in 2017 if they average 5,000 steps per day. Additionally, employees at Emory Healthcare can receive 100 E-Recognize points for averaging 5,000+ steps throughout the challenge, or 500 points for averaging 10,000+ steps.  

Tips for Moving More

Moving throughout the day can be a challenge, particularly for those who have long commutes and typically sit at a computer most of the day, but Morgan says there are little things you can do each day to increase your steps:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car farther away from the door.
  • Take two short breaks during the day and walk for 15 minutes each.
  • Take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood.
  • Join an Emory walking group.
  • Walk to meetings rather than driving.
  • Carry groceries in one or two bags at a time to create more steps.

“We also have many group walking activities planned across Emory throughout the challenge,” Morgan adds. “To get involved, participants can check out the online Activity Calendar. We also want to encourage everyone to share their pictures on social media at #MoveMoreEmory. Keep moving!”