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'Walks with Matthew' back for Move More Challenge

Just in time for Emory’s Move More Challenge, the popular “Walks with Matthew” program returns this Friday with an invitation to exercise.

 Sponsored by the Division of Campus Services, the weekly program encourages members of the campus community to stretch their legs over a lunch hour each Friday while learning more about campus services.

The invitation to exercise is led by Vice President of Campus Services Matthew Early, who’s long been committed to a healthy lifestyle. About three years ago, Early decided to forego his lunch-hour run one day a week and instead invite Campus Service employees — and anyone else in the Emory community — to join him on a noontime amble around campus properties.

The idea was to help promote a healthy lifestyle, says Early. But it also presented an opportunity to kindle conversations about the Emory campus, from exploring its physical beauty to learning more about its physical maintenance.

During the walks, Early fields any and all questions. Routes vary week-to-week, but usually cover about a mile. And Early adjusts his pace to match the slowest walker in the group, says Jacquelyn Linzer, executive administrative assistant for Campus Services.

The walks are offered nearly every Friday at noon, subject to Early’s schedule. Sometimes the start times are varied to accommodate differing employee lunch schedules. And anyone is welcome to attend; groups have varied in size from three up to 15, Linzer says.

Move More

It’s no accident that the program is returning in time for Emory’s Move More Challenge, which partners with Fitbit to encourage Emory University and Emory Healthcare employees to incorporate more exercise into their daily routines.

During last year’s inaugural challenge, more than 6,000 employees walked a combined total of over one million miles, with participants averaging 9,116 steps a day. This year’s challenge runs from Sept. 19 through Nov. 13.

To encourage participation, Campus Services dedicated part of its FY 2015-2016 year-end budget to the purchase of 200 Fitbits, which were provided at no cost to workers in that division who may not have been able to otherwise afford the discounted devices, according to Linzer.

“The hope is that with the new Fitbits, some of those Campus Service employees will feel encouraged to join the ‘Walks with Matthew,’ too,” she says.

Those interested in learning more about upcoming walks can check for weekly updates on the Campus Services website — under Campus Updates — or by following Campus Services on Twitter.

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