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Emory employees take over 3 billion steps in 2016 Move More Challenge

Employees of Emory University and Emory Healthcare have crossed the finish line of this year’s Move More Challenge. Some 6,559 employees completed the 2016 challenge, collectively walking 1.37 million miles, climbing 2.98 million flights of stairs and taking over 3 billion total steps.

This was the second year that Emory offered the Move More Challenge as a unique opportunity for employees to engage in more physical activity and movement. Challenge participants used a Fitbit device (partially paid for by Emory) to track their activity, set personal goals and compete with their co-workers.

“We are really pleased with the participation this year,” says Melissa Morgan, manager of wellness programs. “Everyone was really engaged, and we continually heard from participants who shared their motivational stories throughout the challenge.”

While there were plenty of walkers all across Emory’s campuses, many employees opted to get their steps in more unique ways.

Lida Valentine, a clinical pharmacist at Emory University Hospital Midtown, spent 10 days in South America, hiking in Patagonia. “I wore my Fitbit every day and one day, hiked 20-plus miles, getting over 50,000 steps," she says.

Janey Wilcox, an administrative assistant at Yerkes Field Station, logged her steps by attending agility classes with her dog JoJo. While JoJo raced through the tunnels and up the balance beams and ramps, Wilcox got her steps by sprinting alongside of her.

Incentives and winners

One thing new for this year’s challenge, which spanned Sept. 19 to Nov. 13, was that participants who averaged at least 5,000 steps per day will receive an Emory medical plan incentive in 2017. The incentive (worth $100) was one of the top reasons people said they participated in the challenge, according to a recent post-challenge survey. 

Survey respondents also cited that they enjoyed the competition between the different divisions. Emory University’s President's Office took first prize in the small team category with 11,184 average steps; Goizueta Business School won the medium team category with an average of 9,633 steps; and Campus Services placed first in the large team category with 10,177 average steps.

The most improved teams from the 2015 challenge were Candler School of Theology (1st place), EVP: Business & Administration (2nd place) and the President's Office (3rd place).

“Overall, the Move More Challenge was a huge success,” states Morgan. “Our post-challenge survey gave the program very high reviews.”

  • 97 percent agreed that the Move More Challenge is a valuable benefit offered by Emory.
  • 92 percent said the Fitbit motivated them to be more active.
  • 98 percent said they would participate in another Move More Challenge in the future.
  • 99 percent would recommend the program to others.

The challenge may be over for now, but Morgan says she hopes the awareness gained from the experience of “moving more” will stay in the minds of Emory employees. “Keep wearing your Fitbit and keep walking,” she says. 

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