Fitness challenge gets Western moving

Adela Talbot // Western News

Starting today, 455 Western employees, making up 65 teams, will participate in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), a workplace fitness program that aims to improve the health and performance of more than 1.5 million employees around the world.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And that first step could simply be the walk to campus for lunch.

Starting today, 455 Western employees, making up 65 teams, will participate in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), a workplace fitness program that aims to improve the health and performance of more than 1.5 million employees around the world.

GCC participants embark on a 100 Day Virtual Journey around the world in which each of them are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps per day. The progress is recorded by the GCC Pulse which is a biometric step counter clipped onto each participant. Every step registered by the Pulse is translated to an actual step on the virtual road map. As teams progress in the Virtual Journey, trophies and achievements are unlocked along the way.

“What the challenge is really about is to challenge individuals to take ownership of their health and change the perspective of what it means to live an active lifestyle,” said Jason Gotwalt, senior account manager Eastern Canada for GCC.

“In the long run, for Western or any organization that has a healthy workforce, it is going to be a more productive, creative and efficient workforce. It is very important that the university value and invest in their employees’ health.”

In last year’s challenge, Western was the most active educational organization in Canada, Gotwalt said. With three times as many participants this year, Western can potentially be the most active educational organization in the world.

Results from last year proved the challenge has had positive impacts on Western employees’ lifestyle. Participant feedback claimed improvements in overall health, productivity, sleep quality, physical activity and nutritional awareness, as well as reduction of workplace stress, fatigue and BMI.

“I felt it was a peak of energy and health,” said Louise Koza, total compensation director for Western’s Human Resources, also a returning GCC participant. “I lost quite a few pounds in 100 days without even trying.”

“Rather than paying off prescription bills, the challenge is a more proactive strategy to improve the health of Western employees,” Koza continued. “I suggest let’s be proactive, and let’s not get people sick.”