Western ready to step up to the Challenge

Perhaps take the stairs to your third-floor office. How about spending part of your lunch hour walking across campus? You could simply relax with some standing yoga.

Whatever your idea of activity may be, the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge continues to help transform the cultures of the world’s leading organizations, including Western, and improve the health and performance of more than two million employees.

For the fifth year in a row, Western is stepping up to the challenge, giving students, staff and faculty the opportunity to share the fun on this round-the-world adventure with their colleagues, by adding some healthy competition, and steps, to their day.

Whatever your current level of activity, it is a great motivator to get moving, said Western’s Global Challenge Organization Manager Adam Craig.

“It is pretty clear Western employees have enjoyed the challenge over the years,” said Craig, Organizational Manager and Wellness Coordinator for Living Well @ Western. “While we do have some competitive individuals, the focus is on camaraderie and improving your health and well-being. We have a beautiful campus and the event provides a wonderful opportunity to get outside and enjoy it.”

Registration is now open and spots for Western are limited to the first 200 teams (seven members per team). The challenge kicks off May 23 with a mini-wellness fair at Alumni Hall from 10:30 a.m. to noon, which will include a standing yoga session with healthy snacks and beverages.

For more information, visit the Western Global Challenge website, uwo.ca/hr/safety/wellness/gcc.

Craig said the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge makes living a healthy and active life easy and fun by taking teams on a 100-day virtual journey around the world. Western joins more than 1,200 organizations (including more than 50 other educational institutions) from 185 countries around the world.

He added it’s all about finding fun and creative ways to add steps and activities into your day and, with the Global Challenge Pulse, you can keep will track of your daily progress, with your steps counting toward your team’s virtual journey around the world.

“Virgin Pulse has a new flexible step converter that allows you to receive steps for a variety of different activities,” said Craig, adding activities such as yoga, biking, swimming, resistance training and others can now be counted towards your step total. “In the past, people have been reluctant to do certain activities because they weren’t able to accumulate steps, now they will be able to.”

Craig is adding a little extra fun to this year’s challenge on campus through quarterly challenges for all teams, a “competition within a competition,” he said. Points will be awarded for certain accomplishments and the team with the biggest improvement from the previous week will have their photo featured on Western’s Global Challenge website and be awarded the ‘Purple Shoe.’

So, whether you’re taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus two stops earlier,  riding your bike to work, wanting to reach 10,000 steps a day or perhaps training for your next triathlon, the initiative is all about personal wellness, noted Craig.

“We are always looking for new ideas, so people can contact me if they would like to see something added to this or future wellness events,” he said.

Craig can be reached at acraig7@uwo.ca.