Western takes steps to rise to Challenge

Adam Craig, Wellness Co-ordinator for Wellness@Western, is encouraging the campus community to register for the Western’s Global Challenge – so named because participants figuratively journey their way to virtual destinations around the world – by Friday, May 10.

Western looks to get the campus community up and moving when the annual Global Challenge kicks off on May 22, leading into 100 dedicated days of wellness.

The launch of the annual event will be different from the previous mass gathering at Alumni Hall, explained Adam Craig, Wellness Co-ordinator for Wellness@Western. This year, teams will have a choice from among several events, including yoga on University College Hill, outdoor zumba, walking/running groups and a bike tour. Water and healthy snacks will be provided at each station, as Western looks to motivate as many people as possible to be active and healthy.

The registration deadline for Western’s Global Challenge – so named because participants figuratively journey their way to virtual destinations around the world – is Friday, May 10.

Faculty and staff who would like to become part of a seven-person team (at no cost to participants) can contact the leader of their department or unit.

Participants receive wristband fitness trackers that, through a customizable online toolbar, wirelessly helps them log their activity: whether walking, biking, swimming, yoga or some other activity.

This year, the wristband Max Buzz trackers (different from the clip-ons of past years) have advanced features that include a memory capacity of 14 days, optional notifications to let participants know they’ve been sitting too long and sensors that can log how well the participant sleeps. (Participants can also use their own fitness trackers.)

While each participant can see their own stats and each team can generally track their activity progress, details on any individual person are anonymized and not available to anyone else.

Teams nominally ‘compete’ to see which tracks more activity time and which improves baseline wellness at waypoints over the 100 days. But the main goal is to motivate and maintain mental and physical wellness as individuals and as a team, Craig said.

“The nice thing about this is that accountability is built in because you’re walking and working with teammates. It’s about building our communities, encouraging social activity and doing that in a healthy and happy way,” he said.

Participants will have access along the way to a virtual health coach, delivered to their inbox and/or phone app; dietary tips; stress-busting ideas; movement motivators; and sleep reminders.

Participants can keep the trackers at the end of the 100 days – after that, participants will still be able to log their daily data manually, although the upload and sync features will be disabled.

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By the numbers

6. Number of years Western has participated in the Global Challenge.

154. Teams in 2018 for a total of 1,078 participants.

13,000. Average number of steps taken daily.

24 per cent. Participants with 10,000 steps per day before the challenge.

76 per cent. Participants who surpassed 10,000 steps per day during the challenge.