This is a simplified Step Challenge ToolKit for your office group.
Below you will find most of the information you need to create a step challenge at your worksite. You will need to decide on what type of pedometer or step measurement device you want to use. There is a slight difference between different styles of step/walking challenges.
Step Challenge ToolKit
Organizing a step challenge takes some time. You may want to start a few weeks or a couple months ahead of time to make sure everything is ready to go on the designated start date.
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1. Decide on how long the challenge is going to last
Yes, people should participate in some activity every day but for the sake of a “challenge” there needs to be a start date and an end date. A good step challenge can run anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. If the challenge goes on much longer than that, participation will start to wane. Having a fairly short period from start to “winning” will likely result in more positive reviews. This will make it easier to host another step challenge at a later date.
The more fun people have the more likely they will want to do it again.
2. Setting up Teams
If you are the overall organizer you can offset some of your efforts to the Team Captains. The first step in getting teams together is to choose the team leaders. The captain can be in charge of record keeping for their team members step counts and presenting them at the end of the week to you (the organizer).
Team Captains are also responsible for communications encouraging participation and daily motivation.
3. Goal Setting
Decide on a common goal or theme. For example is the goal to have a 10,000 step day or is it to combine a walk-a-thon and raise money for charity too? Will you be including outdoor walking as well? If so what is the goal? Perhaps you can have a volunteer map out different routes for the teams to help schedule their walks.
4. Money Needed
A step challenge can cost money. Measuring steps requires a pedometer. They aren’t expensive but the cheapie ones can be disappointing. There are various tools, gizmos, and apps that measure activity but a simple, quality, pedometer is your best bet. People will have to buy their own unless management will contribute.
Other expenses can include prizes and promotional materials.
5. Finding Participants
Now it is time to get people involved. Send out group emails, post signs and posters in common areas, or have a meeting where everyone is invited to join. Have a sign-up package ready and a means to keep the records.
Step Challenge Timeline
After you have the approval from CEO or senior management it is now time to decide what the challenge will be about. Is it for a charity fundraiser, will you be walking outdoor walking routes, counting steps for a virtual journey, or just a daily step challenge with weekly goals?
Next you need to figure out how the steps will be measured. If the money is there then you need to find the pedometers for the group or designate someone to do this.
Over the course of the following weeks is where promoting the idea to your co-workers comes in. Putting up flyers and making a spreadsheet to record the participants. Once you have people signed up you then need to come up with a series of communications via email, telephone or newsletter to keep in touch and update. Teams will start to form and choose their challenge team names. Post the team names in a common area so everyone can see how it is progressing.
If money is collected to participate that contributes to a jackpot winner, post the totals for everyone in the office to see. This may encourage more people to want to participate.
Every week continue sending out emails and communications to the participants for encouragement and motivation. The emails and newsletters can contain ways to increase activity/steps into their day.
Choosing a Virtual Destination for Steps
Depending on a person’s stride length, the average step measurement of a mile is around 2000. A 10,000 daily step goal equates to about 5 miles a day. Another type of a step challenge goal can be to choose a virtual walk, like the Great Wall of China, or similar journey.
Using the Great Wall as an example, where it is estimated to be 30 million steps, you need to either have a really LONG step challenge, or make it a total group effort. In most cases choosing a shorter journey would suit the challenge better.
One fun way of having a group step challenge is to have a designated cartographer in your group. A cartographer is a person who creates maps. Having a person use your local town and creating destination walks with themes can make it fun for everyone. Perhaps print a large map and place it next to the jackpot or fundraising thermometer. Show the plotted routes and mark them as they are completed by tracing the routes.
*HINT* – if you are using fundraising as a motivation for your challenge, map a route that promotes the local businesses that contribute to your fundraising efforts.
Step Challenge Rules
Rules can be quite simple for a step challenge. If you are including a step challenge as an overall office weight loss challenge then these rules should be incorporated but not supersede.
- Decide on how many people in the walk group. Teams should be kept small to around 5 people.
- Daily step sheets should be kept by the team captains and reported to the organizer.
- Contingency planning procedures are needed. Sometimes the unexpected happens that requires a rule to be made up or modified. For example a person’s pedometer may break in the middle of the day. In this event it would be reasonable to record an “average” step count for that day. Other events may require all the team leaders and organizer to decide what what is fair.