Employee Fitness Challenge Begins With Name Game

Faculty and staff offer creative twists on team names

The Get Moving Challenge allows participants to track their health progress online while competing against Duke faculty and staff.
The Get Moving Challenge allows participants to track their health progress online while competing against Duke faculty and staff.

"Mission Slim Possible" isn't the latest Tom Cruise  blockbuster, nor is "Eye Ballas" an up-and-coming basketball team.

These are just a sample of the fun Duke faculty and staff are having with the Get Moving Challenge, Duke's latest team-based fitness competition to help employees achieve health and exercise goals in the New Year.

So far, about 1,400 employees have formed 155 teams of up to 11 participants to see who can walk the most steps, exercise the most minutes and lose the most weight. The Get Moving Challenge, which is sponsored by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program, runs Jan. 23 to April 1. Registration is open through Feb. 3.

"My office took part in Shape Up Duke two years ago, and we had a boring name, so we wanted to do something different this year," said Colleen Scott , associate director of the Baldwin Scholars  program.

She's team captain of "Put That Donut Down and Walk Away."

"I had been working with a nutritionist and one of my first challenges was to go to a reception where they had lots of desserts," Scott said. "I remembered him saying to me to 'put down the dessert and walk away.' We ran with it as a team name."

Along with team members from across several Student Affairs offices, Scott said the benefit of the Get Moving Challenge is finding motivation from teammates.

"You know that other people are counting on you to do something," she said. "You want to work harder to you can see your team at the top of the standings."

That's what Kristen Orgera is hoping for after seeing her team - the "Chubby Scones" - finish in the top 10 in two categories during Shape Up Duke, the employee fitness challenge from 2010. Orgera said that for this year's Get Moving Challenge, her team is looking to improve on finishing sixth overall in steps taken and tenth overall in exercise minutes from the Shape Up Duke competition.

"We did well the last time, so we wanted to keep our name because we can be a little superstitious," said Orgera, project planner in the School of Medicine's Office of Resource Planning and captain of the Chubby Scones. "None of our team members are chubby, but we thought it was funny because our manager likes to bring us scones from the La Farm Bakery in Cary."

With registration open through Feb. 3, faculty and staff have plenty of time to find their motivation for the competition - and come up with more creative team names.

"We love that people are having fun and finding inspiration through health and fitness goals," said Julie Joyner , manager of LIVE FOR LIFE. "We want the Get Moving Challenge to spur excitement and camaraderie, and forming these teams with such fun names is just the first step."

For more information and to sign up for the Get Moving Challenge, visit the program's website. A schedule for participants to pick up their free pedometer is also online.