Faculty and Staff Set to 'Get Moving'

Annual fitness challenge starts Jan. 14

This team of employees from Duke’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology averaged the most minutes of exercise among all teams in last year’s Get Moving Challenge. Photo courtesy of LIVE FOR LIFE.

608 million steps. 2.8 million exercise minutes. 3,879 pounds.

That's what 2,800 faculty and staff across Duke accomplished last year as part of the Get Moving Challenge, a team-based fitness competition that returns January 14.

Employees can now register for the Get Moving Challenge online and form teams of five to 11 employees. Like last year, competition will focus on who can walk the most steps, exercise the most minutes and lose the most weight. Sponsored by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program, the competition runs Jan. 14 to March 24. Registration is open through the end of January.

"There's a little bit of a competitor in all of us and it's a really fun way to set a healthy routine," said Rachel Lo Piccolo, Ph. D program coordinator at Duke's Marine Lab in Beaufort. "Looking at other teams' progress pushed me to try a little harder. It never hurts to have encouragement."

During last year's Get Moving Challenge, Lo Piccolo and seven other employees at the Marine Lab in Beaufort formed the "Marine Lab Movers," which finished ninth overall in team rankings for average steps taken. She said her team did well because it built fitness routines into the day, like going for short walks before work, during lunch or in the evening - activities they practiced after the competition ended.

"Even though we're separated from Duke's main campus in Durham, Get Moving helped us feel the spirit of campus activities," Lo Piccolo said. "Participating helped us build nice rapport within our community and made us feel connected."

During the upcoming Get Moving Challenge, teams compete in weight loss, exercise minutes and steps. Pedometers will be provided to competitors tracking daily steps. Individuals track their own progress and compete against other individuals.

"We were thrilled with the effort so many faculty and staff put into last year's program," said Julie Joyner, manager for LIVE FOR LIFE. "It's exciting to see employees embrace the challenge to achieve better health and wellness."

Among the returning competitors is Ellen Stevens, whose "Crazy Ladies" team of employees from Duke's Division of Gynecologic Oncology managed the seventh highest total of average steps taken and finished first in average minutes of exercise.

"It's definitely a way to improve your health and improve your ability to bond with coworkers," said Stevens, a postdoctoral research associate in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. "Exercising together just motivates us to do more and work harder to win."