Employee Fitness Challenge Begins Jan. 14

Registration still open for individual and team health competition

While competition in Duke's Get Moving Challenge will be fierce among nearly 1,100 faculty and staff - and counting - it will be doubly so in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

That's where the "Secondary Stress Busters" and aptly named "Secondary, Secondary Stress Busters" have formed for Duke's employee health and fitness competition that begins Jan. 14 and runs through March 24. These two groups of Duke employees share the same workspace inside downtown's North Carolina Mutual Life Building, and both have a good sense of humor about their impending competition.

"Since you can only have 11 people on a team, we made a second team and more people are signing up each day," said Grace Carnes, staff specialist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and team leader of the Secondary, Secondary Stress Busters. "We've joked about using motivational techniques like hiding each other's desk chairs to ensure that no one's sitting down at work over the next ten weeks."

Carnes, her coworkers and all other Duke employees will compete to walk the most steps, exercise the most minutes or lose the most weight when Get Moving begins Jan. 14. Registration is still open and faculty and staff can sign up through Jan. 28. Sponsored by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program, Get Moving already features 1,093 registrants who have formed about 100 teams.

"Now that faculty and staff start focusing on New Year's resolutions dealing with health and wellness, Get Moving is a perfect way to help employees reach those goals," said Julie Joyner, manager for LIVE FOR LIFE. "Most of our top performers from last year weren't intense athletes - they were regular employees who got motivated from friends and coworkers."

That's the case with Kori Robins and her peers in the Duke Divinity School. After a coworker spotted signs advertising the Get Moving Challenge, they decided to form #FitnessMonster, a play off an office joke using the word "hashtag" to describe things, like on Twitter.

"Calling someone a monster is a term of endearment," said Robins, registrar at the Divinity School. "If you're good at something, you're a monster. Because there's such a sense of support around here that's unique to our community, we just wanted to find a way to encourage one another to keep each other in check and keep it fun."

To stay competitive, Robins said she and her teammates plan to hold regular walks during workday lunches at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and participate in weekly yoga classes together. Robins also noted each team member is working toward a personalized goal, which helps keep them motivated.

"I have a two-week Mediterranean cruise in July," she said. "It's all going to come down to making healthy choices and contributing to each other staying healthy."