Walking challenges are a fun, easy way to get active, and potentially get fit. These challenges can create lots of opportunities for your team to bond, improve their health, and build healthy habits. They can work effectively in any organization, whether any participant is an office worker, or non-office worker.
Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.
- What is a Walking Challenge
- The Math Behind a Walking Challenge
- Why 30 Days for a Walking Challenge?
- 7 Reasons Why You Should set up a Walking Challenge
- How to set up a Walking Challenge
- Free 30 Day Walking Challenge Google Sheets Tracker
What is a Walking Challenge
Walking challenges, as defined by the University of Missouri are a collaborative activity where peers come together to meet a walking goal, or even have a friendly competition tracking their daily steps. In goal based walking challenges, a participant may strive to hit a target number of miles (or kilometers, if you use the metric system) distance covered during the challenge period (usually weekly, or monthly), or simply strive to take a total amount of steps during the challenge period.
Walking challenges take your average stroll on a whole new level, and can be an awesome way to motivate people to be more active! The best part is that a walking challenge is accessible for almost anyone, from beginner to expert. Below is some math behind walking challenges, and how they can help you in your physical wellness journey as well.
Math Behind a Walking Challenge
An average person in the United States takes 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day (about 1.5 – 2 miles), and most walking challenges motivate participants to take at least 10,000 steps in a day. For context, most people burn an average of 30-40 calories per 1,000 steps, so 10,000 steps would equate to burning approximately 300-400 calories for the average person.Now putting it in context of the total daily calorie intake requirement, according to the NHS, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men. So if a walking challenge participant takes 10,000 steps in a day (and burns 300-400 calories), they may very well be entering the calorie deficit zone, which is required to lose weight.
Why 30 Days for a Walking Challenge?
The ideal situation is that a walking challenge participant would continue their healthy walking habit, even after the challenge is completed. So the goal would be to make walking a habit for them, creating personal growth for each participant. The thing is, creating a habit takes time, in between 18 to 254 days according to the European Journal of Social Psychology. So a 30 day walking challenge is an awesome guide towards building, and strengthening a walking habit for people.
7 Reasons Why You Should set up a Walking Challenge
Here are some 7 reasons (and benefits) showcasing why you should set up a walking challenge for your team, or your employees:
- Walking Challenges turn groups of individuals into teams through camaraderie, and shared experience
- Having a group of people set goals in a low stakes environment, creates the baseline to set goals in a high stakes environment later
- They will help your employees develop healthy habits
- Creating that competitive, goal oriented team environment is a recipe for improving group chemistry
- The positive feedback loops from a complete walking challenge will help engage your employees
- Walking challenges are fun!
You can save your company money. A Harvard Business School study found that for every dollar you spend on health programs, you will see $6 in healthcare savings.
How to set up a Walking Challenge?
Walking challenges can be done in a group, or independently. If you opt to complete the walking challenges as a group, a best-practice would be to schedule walking groups based on the time of day (ex., morning before work, during lunch, in the afternoon, or in the evening after work). This way employees can walk in groups, and exercise at a time that is convenient for them. If you opt to have the walking challenge completed by each employee independently, it can still be equally effective, but your tracking and reporting measures would have to robust enough that each employee can see their standing compared to the group. Registration for walking challenges can be as simple as a sign-up form (or forms shared around the office), or any other method that fits your company culture.
On that note, now comes the fun part (sarcasm) about tracking and reporting for your walking challenge. If your team, or company has the resources to sponsor the event and provide employees with fitness trackers/activity monitors to track their steps, that would be the ideal way to create standings for the competition. Otherwise, you can have your employees download a health activity tracking app such as Pedometer, Strava, or Nike Run so that their daily steps are tracked. Syncing the information from these apps and devices and ultimately having to calculate who the winners are may be tedious, but there are solutions that can sync all of the data seamlessly to make the walking challenge administration a breeze! We’re also including a free 30 Day Walking Challenge Tracker below to make it easy for you to get started!
If you need some ideas or tips for deciding on prizes for the winners of the walking challenge, you can read this helpful article on wellness challenge prize ideas. Prizes are the ultimate incentive for walking challenge participants, and will encourage participants to actively engage and take initiative.
This article on wellness challenge ideas will be helpful if you are just getting started with wellness at your company.
Free 30 Day Walking Challenge Google Sheets Tracker
If you are looking to start your own step challenge at your company, but want more practice with it before, IncentFit has a free 30 day step challenge google sheets tracker that you can access here. All you need to do is fill out the form and receive access to the challenge tracker!