We laced up our sneakers, strapped on our FitBits, and logged mile after mile after mile this summer as part of a company wellness challenge designed to drive home the idea that the more you move, the longer you live.
We received clear marching orders as part of the five-week, online Walk Around the World Challenge: Clock 10,000 steps or more every day. The challenge kicked off on July 9, and when it wrapped up on August 12, the company as a whole had logged more than 8 million steps, or approximately 4,000 miles.
Okay, okay. So technically that’s only about a sixth of the way around the world’s equator. Still—an impressive feat! And though we may not have reached every destination by foot, we got to learn about special spots around the globe called “Blue Zones.” Loma Linda in California, Japan’s Okinawa, and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica are all among such places, so called because researchers have discovered they are home to the longest-living people on earth.
“Scientific studies suggest that only about 25 percent of how long we live is dictated by genes…,” writes Blue Zones author Dan Buettner. “The other 75 percent is determined by the lifestyles and everyday choices we make.” Which makes learning about the behaviors and cultures of people who live in such places a smart thing to do as part of a wellness challenge.
For some of us, helping qualify C2’s own hometown of Colchester, Vermont, as a Blue Zone might have been incentive enough. But plenty of prizes along the way kept our heads squarely in the game as well. We earned raffle tickets for any day we logged 10,000 steps or any week we logged 70,000 steps, qualifying us for a grand-prize drawing for a $150 gift certificate. But top bragging rights—along with the prestigious “STEP AWARD” and prize—went to overall leader in steps, Delvis Noble.
Lest anyone worry that FitBit devotees got preferential treatment, we could use any of a dozen different personal trackers and sync our steps directly with a program keeping tabs on the entire company’s progress. Even steps logged on paper counted. (Yes, using the old-fashioned honor system.)
Maybe you’re wondering how we chose the 10,000-steps-a-day goal? According to USA Today, it’s a target that when reached—and coupled with other healthy behaviors—can help decrease chronic illnesses including diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and heart disease. More steps mean longer lives, longer lives mean more Blue Zones.
Following the challenge, many of us have kept up our steps and continue to track our daily activity. I’m looking forward to more C2 wellness events in the future!