Results of physical activity community challenge announced

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

Students and faculty at Murray State logged a total of 98,594 steps as part of the Wellness Consortium Obesity Workgroup’s Physical Activity Community Challenge during the month of October.

Miranda Terry, associate professor and director of Public and Community Health, said the program was designed to increase the amount of physical activity among campus community members because many do not get the recommended amount of activity. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of activity per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

“This was just a small step for raising awareness that even doing housework or gardening or grocery shopping or conscious efforts of walking laps or walking the loop or the walking trails all count toward your physical activity,” Terry said.  

Throughout the month of October, during which participants kept a log of their weekly physical activity minutes, along with which activities they engaged in. At the end of the month, the logs were sent to Terry.

Elizabeth Johnson, senior from Cadiz, Kentucky, said she was glad she participated in the challenge and she was surprised at her results.

She said she goes to yoga twice a week and also runs or walks, which helps reduce her stress, but increases her physical activity.

“This challenge made me strive to exercise more and make healthier lifestyle choices,” Johnson said.  

Mallarie Riffe, senior from Dyer, Tennessee, also enjoyed the challenge.

Riffe said she has been jotting down notes on her physical activity for the past month, similar to the logs they kept for the challenge.

“This challenge helped me most in personal awareness,” Riffe said. “I could clearly see not only what I needed to work on, but also what I did well.”

She said she stays active by going to gym, walking to class, nursing clinicals and sorority intramurals.

The calculations from the challenge showed the students logged a total of 58,525 steps, and faculty logged a total of 40,069 steps.

Terry said 122 people signed up for the challenge, 95 of which were students. The results show 34 participants completed the program, which is a 27.87 percent retention rate. Of the 34 participants, 16 were students and 18 were employees.

The retention rate was higher than at the first health initiative, the Rethink Your Drink program, which took place on campus during the 2016 Spring Semester.

Terry said she sent out a weekly tracking sheet and reminder about the program, which she said she believes helped with retention numbers and the top teams received prizes from Physical Activity Challenge sponsors.

“I’m open for suggestions on how to make this a campus wide initiative so more people want to participate and will actually follow through on the participation,” Terry said. “It will help make our campus community a lot healthier, too, if everybody is engaging in these things.”

The challenge was sponsored by Office of Recruitment, Employee Wellness, Penn Station, Burrito Shack and Big Apple Café.  

Terry said the Wellness Consortium Obesity Workgroup has not finalized the next challenge, but they are discussing a portion control challenge or a fruits and vegetable initiative.

“If we can increase our health then that will have ripple effects to increasing the health of our community,” Terry said.