By Megan Wilcox, APR, ThedaCare Media and Public Relations
A few married couples are using the Pedometer Challenge as a friendly competition to hopefully help improve their health.
The Challenge, which is co-sponsored by ThedaCare and ThedaCare Orthopedic Care, began in early February and runs until April 20. Participants received a pedometer and a log to record their weekly totals. This year, I asked participants to find a buddy to help motivate and maybe even engage in a little friendly competition to help boost their totals. Some participants looked across the dinner table and selected their spouse.
Four couples signed up for the challenge: Rich Schuh of WHBY and his wife, Melissa; Shawn Hauser, a photographer with WBAY Channel 2, and his wife, Kristin; Bill Kumbalek, another WBAY photographer, and his wife, Lori; and Mary Kay Grasmick of the Wisconsin Hospital Association and her husband, Mike.
When he heard about the Challenge, Rick immediately knew he would ask Melissa to be his buddy. “In the past, we’ve done pedometer challenges through the YMCA and actually got pretty competitive with it. Plus it’s a good time of year to put an extra emphasis on being active, when it's so easy to just be lazy,” he says.
This time around, Melissa is walking for two – she is pregnant and due in July. She admits that after working all day and then coming home and taking care of her 2 ½-year-old daughter, Isabella, she is wiped out.
“The last thing I feel like doing is walking on the treadmill. I’m hoping once the weather finally starts to improve, Bella and I can play outside more and maybe take a few walks around the neighborhood,” says Melissa although Rick adds that without his nightly time on the treadmill, she would have him beat when it comes to logging in the most amount of steps.
“My job is pretty sedentary. We compare our steps every day when we get home from work,” Rick says.
Mary Kay and her husband chide each other to get moving and compete to see who can get in more steps.
“We had been talking while watching TV on the couch about why we needed to become more active. The opportunity to walk and track steps, commensurate with the start of the Winter Olympics – and now March Madness — the challenge got us off the couch and walking,” she says.
Although Mary Kay’s numbers last week were way down because of a bad cold, she says when the couple picks a goal number to reach, they usually get it. “Once we set our mind to accomplish x number of steps per day we usually get it done,” she says. “We are quite competitive. When one gets in more steps, the other is sure to know about it.”
The challenge is the first time Kristin has ever worn a pedometer. As a kindergarten teacher, she had no idea how many steps she would get in daily. While Kristin is easily getting 10,000 steps Monday through Friday, the weekends are a different story.
“Then, I’m lucky to get 5,000,” she says, adding that she hopes the arrival of warmer weather will help her get outside more on the weekends.
Shawn admits they don’t chide each other much about their daily totals, but maybe a little friendly competition would boost their numbers and improve their health.
“I think when the weather breaks we will for sure get outside and get a few family walks in, good for all of us,” he says. “Maybe we will have to start getting after each other a bit to get the weekend steps.”