April Steps Challenge begins for Mercyhurst faculty and Staff

Nadine Fox, Staff writer

The Faculty Development Committee and Staff Senate’s Social and Recognition Committee are teaming up for a steps challenge in April.  

A step challenge is simply a challenge that tracks the number of steps a person takes from walking or running. They can help create friendly competition in the workplace while also encouraging and implementing healthy lifestyle strategies inside and outside of the workplace.  

It is also a really great way of increasing motivation and goal setting. You don’t have to be a marathon runner in order to participate, just a small brisk walk can do wonders for taking some steps to improve your overall health and well-being, both mentally and physically.  

Walking in general, is super beneficial with reducing stress levels, and with the year ending and everything starting to wrap, up things can tend to get more stressful.  

Regular physical activity boosts your overall heart health and strengthens your lungs. It also helps strengthen your bones. This reduces risk of developing osteoporosis, which is common as we get older.  

This is a really great way for elder staff to encourage them to keep moving. Walking can also help build muscles, which can help us to have more endurance throughout the day and improve levels of concentration.  

Walking encourages our brain to release endorphins, a neurotransmitter that boosts our mental health. Walking is effective at improving our cognitive function and your memory as you grow older. 

Mercyhurst University Faculty and staff who participate are encouraged to take as many steps as they can throughout the month of April. Participants must have a fitness or step tracker, access to a smartphone, and a partner from the Mercyhurst University faculty or staff.  

This is a really great opportunity for our faculty and staff to bond and take the steps to reach their new fitness goals!  

On top of that, it’s really neat as students to get some insight to what some of our faculty are up to outside of educating us in the classroom. 

Last year, Dr. Saeler in the Criminal Justice department hosted a steps challenge in the month of April on behalf of the Faculty Development Committee. That opportunity was a lot of fun for faculty to team up with people across campus and encourage one another throughout the challenge.  

Because of COVID, it’s been a bit more challenging to host social events for staff, and so the goal was to create a fun event to tag team with the Faculty Development Committee to encourage people in different departments to walk or team up with other staff or faculty across campus for this year’s challenge. 

 “There are currently 10 groups of 4. There’s a good mix of faculty and staff. We tried to mix up the teams as much as we could,” said Colleen Hordych, co-chair of the Social and Recognition Committee for Staff Senate.  

“I was personally placed with a random group last year, and we were an ALL STAR team of ladies who almost won (we ended up in second place). While I never actually walked through campus with my team, we had a group chat on our phone app, which is called Stridekick, where we cheered and encouraged each other to get our steps in throughout the month. I am hopeful that as the weather gets a bit nicer, that you may see groups or teams of faculty and staff taking more walks around campus for the challenge!”