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May 26, 2015

The journey of 10,000 steps

We’re participating in the Global Corporate Challenge

By Todd Humber

The journey of 10,000 steps starts with just one.

No, I’m not riffing on Confucius. He was a tad bit wiser than me — but I am about to embark on the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). In fact, all seven members of the editorial team here at Canadian HR Reporter will be donning their pedometers over the next 100 days to see how many steps we can rack up.

Our team name is The Walking Read — credit to employment law editor Jeffrey R. Smith for coming up with that catchy moniker. (We’re walking, and we’re editors. And there's a couple of Zombie aficionados in the group. It just made sense.)

Across Thomson Reuters, the company that publishes Canadian HR Reporter, there are 953 walking teams registered. Every team has to have exactly seven members, so that means 6,671 employees are taking part in the challenge. And credit to Thomson Reuters for putting its money where its wellness mouth is — at first, it said it would enroll about 700 teams. But when demand outstripped supply, it stepped up to allow every team into the challenge. (I don’t have figures for this year, but in 2011 the rough cost was about US$100 per employee, with a sliding scale based on number of employees.)

Across the world, hundreds of thousands of employees are taking part, according to the company behind the GCC.

The premise is simple: The goal is for every person in the challenge to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps every day. It’s a virtual journey around the globe. The more steps you take, the more cities you visit. But it goes beyond that, touching on critical wellness factors such as sleep and nutrition.

I’ve been wearing my pedometer for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve got a lot more moving to do. A typical day for me, I’ve discovered, amounts to a paltry 5,000 steps. I’ve upped that slightly by doing the little things — like parking further away at work, taking strolls during breaks and taking the long way to get to my car in the morning. (I park on the street.)

But it’s not making much of a dent. So hitting the 10,000 steps will require some more significant life changes — a long walk at night, some walking meetings in the office, perhaps a new hobby or two. Golfing, I’ve discovered, gives you a ton of steps — just decline that cart rental.

In 2011, we ran a story on the GCC in Canadian HR Reporter. A spokesperson said the aim of the program is to combat the worldwide obesity epidemic and reverse the sedentary lifestyle of so many workers.

“It’s been designed to change people’s lifestyle habits and increase their steps to 10,000 per day… which is a big change for people because the average office worker is only doing 3,000 steps a day.”

The challenge officially opens tomorrow. I’m excited about it — I can’t wait to see how far our team will get as we traverse the globe.

If only I could figure out a way to write and walk at the same time. That seems infinitely harder than chewing gum. Stay tuned. I’ll post results at the bottom of this column over the next 100 days as we hit milestones.

More on the GCC

You can read the article we wrote in 2011 here: Global corporate challenge combats obesity

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