White Sands Missile Range community members are competing against other installations to see who can “step” to the walking challenge. The “Just Do It, Again,” Installation Management Command challenge, which began July 31 and will run through October 22, was developed as a way to promote health and wellness and provide a friendly command competition. Bell Gym Fitness Program Specialist Dawn Armstrong said there is still time to register and make your steps count toward winning the title for the installation and, most importantly, bragging rights. This is the second 12-week challenge IMCOM hosts.
The 12-week walking challenge was developed by IMCOM Wellness Coordinator Paul Smith as part of the Army Medicine’s Performance Triad initiative to improve readiness and increase resiliency through public health outreach and leadership engagements.
“We have continued this very popular group activity,” Smith said. “The amount of participation proves that there is a popular interest in achieving a healthy life style.”
The first challenge took place May 1 through July 23. There were 1,066 participants and 16 teams, including garrison and headquarters, participating, however, only 424 participants consistently reported their steps. The 424 participants reported a total of 33,263,248 steps within the 12-week period. The Army Surgeon General recommends a 10,000 step goal per day. Each walker averaged a little over 72,000 steps during the last challenge. Team Alaska placed first with 246,919 steps and WSMR placed second to last with only 58,651 steps.
“We only had one participant logging their steps during the first challenge,” Armstrong said.
For this challenge, Armstrong decided to incorporate the Wellness Program, a WSMR workforce health program, to bring in more participants. The first five participants who were already registered with the Wellness Program and register for the walking challenge received three free personal fitness training sessions.
“Those slots filled up quickly once the offer went out,” Armstrong said.
As of August, there are currently 13 enrolled participants representing WSMR. Armstrong said civilians make up a large part of both the Wellness Program and the walking challenge. This challenge is made up of over 75 percent civilian participants.
The steps are documented through the “Walking Challenge Step Tracker,” and is largely based on the honor system. Participants can use pedometers or any sort of activity tracker to monitor their steps. Smith even provides participants with a formula to be able to determine the amount of steps participants can document during workouts. Armstrong said facilities around post can provide participants with free pedometers if they don’t already have one for the challenge. The steps must be documented on a weekly basis from Sunday at midnight to Saturday at midnight.
Participants must register and be deemed physically capable of participating before being accepted for the challenge. Smith provides participants with tips on proper protective equipment to wear while going out on walks and what precautionary measures to take before the start of your walk like wearing proper footwear, walking against traffic and drinking plenty of water.
“Stay aware from energy drinks and drinks that contain sugar and caffeine,” Smith said in the challenge’s Army guidance.
Participants who wish to register now are even able to backfill their steps to count for the time they missed. Military members, civilians, contractors, retirees and family members are invited to participate. There are currently 22 teams signed up for the challenge and WSMR is currently in 13th place. For more information, or to sign up for the challenge, e-mail Paul Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org .