[FITNESS BLOG] Does competition or peer pressure help us be more active?

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

I like to think I’m in charge of my own life and decisions so without any data my answer would be: No. I don’t need tracked competition to be more active. I got it! #boom

After all, I’ve been getting close to 10,000 steps per day, lost 130 pounds in recent years and bulked up some through weight lifting. So all good, right? All good, but I could do even better. On July 1, 2016, we started a step challenge at MedTouch, the digital healthcare agency where I lead the content marketing and content creation team. The majority of the company is participating and tracking steps with Fitbits.

Recommended reading: 

Why gym selfies are okay 

How to get the Fitbit to count steps while pushing a stroller 

How to actually get to 10,000 steps in a day

Before the challenge, I was averaging just shy of 10,000 steps per day. In the one week since the challenge started, that daily average has jumped to over 15,000. This graph shows right before and right after the challenge started:

Quite the impact a little competition has made on my behavior. I now walk more by:

  • Walking to and from the gym to lift (that would be hard during Iowa winters).
  • Do walking meetings in the nearby Brucemore park in Cedar Rapids (photos below).
  • Get on the treadmill at the office during meetings when possible
  • Take the long way to places in the office.

  • Keep an eye on my step count and walk more when it’s too low.
  • Always wear my Fitbit. Steps won’t count when it’s sitting at home, charging.

So, the answer is that, yes, tracking performances and making it a friendly competition can definitely help us be more active.

Interestingly, too, before the challenge I had never taken a walk through Brucemore (though I visited before) even though it’s only a few blocks from the office. As you can see in the pictures below, it’s beautiful.

Brucemore in Cedar Rapids is a great place to walk


How to tie this into organizational storytelling?

As unique storytelling becomes more and more important especially since many are pushing out the same general and boring stories now. One way might be to setup story competitions in your culture of storytelling.

Recommended reading: What’s a culture of storytelling?

Some may not spot or share stories because it might not be a top priority. Steps were kind of a priority for me, but they really became one when the challenge started.

What if organizations create challenges around storytelling? Who has spotted the most stories this week, the most relevant ones and so on?

Of course, we have to empower employees to share stories somewhere and not nitpick them apart when they do.

An idea. If you implement it or need help, drop me a note here. Always happy to share success stories on here.