Group of students and employees, some wearing large playing cards, in celebration of the Poker Walk fitness event.

Walking For Fitness With Walk Across America

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Students are standing at the perimeter of the campus, three of them wearing an over-sized card from a deck, ace of spades, Jack of diamonds, and Queen of clubs

Poker Walk student volunteers from the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega participated in The Poker Walk, a community walk around the perimeter of the SJSU campus, which kicked off Walk Across America last month (photo by Paula Avandia).

Well U is at it again. This time, SJSU’s employee wellness program is challenging students, faculty and staff to travel across the United States, step by step, using nothing more than a pedometer.

HR Administrative and Data Specialist Julie Inouye Wong has been overwhelmed by the response she’s getting for Walk Across America, a program specific to SJSU, created by Well U and  Kaiser Permanente. The Poker Walk, a community walk around the perimeter of campus, kicked off the six-week pedometer challenge last month.

“It showed people how easy it is to incorporate walking in their work or school day,” Wong said.

According to Wong, the main motivation behind Walk Across America, now in its fourth week, is awareness.

“Our main goal to is to get people more aware of their physical activity level now so they can work on improving it,” Wong said.

More than 270 faculty, staff and students are registered for the challenge and are tracking their steps in teams of four with the hopes of reaching a new milestone each week.

“The goal is to make it to New York City for a celebration at Times Square,” Wong said.

Senior communication studies major Julie Berkovatz heard about the challenge from a Guardian Scholars counselor she works with at the Educational Opportunity Program offices.

“There are days where I am way below,” Berkovatz admitted. “I will come home from school and look at my pedometer and realize that I’ve only done 4,000 steps.”

Berkovatz lives only a mile from school and has started to walk instead of taking the light rail to help meet her goals.

“I’m realizing that you don’t have to set it up as an actually activity,” Berowitz said. “You just do it throughout your day, so it’s not that bad.”

According to Wong, the American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps, or five miles, daily in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a lot of work in order to track your steps, but in order to get something out of it, you have to put something into it,” Wong said. “You have to do your part in order to reap the rewards of the benefits the program provides.”

The Walk Across America Challenge continues through Dec. 7. To see the progress of the teams, visit the Walk Across America page.