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Lincoln University students are walking more than ever as they take on other universities in New Zealand and Australia in a six-week 10,000-steps-per-day competition.
The Australasian University Health Challenge is an annual health-focused initiative aimed at encouraging students and staff to take time out from the world of academia to increase their daily levels of physical activity.
This year 18 universities are participating, all vying for the top spot.
The 64 team members at the university have logged an average of 92,579 steps each since the challenge began on September 6.
It’s a huge improvement on the university’s placing last year, when it came 14th.
That is good news to the Selwyn residents who are among students participating. They have appreciated the extra incentive to get out and about, particularly with Covid alert levels restricting activities.
Rob Gibson of Lincoln said the challenge, which runs to October 17, was helping him reach his personal goal of 10,000 steps each day.
Each day the PhD student, who is studying wilding pines, walks 10min to and from his home to the university. Then he adds on as many extra walking events as he can, including going to the shops and around the university.
He said the more steps he did, the more opportunities he was finding to experience nature and enjoy fresh air and sunshine, as well as talk to friends on his phone while walking.
“All those things aid my well being, and the steps are just an indirect way to assess how much of that I am doing,” Gibson said.
Findal Proebst, of Tai Tapu, said he was getting an average of almost 13,000 steps in each day. This was through a combination of his usual running programme and extra walking he was doing for the challenge.
The Master of Applied Science student said he had encouraged three of his friends to also sign up.
“It’s a really good chance to connect with friends and support them and share enjoyment,” Proebst said.
Master of Applied Science student Lisa Andersson said she has upped her daily step count to about 8000 per day, since finding out about the challenge during the recent lockdown.
“I needed a reason to go out for walks, so it was really good to have that bit of motivation,” Andersson said.
“I like walking, just for my mental health and just getting out in the sun.”
She was doing more walking than usual around her home at Opawa, and also around the university itself, visiting its orchards and vineyard.
“Now I definitely walk to the supermarket instead of driving,” she said.