Boomers Step Up to the Challenge

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By DoD DeCA

DeCA HQ Walk

We created a successful physical activity promotion during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May 2009. Employees of the Defense Commissary Agency were on the move from May through July 2009 with more than 4,800 people being physically active in the President’s Challenge.

With as many as 60 percent of DeCA employees being baby boomers, they were encouraged to commit to being physically active for at least five days each week, over a period of several months. Implementing the President’s Challenge provided the opportunity to make physical activity a real part of peoples everyday lives along with a way to track participation across the world.

Here are some tips we used to help us implement the President’s Challenge:

  1. In DeCA, we found that approaching our director, who has a degree in physical education and is a strong physical fitness advocate, created a great opportunity for the support we needed. It really helped getting buy-in from the top down.
  2. Create a competition between sections or regions in your organization. Most people enjoy being part of a team and competing to achieve a goal. In DeCA, each region assigned team captains to garner participation and track data at www.presidentchallenge.org. Employees love talking about their activities and encouraging each other to keep going.
  3. Throughout the challenge and at the end, share examples of events and activities that both teams and individuals can do to make it enjoyable and real for people. Some things we did included walk-run events and walking groups at lunchtime and breaks with many of DeCA’s employees participating in fitness classes at military installation recreation facilities.
  4. Share the success of accomplishment through incentives and media promotion. Our people shared how much they enjoyed the activity along with having more motivation to continue being active beyond the challenge. This was such a successful program for our employees that DeCA will participate in the Challenge again this year.
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