Stepping up to the challenge

Stepping up to the challenge

The Australasian University Health Challenge (AUHC) is bringing together 12 universities from New Zealand and Australia for some friendly, walking related competition—in the hope of encouraging small behavioural changes by simply increasing your daily step count.

Bachelor of Science student, Ella Mitchell, shares her motivation for stepping up to the challenge.

Research shows that during university and after graduation, humans tend to adapt to a sedentary lifestyle—we all know about the ‘Freshers 5kg’ concept…! Basically, it’s now almost expected that in our first year we gain over five kilograms because of our lifestyle changing—moving less and making not so healthy food and drink choices.

Being the over-achiever that I am, I made this my ‘Freshers 25kg’ (which was perhaps not the competition to aim for a gold medal in), but in this challenge I’m aiming for gold and encourage everyone reading this to join me.

I’m Ella, a twenty-year-old Bachelor of Science student, born in England but raised in New Zealand. I speak Italian, play the guitar, and pledge my loyalty to Victoria Recreation. I frequent the Zumba classes and have now started giving weight training a go—and I’m loving it. My most recent venture was when Zumba developed a new programme called Strong which is a choreographed HIIT workout split into four quadrants and synced to specially produced music (you should come!). Like I said, I’m an over-achiever, so just attending the class wasn’t enough and I trained to be an instructor, which turned out to be the best decision I could’ve made for me and my comfort zone.

Everything improved when I started getting more physically active. I started small: one Zumba class a week, and just increased it as I became more in love with the classes, increased my fitness level, made some friends, and I progressed to where I am now! I never imagined it would progress as much as it has—my original goal was to just lose a little weight. It has drastically changed my life in the most positive way, and I wouldn’t change a thing. This worked for me, but I have friends who prefer walking, running, sports, or getting involved in a club.

The AUHC is a perfect opportunity to monitor what you are doing each day—no matter what path you choose. The main reason I signed up was that it will convert any form of exercise into steps. So, while I don’t wear a pedometer and I spend most of my day sat down studying until I get along to the gym for weights, Zumba or Strong, I can still participate! I can see what my step equivalent is, and I’m able to monitor my progress over six weeks. I wish this was something I did when I first started exercising last year. If you’re not interested in monitoring your measurements, just enter a ‘0’ value into the measurement section and focus on physical activity levels—this really is the most important thing!

This opportunity allows us to monitor progress, be a part of a big, like-minded group, and see just how much we move every day and potentially improve that!

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up online now.

You can join the Victoria University of Wellington team through Victoria Recreation’s Facebook event. Welcome to our team!

Ella Mitchell is in her final year of studying towards a Bachelor of Science, and is a regular at the University gym, Victoria Recreation.

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