At the Olympic Games in Atlanta you won't be able to win a medal for walking up stairs instead of riding the elevator. But at this summer's Calympics you might just win a prize for your efforts.
Taking advantage of the Olympic spirit and the natural inclination to exercise during the summertime, Health*Matters is promoting employee health and fitness through a summer-long exercise incentive program dubbed Calympics.
"Given the high level of stress on campus and how well exercise helps manage it, we wanted a program that could help motivate people to exercise," said Trish Ratto, Health*Matters manager.
Ratto described the program as "self-challenging. You set your Calympics goal and go for it. If what you do is set a personal goal to take the stairs more often, that's OK. We especially want to reach employees who are not currently active. Hopefully, this will provide a little incentive."
Essentially, faculty and staff who want to participate will fill out a registration form and return it to Health*Matters. You'll receive a "BearTracks" exercise planner to track your progress all summer. Health*Matters will stay in touch to offer encouragement.
"We are giving everyone a number of tools to help them reach their goals," said Ratto, who noted that an excellent way to start is with a walking program.
"You may decide to walk to your meetings. Or give yourself a goal of joining campus's noontime walking team that meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday in front of the Campanile. People should be realistic based on their level of fitness," she said.
Those who return a complete BearTracks form by Aug. 15 will be eligible for a drawing for dozens of prizes.
"Everyone will get a gold medal certificate and their names will go into the drawing. The campus's HMOs and our own departments have been very supportive," said Ratto.
PacifiCare is donating a Specialized Cross-Roads Mountain Bike, FHP/TakeCare is supplying five $100 cash prizes and Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports donated many prizes, including a Cal Rec Club membership for one semester.
Other prizes range from a subscription to Berkeley's highly acclaimed Wellness Letter to a one-hour massage to a total fitness evaluation.
To kick off the program, an opening ceremony will be held June 6 at the Edwards Track from noon to 1:30 p.m. and again from 4 to 5 p.m.
There will be a fitness screening based on walking a mile on the track. "This will help those who want some sense of where they are and to see at the end of the summer what they've accomplished by sticking to an exercise plan," said Ratto.
Included in the program will be a shoe clinic to help people learn the best kind of shoes for their activity.
Then throughout the summer, Health*Matters will offer noontime informational talks at the Tang Center. On June 13, Cindy Chang, physician for Cal sports teams, will talk about sports injury prevention.
On July 16, there will a fitness walking clinic to show how to turn walking into a workout. And on Aug. 14, a motivation presentation will provide tips on how not to burn out on exercise.
Finally, on Aug. 22 at the Faculty Glade, a closing ceremony that is expected to feature Cal's Olympic athletes who will draw names for the prizes.
Calympics registration forms are arriving in campus mail this week and are also available online on Infocal under the UHS menu or by calling 643-4646. Late comers may also register at the opening ceremony and at Staff Appreciation Day June 14.