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Our staff members are definitely one step ahead of their competitors. This became clear when the NWU came out on top in the 2019 Step Challenge, defeating the other participating universities.

NWU employees were crowned the champions of this year’s “Healthy4Health” Pedometer Challenge in which various universities competed against each other to log the most steps over an eight-week period. From left are Louwna Kotze, Tamrin Veldsman, Corene Flemming, Santa van der Merwe, PD van Zyl and Antoinette Vosloo.

The University of the Free State issued the challenge to the NWU and other South African universities.


Some 42 teams from all three campuses of the NWU entered, together with the likes of Kovsies, Maties, UCT and Tuks.


A total of 160 teams, consisting of four members each, competed against each other to determine the institution that collectively recorded the most steps of all.


Stepping up


This challenge was designed to get employees more physically active and, ultimately, to improve their health.


“The advantages of regular physical activity include a reduced risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and stress,” says Prof Hanlie Moss, research director of the research focus area Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec). She accepted the challenge on behalf of the NWU and invited all staff to participate.


“We even managed to enter a PhASRec team consisting of our extraordinary researchers based in Finland, Poland, Australia and Cape Town respectively. The aim was to log as many kilometres as possible,” Hanlie adds.


Staying one step ahead


At the end of the eight-week challenge, the NWU had logged the most steps and was crowned as this year’s university with the fittest walking/running  staff members.


The NWU staff members managed to run or walk a total distance of 65 484,8 km, followed by Kovsies’s 59 032,3 km and Maties’s 51 814,9 km.


The winning teams of each university received four R500 vouchers from challenge sponsor Bestmed.


According to the Kovsies wellness coordinator, Arina Engelbrecht, they are already in full swing preparing for the next challenge that started on 30 September 2019 and will continue until 25 November 2019.




How to get involved


It’s great fun, and it’s easy to organise:


  • A team consists of four employees. A team captain is chosen by the members.
  • The role of team captains is to motivate their teams weekly and log their distances.
  • It is an eight-week challenge that encourages participants to be more active.
  • The next challenge commenced on 30 September 2019.
  • Participants may log more than one activity per day. They may for instance run, work out in a gym, cycle and log steps, earning points for each activity logged.
  • To log the workouts, the participants need a smart phone or sports watch.
  • The total points after each week are calculated towards a team goal.
  • At the end of the eight weeks, the total number of kilometres and workouts logged through running/walking, cycling or gym workouts are tallied.


For more information about the new challenge, please contact Prof Hanlie Moss or the following staff members at the NWU Wellness office: Kehumile Katametsi at 018 389 2336 or Genevieve Poodhun at 016 910 3295.