This post was originally published on the Fitbit press site. It has been adapted from its original format.
Fitbit, the global leader in the connected health and fitness market, today announced the launch of the Step It Up! Challenge with special guest U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy – a two-week step challenge that encourages people of all ages, abilities and physical fitness levels to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. The Challenge is designed to get communities across America moving more, using the power of friendly competition as motivation. People can sign up starting October 5, 2016 at www.StepItUpUSA.org using their Fitbit tracker or the Fitbit app to have their steps automatically count toward the challenge, or can sign in with a Google or Facebook account and manually input their steps or distance traveled throughout the challenge. Participants can compete in teams with friends, family, or co-workers, as well as with some of the country’s leading athletes, fitness professionals and Fitbit Ambassadors. The challenge will run from October 13-26.
By issuing the Step It Up! Challenge, Fitbit is taking action to encourage physical activity, which has been linked to helping combat high rates of chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, more than one in three adults worldwide is overweight, and cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death. Robust scientific evidence shows that physical activity is critical for both preventing and treating many of the chronic conditions we face today, and walking is one simple, yet impactful way people can improve their fitness level.
“We know that an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Murthy. “The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation. The Step It Up! Challenge is a great way to kick start this effort, increase activity and motivate friends and family to do the same with friendly competition.”
As the pioneer and leader of the connected health and fitness category, Fitbit combines the power of technology with insights to help people see how small changes can add up to big results, motivating millions of users to achieve their health and fitness goals, both individually and within the community of Fitbit users. The Step It Up! Challenge taps into the power of the Fitbit brand and its millions of users to create a movement and inspire people across the country to take a more proactive role in their health.
“At Fitbit, we’ve seen firsthand how friendly competition can help motivate people to reach their fitness goals,” said Woody Scal, Chief Business Officer at Fitbit. “We share Surgeon General Murthy’s mission to get America moving and, with the Step It Up! Challenge, aim to fuel his Call to Action by helping people take small steps to combat inactivity linked with the rise of chronic diseases and to live a healthy, active lifestyle.”
In 2015, Surgeon General Murthy introduced his Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities to make walking and walkable communities a priority and create a culture that encourages physical activity for all ages and abilities. Surgeon General Murthy stressed that walking is a small step that can make a big impact in preventing chronic disease. By creating additional awareness and inspiring people to increase their activity, the Step It Up! Challenge creates a fun and easy way to get moving and track your progress while showing that small steps can have a big impact.
Some of the country’s leading athletes, fitness professionals and Fitbit Ambassadors have already committed to joining the Challenge, including dancer, actress and singer Julianne Hough, ultra-marathon legend Dean Karnazes, former pro volleyball player and XPT co-creator Gabby Reece, celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak, former professional road cyclist Jens Voigt, and premier distance runners husband and wife duo Sara and Ryan Hall. Upon signing up, participants can search for the names of these individuals to join their teams and track their progress along the way. Even if participants don’t sign up for an individual team, they can still follow along with their favorite teams throughout the Challenge.
Anyone in the U.S. with a Fitbit tracker or Fitbit’s free app can go to www.StepItUpUSA.org to sign-up and opt-in to the two-week Challenge and their stats will automatically be logged. Those who do not have a Fitbit device can sign up with their Google or Facebook account and manually enter their stats. The challenge will include both steps and distance, allowing those in wheelchairs to participate in the challenge. Once signed up, individuals can participate on their own and see how their steps stack up against the Surgeon General’s, or join or create a team of their own and compete against friends and family.
For more information about the Step It Up! Challenge, visit www.StepItUpUSA.org.