APU Launches 2018 Summer Fitness Challenge

by Micaela Ricaforte '20

Summer is all about having fun, and whether it’s running, swimming, hiking, or cycling, there are plenty of ways to stay active this season. That’s why on Monday, June 18, Azusa Pacific will launch its fourth annual Summer Fitness Challenge for full-time faculty and staff.

The Office of Human Resources, the Department of Applied Exercise Science, and APU’s Wellness Council will once again partner with Olympic gold and silver medalist Bryan Clay ’03, creator of PK Fitness for this eight-week program.

This workplace wellness initiative challenges employees to engage in workouts and in friendly competition with their coworkers for weekly prizes and one grand prize. Participants must commit to exercising at least 30 minutes, three times a week, using whatever exercise method they prefer. This year, employees also have the opportunity to compete in teams based on their department.

This year’s fitness challenge is the fourth hosted by APU and PK Fitness. Staff and faculty can choose from 112 workouts on the PK Fitness platform. Last year’s challenge saw 232 registered participants who completed a total of 248,472 minutes of exercise.

Holly Magnuson, technology training coordinator, won a large gift basket prize last summer. “With my slightly competitive nature, the PK Fitness challenges motivated me to try and beat other co-workers in workout minutes. This pushed me to do more and more,” Magnuson said. “I enjoyed not only exercising, but encouraging and being encouraged by co-workers across campus. It's a great way to keep focused on my health goals. I'm looking forward to once again participating in the Summertime Fitness Challenge here at APU.”

Aracely Diez, human resources specialist, pointed out that research shows physical exercise boosts productivity and unity in the workplace. “Encouraging employees to exercise together, hold each other accountable, and have fun in the process can improve work relationships and promote better teamwork,” Diez said. “Regular exercise can also increase energy, improve mental health, and reduce certain illnesses.”

Faculty and staff will use the PK Fitness’ smartphone application, the effort-based workout tracker, where users can set goals, track exercise, and encourage each other via the social media segment.

According to Clay, effort is the missing link to sustained fitness success. “The key is to give employees the motivation to start making an effort,” he said. “The Summer Fitness Challenge gives participants the incentive and encouragement. PK Fitness is the ideal platform for corporate wellness programs because it creates community across all fitness levels and activity types.”

Diez said this challenge can jump start a healthier lifestyle, and APU has additional programs in place to support these goals. “The Wellness Council holds other events and programs throughout the year such as Weight Watchers, yoga and fitness classes, and a kickball tournament to keep the momentum going,” she said.

Perhaps the ultimate motivation, however, is the grand prize: a $1,500 beach vacation. The winner of APU's Fitness Challenge will look and feel fit while enjoying their well-earned getaway. Are you ready for the challenge?

To register for the 2018 Summer Fitness Challenge, visit https://www.pkchallenges.com/apu.

Micaela Ricaforte is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a double major in journalism and honors humanities.