During the hot summer months and lifestyle changes from COVID-19 impacts, many employees struggle to find the extra motivational nudge to exercise.

Recreational Sports has created that nudge with an employee movement club. Using a free app called Strava, employees record their workouts and cheer for each other along the way.

Along with the kudos that participants are giving each other, Rec Sports has started posting various weekly challenges with creative incentives to motivate everyone to move more.

"Having some accountability and potential reward is the kind of thing that works for me,” said Trevor Hughes, senior auditor in the Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance. He joined the group in early June and has been posting his workouts regularly since then.

People on kayaks
Deborah Good, an associate professor for Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, worked some family time into her exercise routine while kayaking at Claytor Lake. She took this photo of her sister and niece and posted it to the Strava app.

“I received an email and thought it would be a good way to keep motivated. It’s been fun to do the challenges each week,” said Sarah Bechtel, an academic advisor from the School of Neuroscience.

Each week, local businesses such as Sub Station II and East Coasters Bike Shop provide gift cards as incentives for participants who complete weekly challenges. For instance, one week’s challenge encouraged members to meet the expert-recommended 150 minutes of moderate movement. That week, the majority of the club successfully met the goal. Overall, the club moved for a total of 22,860 combined minutes.

"This club and app have motivated me to start moving again," said Teresa McCoy, program coordinator for the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs. "COVID-19 has made me not want to get out, and seeing other's posts has really helped."

McCoy isn’t alone, many users have reached out to Rec Sports expressing their gratitude for the motivation they’ve been missing in their lives lately.

"This is just what I needed to get motivated. I’m looking forward to using the app and being part of this program," said Tracy Drowne, an academic advisor in the School of Visual Arts.

“I am so pleased with how the club has been working since it began," said Kelly McPherson, events coordinator for Rec Sports. "The goals were to get members moving and keep them moving while building a sense of community among users. We have some very skilled athletes joining us on Strava along with employees that haven’t necessarily been active on a regular basis. I believe that new and seasoned participants alike are enjoying the variety, incentive, and community piece that comes with being a part of the Employee Movement Club. We hope to continue to keep challenges fresh and fun all summer long.”

Employees can still join in and participate by completing this form to be contacted with instructions via email.

Rec Sports plans to extend the club beyond summer and gauge the pulse of members to shape it to their needs.

“Catering our services to affinity groups like employees has allowed us to engage more Hokies at a higher level with customized programs that they enjoy,” said Marketing Manager Will Trent. “Rec Sports is here to educate our community that ‘moving more matters.’ That will never change.”