By Kevyn Price

Bellarmine University Campus Wellness kicked off the new year with the 2021 Step Challenge on Jan. 11, and it will continue through Feb. 8. 

Campus Wellness encourages Bellarmine University students and staff to be more active in 2021 because it is important for physical health, and exercise helps mental health by reducing anxiety and depression.

 Emily Werner, the associate director of campus wellness, has seen how this challenge helps students during the Covid-19 pandemic. Werner said daily exercise helps with overall well-being and everyone can benefit from this challenge, especially during the pandemic. 

“I want to push the importance of physical activity because it helps with stress,” she said.  “I feel that most of us are experiencing a lot of stress, so any physical activity will help with that stress and our mental health.”

Werner said one of her favorite aspects of this challenge is how easy it is for people to participate. Most people are already walking, but this challenge helps to add in extra steps, she said. 

Bellarmine senior Rachel Gruszecki did the challenge a couple of years ago and decided to sign up again this year to get back into an exercise routine. Gruszecki said she used to go to the Bellarmine University SuRF routinely but stopped after the pandemic to limit in-person workouts. “I was doing at-home exercises, but it wasn’t cutting it for me,” Gruszecki said. 

Another Bellarmine student, Delaney Fuller, also signed up for the challenge for similar reasons to Gruszecki. 2021 is her first year participating in the step challenge, but she said she has already seen some benefits to the challenge. 

“I signed up because I noticed that last semester with the pandemic I didn’t go out and walk around as much as I used to. I saw this challenge on Instagram and thought it was a good way to get me up and moving again,” Fuller said during a telephone interview. Fuller said she has  tripled her steps since she started the challenge.  

One of the best things about this challenge is that it can be done during the pandemic. Werner said this is a great challenge for people who are limiting in-person exercise during this time.

 “You can still be safe and get the physical activity in from walking,” Werner said. She said there are many options to get steps for this challenge and still remaining safe during the pandemic such as social distancing in a park or walking around a neighborhood. 

It is not too late to sign up or get involved with the 2021 Step Challenge. Anyone can participate and benefit from this challenge while continuing to remain safe during the pandemic. The grand prizes for the highest step count for male participants and female participants is a Fitbit. There will also be a few other prizes given through a random drawing of participants’ names. Any Bellarmine student or staff or faculty member can join the challenge by signing up on Engage or by visiting this link:

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