Every step you take counts at Huntsville Hospital - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Every step you take counts at Huntsville Hospital

Steppers log their climbs by scanning codes at the beginning and end of their journey. (Source: WAFF) Steppers log their climbs by scanning codes at the beginning and end of their journey. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

How many times have you tried to start an exercise program to try to lose weight or tone up, only to quit?

Huntsville Hospital is encouraging its staff to stay fit with a program designed to track every step taken.

Tracie Fields, a 19-year veteran of the staff, along with some work friends, are meeting a challenge.

"So me and four others made up our team, and we were just doing it - kind of competing against each other within our work area," Fields said. "But as time went on, you're competing as a whole as a hospital and with each other... it started getting real competitive."

Pranteek Patnaik is the Wellness Coordinator for Huntsville Hospital.   

"We are the first health system in the United States to grade our stairs for calorie burn, using a smart science system called StepJockey based out of the U.K," said Patnaik.

MORE: Hospital promotes stair-climbing with new program

He says signs in and around stairwells encourage employees to take the stairs and burn seven times the calories than using an elevator.  

"Just a quick minor adjustment that you can make in your day that can really make a big difference over time," he explained.

Don't think this program is something that's going to keep you busy adding and subtracting in your head. You're even going to have a little bit of help along the way.   

Although you can use paper, Patnaik says a smartphone app is quicker.

"It's an interactive app so that you can just scan the sign when you start walking, and whatever floor you get off on, you scan the sign again and it tracks how many calories you burn and it goes into a total," he said.

The program kicked off with a mountain of a challenge.  

"...To climb and burn the same amount of calories that you would, if you actually climbed Mt. Everest, which is about 70,000 calories," Patnaik said.

Fields quickly noticed a change in herself and her team.  

"I saw that we were losing weight and toning up, and we just wanted to make sure we were doing so many reps a day," she said.

She says they were all losing inches and are still walking to this day.  

 "I have more energy now.  I feel better.  I rest better at night."

The program worked so well, Patnaik says it was like a Mt. Everest round trip.  And there was an extra incentive.  

"This year we introduced a tiered insurance plan for all our employees, to where joining our health and wellness program would actually earn them a health insurance discount."

That new benefit ensures staff at this hospital are toning up their wallets, as well as their health.

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