School employees getting in steps

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Martha Cayton lost about 60 pounds in a little more than a year.

“My New Year’s resolution was to make sure I got 10,000 steps in every day, and I do most days,” said Cayton, a business operations manager and one of nearly 44 Wilson County Schools employees participating in a health initiative using the Fitbit and other step counters to get in shape.

Cayton gets many of her steps walking around her yard, but on inclement weather days, she will walk around a course inside the house.

“You just have to commit,” said Eric Davis, chief operations officer in the office of the superintendent. “Years ago I probably weighed about 252 pounds.”

Davis, who lives in Raleigh and gets up at 4:30 a.m. nearly every day to get his 10,000 steps in before commuting to Wilson to work, has lost as much weight as Cayton.

Amber Lynch, public relations manager for WCS and a co-founder of the fitness initiative, said Davis is inspiring.

“Eric is like out fitness guru,” Lynch said. “No one eats doughnuts in front of him.”

“We actually started this in 2015 when we had this #wcsgetfit initiative where we work with staff members to really focus on living healthier lifestyles,” Davis said.

Aerobics classes, fitness boot camps, 5K runs were all part of the effort.

“We are just creating a culture of fitness because when people feel good about themselves, they will be more positive and more focused on doing a better job for the students,” Davis said.

Then they thought that the new Fitbit technology’s community activity group might create a friendly competition to spur participation.

“It’s growing all the time. We are putting out incentives out each month,” Davis said.

“We have worked it out with a partnership with the YMCA that they are going to give us free monthly memberships for each one of those top five steppers each month, and at the end of the year, we get to put all those names in a hat and the winner gets a free year membership.”

“Before I got a Fitbit, I just figured I walked 10,000 steps a day, and then you don’t realize how much you sit. It was shocking to finds that it was nowhere near that. It really does keep me accountable,” Davis said.

Cayton and Lynch said that they like participating in a group, even though the results are dependent upon individual achievement.

“Seeing what other people are doing and being part of the group, it really does motivate you to meet the challenge each day to step more and walk more,” said Lynch, who said she does an average of about 17,000 steps a day.

“When people feel better about themselves they are more productive at work,” Davis said. “That’s just the whole focus here, and I think it is making a difference.”

Davis said fitness is individual.

“You have to make sure that it’s comfortable for you because if it’s not, you are not going to do it,” Davis said.