Henry Marsh walks to most of his destinations on the Volker campus.

Henry Marsh is Steppin' Out

Getting healthy, staying step at a time

The math is easy.

One mile equals approximately 2,500 steps. If you walk from Volker Campus to Hospital Hill, you’ll travel about four miles – or about 10,000 steps. 

By those calculations, Henry Marsh, Transportation Supervisor in UMKC’s Campus Facilities Management, has traveled from Kansas City to Washington D.C. by foot.

Since 2008, Marsh has participated in the Million-Step Pedometer Program offered by UM system-wide Healthy for Life: the T.E. Atkins UM Wellness Program. As of March 24, 2010, he had chalked up 2,748,320 steps.

Healthy for Life – available to all UMKC faculty and staff – offers a variety of free or low cost, take-charge-of-your-health programs and resources.

UMKC’s Million-Step Program encourages you to challenge yourself by increasing your daily activity. When you sign up, you receive a pedometer for $15–a cost that is recouped when you complete the program. Million-steppers also receive a tee-shirt and a certificate. There are no time limits; you go at your own pace. Family members, including children, are welcome to enroll.

Marsh joined the Pedometer program because it was an easy way to exercise.

“I enjoy walking,” he said. “When the weather is nice at work I usually get outside during the mid-day. On Volker campus, I’ll walk to most of my destinations. During the weekends, the steps add up pretty quick from various activities – like cutting grass using a walk behind mower.” 

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy Programs

Healthy for Life also offers the Ride to Wellness Odometer Program. Participants purchase a $20 pedometer and receive a full refund when they ride 500 miles on a bicycle or stationary bike. (If you already own a pedometer, you can join for free.) Additional prizes are available for every 500 miles, up to 2,500 miles. 

Other Healthy for Life programs include Weight Watchers at Work, Tobacco Cessation, Mindfullness-Based Stress Reduction, Walking Groups and Trails and Eat for Life. You can learn more about the Wellness Programs by subscribing to the Healthy for Life Monthly Newsletter, becoming a Wellness Ambassador,and inviting a Healthy for Life representative to give a 10-minute presentation at your next staff meeting.

By getting and staying healthy, you not only boost your health, you also boost your bank account. Recent studies conducted on programs like UMKC’s Healthy for Life showed that workplace wellness programs produce a cost savings of $3.37 for each one dollar spent on the program. (Baicker, Cutler, & Song, 2010, Health Affairs) In addition, the studies indicated that sick leave is lower among wellness participants as compared to nonparticipants. 

Steppin’ Out – Advice on Getting Started

In case you’re thinking about steppin’ out, Marsh has some words of encouragement.

“The 10,000 steps a day might seem pretty intimidating, but it is doable. It took me 99 days to reach the first million-step goal. Trying to hit 10,000 steps your first day might make you pretty sore and you’ll get discouraged. A lot of days you won’t even get close to that goal, and then the next day you might walk 11,000 steps.”

To find out more about Healthy for Life programs or to sign up for one of them, contact Laurie Goldstein, UMKC’s Program Manager:, 816-235-6418.

Posted: May 24, 2010

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Tips to get in more steps:

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Take a walk for half of your lunch break
• Take a stroll around your neighborhood before or after work
• Get away from the TV, play with your kids outdoors
• Walk a lap in the grocery before shopping
• Park farther away from the door at your destination
• Get a walking partner
• Join the Million Step Pedometer Program

By 10:30 a.m., Henry Marsh has logged nearly 7,000 steps.