Step It Up

Step it Up is underway! This year’s challenge runs Nov. 5 through Dec. 10.

Registration is still open! Sign up today at Read more about the challenge below.

Miss our newsletters? Read them here:
Day 1 Newsletter
Week 2 Newsletter
Week 3 Newsletter
Week 4 Newsletter

Step it Up digital sign

Recruitment Challenge:
Already enrolled in the challenge? Get others to join and you’ll win a free salad container (perfect for bringing healthy lunches to work!) To participate, do at least one of the following:
• Email at least 5 colleagues inviting them to participate in the challenge (view sample email text here). CC .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on this email to get credit.
• Post a flyer in your break room and send a picture to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
• Make an announcement about the challenge in a department meeting or newsletter. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to share what you did

Please note: In your email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), please include your campus box number to send your salad container to. (If you are a student and/or do not have a campus box number, you’ll need to pick it up in person at Parnassus).
Salad containers available while supplies last. These will be sent out twice a month, so it may take a couple of weeks for you to receive yours.

Get $30 off a 10-Visit Fitness Center Pass
Save when you visit the fitness centers at UCSF Mission Bay and Parnassus. State-of-the-art cardio and weight machines, pools, group fitness classes, basketball, and more help you reach your fitness goals. Visit the UCSF Fitness & Recreation website for details.

More details

The Challenge Goal

During the challenge, you’ll earn points to reach a weekly and overall challenge goal:
      200 points per week
      1000 points total

You can earn points in a few ways: through walking and physical activity, expressing gratitude and recognizing your fellow colleagues, and by tracking and maintaining your weight during the challenge (you can choose if you want track your weight – this is optional).

      Every week you earn 200 points, you’ll be entered in the prize drawings for one of TEN $10 gift cards. At the end of the challenge, we’ll do a grand prize drawing to choose three winning individuals and one winning team for larger gift card prizes.
      Our prizes are always distributed through prize drawings, so it’s not the person with the most points who will win. Everyone who meets the points goal will have an equal opportunity to win.

How to Earn Step it Up Points

Moderate physical activity: 0.75 point for every minute
Vigorous physical activity: 1 point for every minute
Walking: 3 points for every 1,000 steps
Gratitude Journal: 1 point for every day you journal
UCSF Recognize: 1 point for every recognition sent on UCSF Recognize
Bonus Points:  You have the option of tracking your weight before, during and after the challenge. If you maintain your weight during the challenge, you’ll get 50 bonus points.

Your goal is 200 points a week, and 1000 points total over the 5-week challenge. Reaching these goals will make you eligible for the weekly and grand prize drawings.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Challenge

Why does UCSF offer a wellness challenge?
The UCSF faculty/staff wellness program is dedicated to making UCSF an ideal place to work. We’re trying to create a culture where taking time for your health and wellness is accepted and celebrated. Step it Up is a way to make UCSF healthier, more social, and more fun!

New this year: students can participate too!

Will my information be kept private?

All your information is completely confidential. It is kept separate from any other information at UCSF and is only used for the Step it Up challenge. We will never share any information from Step it Up with anyone, inside or outside of UCSF, unless the data has been carefully processed to remove all identifying or potentially identifying information.

Gratitude and Recognition

What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is a quick, simple way to practice gratitude. Every day, jot down three things you are grateful for. They can be small things, like blossoming flowers you noticed on your commute, or the delicious latte you had in the morning, or larger things like your health or loved ones.

Want more information about gratitude journals? UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center has some great tips!

Where do I keep my gratitude journal?
That’s up to you. You can write your gratitude journal entries in a notebook, Word doc, app, or wherever works for you. We don’t need to see your entries for you to get points for keeping your journal; you’ll just check that you completed your gratitude journal entry that day and you’ll get your point.

How do I recognize my colleagues?
We added another element of gratitude into this year’s challenge – gratitude for your colleagues that help you to do great work. UCSF Recognize is a platform for recognition across UCSF, so you can recognize a colleague in your department or across the organization. There are two ways to use UCSF Recognize – by logging into or by CCing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on a note of appreciation you send to your colleague. Note that UCSF Recognize is public, so with either of these methods please do not include protected health information or confidential information of any type.

Students don’t have access to recognize, but can recognize others with these downloadable thank you cards.

When you recognize a colleague, you’ll check the box on the challenge site that you did so. You’re limited to getting challenge points for ten Recognize recognitions during the course of the challenge.

Tracking Physical Activity

How can I track my steps or physical activity?

You can track your physical activity for Step it Up challenges in a few ways:
Pedometer: This device counts steps. If you have one from a previous challenge, you can use it, or you can purchase one for less than $5. (We aren’t giving out pedometers this year in an effort to avoid plastic waste).
Activity Tracker: There are many popular activity trackers that will count your steps, as well as track your calorie expenditures and sleep. You can link your Fitbit or Apple Watch directly to the challenge site. Learn more here.
Health App: There are many free health applications that you can download to your phone that will track your activity. If you have an iphone, you can use the Health app, which comes with your phone (you can then link the Health app right to the challenge site). Other free apps include Argus and Runtastic Pedometer (though there are many others!).
Challenge App: When participating in Step it Up, you can download the app for our challenge software platform that will automatically import your activity into the challenge. This app is called “Extracon Health Tracker” and you can enter all of your challenge entries on the app rather than going to It also has a built-in step tracker. The app is available for Apple or Android devices. To find it, search for “Extracon Health Tracker” in your app store.

What counts as “moderate” vs. “vigorous” activity?
Try to talk while you’re doing the activity. If you’re breathing hard enough that you can talk, but it feels like you couldn’t sing, then it’s moderate activity. If you’re breathing hard enough that it’s difficult to talk, or if you’re sweating hard, then it’s vigorous activity. Remember, it’s all about how the activity is for you.


Can I form a team by myself?
You can start a team by yourself, and invite others to join you. Your team must have at least 3 people on it when the challenge begins. If it doesn’t, then you will be automatically removed from the team and entered as an individual.

How do I join a team?
When you sign up for the challenge, you can search for the team you want to join or look for teams that your friends or co-workers are on. You can also create a new team and ask others to join you!
If you are looking for teammates, or want to join a team that’s looking for more members, check out our Chatter group.

What if I want to register but I don’t know what team I want to join?
Please finish signing up anyway, and join as an individual participant. You can change teams using the “change teams” link anytime before the challenge starts.

How do I change teams?
There is a link to change teams on the left side of the Step it Up website.

How many people can I have on a team?
Your team can have up to 10 people. If you think you’ll have more people, pick a team member who’s willing to become a captain and start a second team.

Have a question that’s not on this list? Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).