We are organizing a major online walkathon in which teams compete to get fit and raise money, called the Walk for Good. The mission of the Walk for Good is to create a fun and engaging way for participants to start and stick with a daily walking program while helping other to stay motivated and to raise funds for charity. Our charity partner, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, aims to support all injured service members with a special emphasis on the Hidden Injuries of War – Traumatic Brain Injury and Combat Stress.

 

If you’re looking to find the motivation to help yourself and others improve their health and wellness there are a host of ways to participate.

 

Become an Event Sponsor – If you run an organization that desires to align with the powerful message of empowering community-minded people to get healthy and help others, we provide an event for daily engagement over extended two month period.

 

Become a Team Sponsor – Team sponsors support 5 person teams by covering the registration fees for teams. Team sponsorship is a great way to help your employees, customers, friends or family participate in an uplifting, team-building event.

 

Become a Team Captain – Team captains recruit and organize 5 person teams. Encourage your friends or co-workers to make the strides for themselves and others to a healthier lifestyle. Reconnect with old friends or make new ones while supporting an important cause.

 

Join a Team – Take action to help yourself and support the men and women of our armed forces that need your help. Stay motivated to stick with your health and wellness goals and reap the benefits of creating a habit of daily physical activity.

 

Become a Donor – Support your friends and co-workers to complete the 6000 mile journey across Asia along the Silk Road. Your support not only keeps them motivated, but provides needed funds to ensure our troops return to a home front that can support their unique needs,

 

Be a Cheerleader – Support your friends and our cause by providing encouragement and support as they move along the route and raise money. Share their accomplishments and spread the word of their involvement. Help spread the awareness of the important activities of our charity partners.

Are you ready for healthy competition? Investment Bankers versus Venture Capitalists? Lawyers versus Accountants? Corporations versus Start-ups?  Make a huge difference in 60 days for yourself, your employees and for thousands of our nation’s injured service members by participating in The Walk for Good!

 

Mambo Health Gaming,  a new venture promoting healthy living through social gaming has created MamboWalk,  an online team walking challenge that provides the incentive to start and stick with a daily walking program.

 

This September we are organizing a corporate walkathon called Walk for Good in which teams compete in a virtual walk across Asia following the famous Silk Road using the MamboWalk technology. Participants track and record their daily step count over a two month period, earning points for prizes and getting fit along the way.

 

As an added incentive to keep people engaged, we’re raising money for The Bob Woodruff Foundation (www.remind.org), a national nonprofit that helps ensure our nation’s injured service members, veterans and their families return to a homefront ready to support them.

 

My goal is to bring the business community together in a fun and competitive event to get healthy and raise funds for a worthy cause, while highlighting the benefits of the MamboWalk program for improving participant engagement.

 

There are a number of ways you can help make this event a success as a sponsor, team captain or a participant. Learn more at Walk for Good.

 

 

To determine what happens when healthy, active people cut back on their physical activity, researchers at the University of Missouri asked study participants to cut their level of activity to below 5000 steps per day. The results will surprise you. Check out this report.

Walk for Good Summary

The Walk for Good (“WFG”) is a fundraising walkathon designed to promote and encourage participants to increase their level of daily physical activity. The event is being organized and hosted by MamboWalk, an online social networking health game. In contrast to real world walkathons, WFG is a pedometer based team challenge that takes place over an extended 60 day period. Event participants join five person teams, track and log their daily step count on the WFG website and progress along the historic Silk Road across Asia. WFG encourages positive health behavior change through consistent engagement, mutual support, points, friendly competition and, most importantly, a team approach to supporting a charity.

How it Works

The Walk for Good is a walkathon that not only raises money for charity but helps participants make huge strides for their health. It is a team walking competition consisting of teams of 5 people in a 6000 mile race across Asia from Venice to China along the famous Silk Road. Each team is led by a team captain who is responsible for creating the team and recruiting its members. Team members track and monitor their daily step count using pedometers and record their steps on the Walk for Good website. Users gain points for logging in, steps walked and putting together streaks of consecutive days of activity. Teams will race along the Silk Road and their progress will be plotted on the course map. Teams will be eligible for prizes throughout the event and bonus points will be awarded for passing waypoints along the way. Total points will determine team rankings.

As an added incentive to be motivated and to help raise funds for charity, users will invite donors to be a part of the event. Your donors will be able to contribute to your team’s success and to cheer you on. Every dollar raised by your teammates will earn points for your team.

At the end of the event, we’ll have a celebration honoring all participants!

The Route

This year’s challenge is a race across the famous Silk Road, one the ancient world’s most important trade routes. As team move along the route, participants will learn about its varied history, geography and culture.

Benefits of Walking

Starting a walking program of just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in a person’s health and well-being. Various health organizations recommend a daily goal of 10,000 steps, but the average American walks only about 3,500 to 5,000 a day and most people overestimate their daily step activity. Increasing physical activity through walking can positively impact a number of health issues.

• Areas of improvement from walking
 Diabetes
 Dementia and Alzheimer’s
 Anxiety
 Depression
 Fatigue
 High blood pressure
 Heart disease
 Knee arthritis
 Weight loss

Despite the overwhelming health advantages of a regular daily walking program millions of people fail to achieve even half of the recommended number daily steps. The reasons we fall short of the guidelines are numerous. Some people may not realize the benefits of such a simple program or they may not realize their actual level of activity. Others may not have the time or not make exercise a high priority. Others may find it boring or difficult to find the incentive to make the effort. They may not see the benefit quickly enough or they may not receive positive encouragement and feedback to start and stick with a program.

MamboWalk – A fun and engaging walking program

MamboWalk makes a walking program more enjoyable and motivating. First, Mambowalk is based on increasing awareness though tracking and goal setting. Second, we are a team based program and teammates provide support and encouragement. Friendly competition allows for accountability to your teammates. Third, our point system and visual progression along a route provide daily feedback and rewards consistency. Movement along a virtual route allows the opportunity to learn about new places and culture, taking participants on a journey of discovery. Fourth, the duration of the event creates the opportunity to build sustainable habits and opportunities for engagement and education. Finally, the power of taking actions to help others can be a powerful motivator. As we’ve seen in traditional walk/run charity events, people can accomplish more than they ever imagined when setting their goals for a charitable cause.

What’s the Cost?

The Walk for Good is primarily a corporate wellness challenge with registration fees paid for by employers or team sponsors. Registration fees will cover all costs associated with organizing and running the event, web development expenses and recruitment of participants. All money raised by participants as donations will go to charity partners.

WFG will start on September 3, 2012. The Registration Period will open on July 1, 2012 and will stay open until the start of the race. There will be a registration fee of $500 per team. All team participants will receive a pedometer, water bottle, t-shirt, tote bag and a copy of the MamboWalk Complete Guide to Fitness Walking. Throughout the event, participants will receive the MamboWalk newsletter providing event news, health and wellness tips and special offers. All active participants will be eligible for cool awards and prizes during the event and will be invited to attend the final Walk for Good gala celebration in Boston!

Getting Started

Event Registration opens on July 1, 2012 and will remain open until August 20, 2012, two weeks before the start of the Race. During Registration Period Team Captains will register their teams on the Walk for Good site and invite teammates to join. All team members will become members of the Walk for Good site prior to the start of the race. Team members will be able to participate in Training along with their teammates during the registration period by logging their steps and earning points. Only points earned after the starting day will count towards the race results however.

To learn more and to stay up to date on all Walk for Good developments please visit http://www.walkforgood.org.

My avg. daily fitbit #fitstats for last week: 2,205 steps and 1.6 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/22BFFB

A simple walking program can do more for your physical and emotional health than you ever imagined, including fighting depression. Here Bob Sallis, MD makes a great case for walking.

It’s hot, but we still want to walk. There are many steps you can take to avoid heat stroke.

Water

20 minutes prior to your walk you should drink 16 to 20 oz. of water. You should carry and drink about the same amount during your walk. When you finish walking, drink water again. Don’t rely on thirst to tell you when to drink; it’s not always an adequate guide to your body’s need for fluid.

Go Slow

Another important preventive measure is to slow down your pace and intensity when the temperature is high, especially during the first few days of a hot spell. By walking for a shorter time at a lower intensity early on, you’ll give your body a chance to adjust its cooling mechanism to the heat.

Mornings and Evenings

During hot weather, you should schedule your walking workouts for the coolest part of the day — early morning or evening. Avoid walking late in the morning or during the afternoon when the sun’s rays are most powerful.

Find Cover

Plan to walk in shaded areas, such as parks, forest preserves, and tree-lined streets. If there’s a breeze, walk with the breeze at your back during the first half of your walk. Then, for the second half of your workout, when you’re hot and sweaty, walk into the breeze.

Dress for Success

Proper clothing can also help you beat the heat. In hot, humid weather, wear as little as you can. Choose breathable fabrics that will allow your sweat to evaporate. Invest in fabrics that wick your perspiration.

Don’t dress to increase sweating, ,it’s a misperception that the more you sweat, the faster you’ll slim down: You’ll promptly regain that lost weight as soon as you rush to the water fountain.

Top it Off

When you dress for hot, sunny weather, don’t forget to cover your head. The head is the first part of the body struck by the powerful rays of the sun. By protecting your head, you can help control your body temperature when you walk.

Screen the Sun

To protect your skin from the sun’s burning rays and help ward off skin cancer, be sure to apply a strong sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin. Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. You may even want to try a waterproof sunscreen, since you’ll be sweating quite a bit.

Know When to Say When

Perhaps your most important protection against heat illness is knowing when to slow down and when to get inside. Regardless of your physical condition, you need to take into account more than the temperature of the air.

Mark Zuckerburg likes to take walks with people to get to know them better and to conduct business. See the linked article. But what he is doing is nothing new. Aristotle was said to walk with his students as he taught. The Japanese discovered decades ago that it was to the businesses advantage and the workers advantage to stretch and do calisthenics together in the mornings before settling into the workday. And perhaps with the right rewards, like those offered by MamboWalk.com, we can create more productive meetings and a healthier team.

9 Reasons To Take a Walking Meeting

1. Physical activity energizes people and makes them more alert.

2. Different environments can inspire new ideas and stimulate creativity.

3. Time outdoors, in nature, with fresh air and light, improves physical and mental well-being.

4. Walking and talking side by side cuts through hierarchical work distinctions and sets people at ease, which enhances a positive working spirit.

5. Walking burns calories, stimulates oxygen flow around the body that increases brain function that increases the ability to solve problems faster.

6. Walking and moving allow the mind to become more flexible and can help stimulate the right side of the brain.

7. Being outdoors can increase confidentiality that can allow colleagues to work privately with out interruptions.

8. Engaging the mind and body is a more holistic way to work.

9. It saves office resources when there are fewer machines running which makes the workplace more sustainable and green.

How to run a working meeting:

1. Organize everything you’ll need for the meeting beforehand and include an agenda.

2. With everyone’s permission consider taping the meeting with a recorder that can be synced to a computer.

3. Make sure everyone gets the memo about wearing comfortable shoes.

4. Consider the walking meeting for early in the workday to set the tone for the day and/or late in the afternoon when colleague’s energies are spent.

5. Figure out how long the walking meeting should be with a consideration of the workers fitness levels.

6. Check the weather and provide a few umbrellas so the weather doesn’t become a barrier to conducting the meeting outside.

7. While walking meetings are well suited for small groups, with some committee planning, meetings can accommodate larger groups.

8. Natural settings such as parks or trails work best, but urban settings with sidewalks can be stimulating and convenient. Avoid noisy roads that are distracting and dangerous.

The walking meeting can break up a workday, help people stay fit, and make for a more joyful working community. Ready to walk the walk with a walking meeting?

TLS

If you are doing a charity walkathon through social media with friends from all over the place, what’s stopping you from walking in some of the most beautiful places in the world. You and your friends can monitor your steps and choose exotic places all over the world to meet and encourage one another virtually.

One such place could be the Skikoku Pilgrimage in Japan. You could support a cause like Japanese Tsunami relief while visiting some of the treasures of Japan itself.

(Please credit Walkopedia.net and Nils Wetterlind’s for the details below.)

INTRODUCTION

The Shikoku pilgrimage was founded by Kōbō-Daishi (Kukai), 774 – 835AD, who was the founder of the Shingong arm of Buddhism. It circles the whole of Shikoku, the smallest and least developed of the four main Japanese islands, for some 1200 kilometres in all.

There are 88 temples along the route, most of which were visited or founded by Kobo-Daishi himself. There are four main ‘clusters’ of temples; clockwise, from north, in Sanuki Province, Awa Province (where I was), Tosa and Ehime. Each cluster will take you about a week on foot. Most non-pilgrims tend to focus on one or other of the clusters. The rest of the temples are mainly scattered, few and far between, on the south and west coast.

This is an extremely important pilgrimage for Japanese Buddhists and, although a lot of people nowadays travel by bus or car, walking (or as I did, bicycling) is getting more popular again in recent years. It is a pilgrimage full of ancient rituals, lots of interesting trivia, and is deeply rewarding on all levels.

THE PILGRIMAGE

BEGINNING
You start the pilgrimage not on Shikoku island, but on Mt Koyasan, south of Osaka. Kukai built a series of temples here, and is now ‘resting in eternal meditation’, as they rather elegantly put it: the senior monks bring him food and drink every day. You go from Osaka Namaeki station on a rickety and increasingly scary (but beautiful) train ride up the mountain, and then take a cable car up to the top of the mountain. Go early, it’s a 90 minute trip, you’ll want to have at least 5-6 hours here, and then you have to take the bus down to Tokushima, on Shikoku island (another 3 hours).

Koyasan is a quite amazing temple town with about 3,000 inhabitants, perched right on top of the mountain. The first thing to do is to go to Kongobuji, the main temple; here, you get your Nokyocho (stamp book). In each temple in Koyasan and on the pilgrim route, a monk or a nun will stamp it and write beautiful calligraphy for a fee of 300 yen, as proof of your visit. You then walk down to Okunoin, Kōbō-Daishi’s grave, on the other side of Koyasan. Here, you ask for protection during your pilgrimage. Then walk back up and visit as many of the other temples as you fancy, and then go back to the cable car and head off.

You must start your pilgrimage on Shikoku island at Temple 1, Ryouzennji, but after that you can hop and skip and jump in any direction and order you fancy. I recommend that you, after Koyasan, head back to Osaka and take the Highway Bus from Nanbaeki station to Tokushima and stay the night there. I stayed in the excellent (and cheap, 6,000 yen) Sunroute Hotel just opposite the bus terminal. You can find this, and tons of other hotels in Tokushima, on line.

PLANNING – SLEEPING & EATING

From now on, though, you won’t find anything online at all, and it is imperative that you book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you are going in the busy season. By far the coolest thing to do is to stay in the temples that offer accommodation: Shukubós, they’re called. Each room sleeps up to four, but you always get a private room if you have booked, i.e. you are not expected to share a room with strangers. A typical Shukubó room is just a square room with tatami mats, with a closet full of futons and blankets. If you’re by yourself or just the two of you, pile up the futons and you’ll be fine, otherwise it might take some getting used to. The Shukubós I stayed at had fabulous communal baths with great showers and hot tubs, steam rooms etc. You eat communally, dinner at six sharp, you eat what you are served, simple but delicious Japanese food. Many people plan their pilgrimage according to where the Shukubós are located; you should, too. There is only one way to get hold of them that I have found, and that is through the ‘Shikoku Japan 88 Route Guide’ which I bought at Temple 1, and which you must order from shikoku@buyodo.co.jp or http://www.buyodo.co.jp. This vital book has all the info you need: perhaps buy a decent 1:50,000 road map as well, as the maps in the book are often of different scales, and a bit confusing if you want to walk in a non-chronological fashion. You must then find a Japanese person somehow to call and book each Shukubó well in advance for you: and be aware that almost nobody you will deal with during all of this speaks a word of English.


Your other choice is Ryokans, traditional style Japanese inns: you’ll take pot luck here, though: some are wonderful and others are little more than a suburban house with three guest rooms and zero atmosphere. Go for Shubukós if you can.

Both the Shukubós and the ryokans will include a Japanese breakfast in the rate. If miso soup, fermented beans and rice is not for you, tough. As for lunch, it’s pack-a-snack wot rules. Unless you happen to be in the middle of a town, like at Temples 16 & 17, it’s hard to find restaurants. Luckily, every supermarket and convenience store (Circle K is their 7/11) sells really great, healthy fresh foods; little sushi things, goyozas, udon noodles, etc. And every now and then, you’ll walk past a wee ramen place (Shikoku is famous its udon noodles), so just stop and grab something. 1000 yen will feed you heartily and deliciously almost anywhere in Shikoku. But it is very sporadic, so always carry food, because there may not be any at all to be found on your way.

IN THE TEMPLES

At Temple 1, which you get to by taking the train from Tokushima to Bandoueki and then walking for 20 minutes along the marked road, you buy your Hakui, a white cotton vest, which identifies you as a pilgrim, and a wooden staff. You can buy lots of other stuff, like a silly hat, rosaries, special prayer name slips and so on. Go pilgrim crazy, if you really must. You are then probably the sort of person who has little Buddha statues in your back garden (the garden gnomes de nous jours). For the rest of us, a white vest and a staff will suffice in order to show respect without inducing ridicule.

You can also learn all the various Buddhist temple rituals and memorize the Sutras before you go, and this is of course all fine, and kind of the point, if you are a practicing Buddhist. If you are not, here is what you need to do in the temple in order to be respectful:

Enter temple gate: bow towards the main building
There will be a cleansing stone nearby with little water scoops. Fill the scoop, rinse your right hand, then your left, then your mouth, and then hold it up facing you, and let the remaining water run out.
Ring the bell (or, more likely, gong the gong) once; this marks that you have arrived to worship.
Go to main temple, light a candle, toss a coin in the offering box, and say a little prayer of your choosing.
Now go and get your stamp and calligraphy, then turn around at the entry gate and face the main temple, bow once, and leave.

Every temple has its own history: some temples have profound and very meaningful stories attached to them, like a certain spot where Kōbō-Daishi had an insight which has since affected millions of people; some are rather disturbing (‘….and if you can’t see your reflection in the pond next to the southern Hall, you will die in three years’) and some are ridiculously mundane (‘Kōbō-Daishi once ate a mackerel in this place and there is a statue of him holding said mackerel in the eastern Hall’). For me, the buildings temselves and their setting mean more than their history: Temple 8, for example, is where I found what I needed to find on this journey, but it wasn’t becasue ‘there is an ancient pine tree that looks like a dragon’ in the gardens.

WALKING THE WALK (OR BIKING THE BIKE)

Now you’re on your way, for whatever amount of time you have given yourself. I had a bad foot, which I hoped had healed by the time I set out, but it turned out it hadn’t, as I found out rather painfully between Temples 3 and 4. I was really rather despondent, hobbling along pathetically along the small village road in quite a lot of pain. Luckily, after about half an hour, I passed a little bicycle shop. Aha! Kōbō-Daishi looks after his pilgrims, you see. So I bought the cheapest bike, one of those typical schoolgirl bikes, no gears, and a little basket up front. Ten thousand yen. I later gave it to the rather bemused monk at my last temple. I named the bike Gerald. Smugly, I pedalled up the mountain to the next temple, looking rather ridiculous on my little girlie-bike: but who cares, and personal dignity has never been one of my main aims in life anyway. My smugness came to an abrupt end as I promptly got a puncture (‘panku’) and had to push the bike 4 km to the next temple. Aha! Kōbō-Daishi gladly takes you down a notch if you get too comfortable, you see. But a kindly old monk organized for the ‘panku’ to be fixed by a man who arrived in a spotless white overall, bowing profusely, and who took the bike away and returned it an hour later, still bowing, refusing to accept payment. I had spent the intervening time sitting in the sunshine, drinking green tea and eating cookies that I bought from the little stall outside the temple gate. Life is good on ‘Ohenro-san’ (pilgrim walk). You will, by the way, quite likely be given small gifts along the way by non-pilgrims. Accept graciously, it is extremely rude not to. This is important.

For what it’s worth, I’m glad I pedalled around the countryside on my schoolgirl bike, rather than having walked. My bottom hurt like, well, buggery I guess, and my knees ached, but I was still travelling under my own steam, and saw an awful lot more than I otherwise would have, given the limited amount of time I had. I am also sure that the sight of a Gajin-san in a white jacket pedalling away on a small girl’s bike, knees up to his chin, provided much merriment to the locals, which is of course every foreign visitor’s solemn duty.

It is very easy to get lost on the Ohenro-san, especially if you don’t go in a numerical order. I got severely lost twice, losing three or four hours both times. The official signs are old and few and far between, and also in Japanese, so not much use to you and me. So look out for these little stickers, that are placed strategically throughout the route:

The thing is not to worry too much. As long as you are in one of the four clusters, all you need to do is to get yourself to the next temple, which you can do in a few hours, tops, and there will be a kind person to help you with whatever you need. Almost anything can be achieved by bowing a lot, using the words ‘Sumimasen’ (Excuse me, please), ‘Gomennasai’ (Sorry, please forgive me) and ‘Aroigato Gozai-mas’ (Thank you so very much) a lot, bowing some more, and pointing at maps and aching feet or whatever. And always, always smiling and talking softly.

You will also have transcendental moments when standing all by yourself in places like this:

WHEN TO GO

I went early December, after the main season has finished, but I think I got the very very best of the Ohenro-san: crisp, clear, fresh air, turning leafs making the scenery ridiculously beautiful and, best of all, I was the sole visitor in more than half of the temples. Just me and the monks (or the nuns). During holidays and peak times there will be 47 buses in the car park and 700 ‘bus pilgrims’ in every temple, which I gather can reduce the spiritual experience somewhat.

I would say, contrary to most of the websites that I have read, that mid-November is the earliest you should go. Shikoku being on the same latitude, roughly, as Greece and southern Italy, the weather will hardly be arctic in winter. Japan gets steaming hot and very humid May through October, which you can’t protect yourself against. So go in the early winter or very early spring, and pack a sweater.

The Mambo Health Gaming (MamboHG) team has been thinking quite a bit about the many positive market and social trends we are witnessing. We are optimistic these trends will continue and additional future development looks positive as well.

With MamboHG’s first product, MamboWalk, we are acting on the positive trends in fundraising, social networks & gaming and health & wellness.

Fundraising

The growth in walkathons has been incredible over the last 20 years and the growth of online giving has also been growing at rapidly for the last several years. It is great to see two highly beneficial social goods are both moving to the same trajectory. At MamboWalk, we are inspired by these trend.

Yet there are a lot of barriers for charities to put together a viable event. The logistics of putting on a major walkathon are time consuming and expensive. There are also barriers created for the walkers, for many of the major events the minimum dollars raised can be as much as $2500.

Still, these drawbacks have not been enough the stifle the growth of the walkathon. We believe that many charities and walkers lack the resources to do a major charity walk, instead would be interested participating in a MamboWalk.

Social Media & Gaming

Also worth noting is the growth of social gaming (like Farmville) and the technology of geolocation (foursquare). Social media is no longer in its infancy. The ideas around what makes social online games fun and engaging are codifying. Due to the success Facebook, there is an audience that understands the current social and casual game mechanism.

Health & Wellness

People are looking for ways to engage in better health behaviors. Healthcare costs are rising. So, groups such as businesses and insurers are search for engaging healthy activities. Walking works. Providing a way to engage in wellness each and everyday is a core goal of MamboWalk.

The Mambowalk.com team is optimistic. We believe in folks desire to do good by doing great!

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