This great blog by Wendy Bumgardner examines just what an expensive proposition a Walkathon is… and asked if the money is getting to the finish line.

At our goal is to help charities raise more money and at the same time help people get fit. I would love to chat with Wendy sometime to learn more about her mission!!!

Charity Walk Backlash?

Are charity walks and runs worth they money put into them? Smart Money has a feature article on the history and evolution of charity walks, runs, rides and extreme sports. They bring up many debating points and feature one critic who staged an anti-walk “Walk to Prevent Walking.” Smart Money: Are Charity Walks and Races Worth the Effort?

I’ve walked and volunteered for several large charity walks, including the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk (when hosted by Pallotta TeamWorks) and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Both of those involve raising thousands of dollars in order to be allowed to participate, plus have a challenging walking distance to complete each day. Similarly, I’m signed up for the For A Cause France 2011 walk/ride and must both fundraise and train to complete a half marathon a day for five days.

Do charity walks bring in new money?
What was the net effect? Were my sponsors just paying to send me on a walking vacation? Each time I walked I was able to raise the minimum from friends and relatives, and in addition I chipped in what the organizers said was the overhead cost to participate. Wouldn’t that same money have gone to breast cancer charities without me asking? I think not. I think that these events energize their participants as fundraisers to generate money that wouldn’t come through other means.

Would I have raised $3000 per year for breast cancer charities without signing up for a walk? In my case, no. I never did before. And I’ve never fundraised except when required to participate. For example, I’ve been on relay teams where fundraising was suggested for a designated charity, but not required, so I didn’t fundraise (nor did other team members.) It takes time, effort, and stepping out of your comfort zone to ask people for money. It’s not something I do unless I have vowed to do it for a specific event. I think the same is true for most participants. They are not fundraisers apart from the events.

Do the charities really get enough income from these walks to justify the effort? That is a budgetary decision each charity makes each year. If they weren’t worth the effort, charities would move on to different methods of fundraising. The free market decides whether they are worth the effort. Any successful charity stops doing things that don’t work.

Splitting the market
I agree that the market is glutted with 5K/10K charity walks and runs in many cities. Often there are several to choose from on prime weekends, all competing for routes, racers and donations. But if competition is really so fierce, smart charities will look for better ways to raise funds.

What justifies the overhead costs?
The overhead costs don’t go into a black hole. Much of it pumps up the economy of the locale where the event is held. Overhead costs for these events include food, beverages, support vehicle rentals, and fees to local governments to rent parks, close streets and control traffic. That helps support the economy of the city where they are held. Participants often travel, at their own expense or included in the fundraising minimum, and that is also money into the economy for hotel nights, restaurant meals, and more. In boom times maybe this all seemed wasteful, but in a recession that is money those local communities sorely need and seek out.

Energizing participants to walk
But what sucked me into these events back in 2001 was the incredibly energy they generate in turning people into walkers. Those joining in are often new to fitness walking. They have hundreds of questions about shoes, blisters, walking clothing, training, energy snacks and sports drinks. Signing up for one of these events is a great way to motivate yourself to start a walking fitness program and stick with it.

My France walk is less than three months away. I finished my first half marathon of the season last weekend and I’m doing another one on July 4. I am far more serious about my distance training this year with that challenge looming in September than I was last year without it. Multi-day walk training schedule

The cause is worth the effort
I myself questioned before signing up whether it was worth it from the charity perspective. I’ll be funding the event overhead as my own donation. Meanwhile, I’ll be bringing in at least $2500 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure to fight breast cancer. That’s a good thing. Since making the decision, one of my colleagues was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of the research done over the past 15 years, she has a better chance of being a long term survivor.

Many charities and participants say that raising awareness for their cause is a big benefit of hosting a big, visible event. There are many opportunities for press interviews about the charity and the cause. People see a sea of pink shirts walking and they may be more inclined to do breast self exams and get a mammogram. While pink ribbon-labeled products seem to be everywhere, that wasn’t the case before these charity walks ramped up. Other diseases and causes hope to break into that same level of awareness.

What do you think?


Walk 4 Life Games is a brochure published by the National Health Services in the UK. It has some great games to keep you and your family engaged while adding footsteps to you daily routine.

There are old standards like “I-Spy”… the one that I think is pretty cool, especially in the age of a camera on every phone is “Stroll, Sketch and Snap” which is a destination game that requires you to document your travel through drawings or photos. is interested in hearing about your experiences with these games.

Did you know the origin of the mile comes from the idea of 1000 paces? A pace is the measurement of 2 steps. Consequently if you take 2000 steps (1000 paces) you have traveled about one mile.

The word mile is a rooted in the the latin word mille. Consequently, when the Romans paced their way through Europe, they brought their clever measurement system with them ever where they went. Now the Roman mile was 4851 feet which is 429 feet short of our current mile of 5280 feet. Perhaps, we are taller or there has been mile inflation, either way. Next time you go for a walk remember that 2000 steps is about a mile and the recommended daily allocation of 10,000 step will get you about 5 miles.

Visit for details on our next challenge.

In doing some research for a blog on behavior, I found this blog and thought it said it all, enjoy. The MamboWalk Team

How Do We Change Behavior?
By Scott Asalone on July 11, 2011 – 8:52 am 2 Comments

Scott Asalone, MAPP ’08, is an author, speaker and entrepreneur. He is a partner and co-Founder of ASGMC, Inc. and works both nationally and internationally specializing in identifying and unleashing the best in people and organizations. His blog is called The Greatness Project. Full bio.

During a recent course that I taught with my business partner Jan Sparrow, an executive turned to us to say, “All this stuff is great and I want to change my behavior, but how do I make sure it sticks long term?”

This is an important question for positive psychology practitioners, whether as professional therapists, life coaches, and consultants or as individuals wanting to implement personal positive behavioral changes. It is not easily answered. Recently in studying long-term, positive behavioral change I came across an article by Brendan I. Koerner about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Reading the article I realized there is much that AA can teach all of us about long-term change even in the face of addiction. Though they admit their failure rate is very high they still have created an astounding record of behavioral change. Let’s explore four of the elements of AA as an opening for a dialogue about creating long-term positive behavioral change.

Gain commitment.
Commitment is the key element for AA to have any chance of succeeding and most likely individuals who attend a meeting are present because they intend to try to change. Perhaps the same can be said of those who engage life coaches, or therapists. They do so believing they will create long-term positive behavioral change.

The situation rapidly deteriorates in many corporate settings where “classes” of employees are gathered to learn about a topic. The “prisoners” as we call them, can range anywhere from 10 – 90% of a class. (Yes, we do take a poll). From the corporate perspective we’ve tried a few strategies to gain commitment. First we get the prisoners to acknowledge their imprisonment. Talking about the elephant in the room always helps. Also, each participant creates and signs a contract on the action plan they agree to.

Supported learning

What do you do to encourage and insure commitment?

Build self-efficacy. AA gives members constant support to continue their change. In each meeting they get to hear from others who were in their situation and choose sobriety.

In assisting behavioral change in corporate settings we use Bandura’s strategies. We highlight links to past accomplishments, provide mentors or role models, offer verbal persuasion and engage them to the point where they believe they can continue their behavioral change.
What do you do to build or help build self-efficacy?

Form groups or relationships. One of the keys behind long-term positive behavioral change is the power of the group. Whether through accountability or support, individuals are more likely to continue change within a supportive context. The meetings provide this opportunity in AA.

In corporate settings, even in large group meetings, we have people create triads or partnerships and ask that they check in with each other on a regular basis.
How do you create a support group?

Instill new habits. One of the most difficult parts of change is that we tend to revert to what we’ve always done. As my business partner says, “The familiar is seductive.” Changing habits is the toughest part of long-term behavioral change. AA recommends 90 consecutive days of meetings when you first join them. Part of the reason for this recommendation is that AA is structured to be every bit as habit forming as alcohol.

We’ve also initiated a 90 day process where, after workshops, we ask our participants to work on their behavioral change for 90 days. We check in at 30, 60 and 90 days. One of our most popular workshops on connecting emotionally with clients has increased productivity in financial advisors minimally 17% compared to the control group if they continue with it at least 90 days.

What are you doing to instill the new habits?
Long-term positive behavioral change is a goal that many individuals desire. Those of us who build on positive psychology hope to identify, explore, and disseminate what changes people’s lives for the better. AA’s strategies of commitment, confidence, community, and consistency can assist in creating long-term positive behavioral change. What are your strategies?

Ashford, S.A., Edmunds, J. and French, O.P. (2010) What is the best way to change self-efficacy to promote lifestyle and recreational physical activity? A systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Health Psychology. 15(2) 265-288.
Kelly, J.F., Magill, M. and Stout, R.L. (2009). How do people recover from alcohol dependence? A systematic review of the research oon mechanisms of behavior change in Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction Research and Theory. 17(3), 236-259.

Koerner, B.I., (2010). The Secret of AA: After 75 years, we don’t know how it works. Wired. 18(7).

Vaillant, G. (2001). Interview: A Doctor Speaks. First printed in AA Grapevine Magazine, 57(12).

As you know, MamboWalk’s mission is to create a fun and engaging way for you and your friends to measure your daily steps and get rewarded.

Our first walk (the Marathon) was compelling to some of you and not so much to others.

Thanks to you, we have gathered awesome feedback.

Ultimately, we hope to bring you a better experience for the next version of the MamboWalk site.

Additionally, we are inviting everyone in the beta to continue logging your steps or improve your results on the Marathon walk.


Our team is currently working on fun features that will reward logging steps while we are constructing a top secret event!!!

We will be sending updates and a quick-link reminder straight to your StepBank, to make it as easy as possible to keep current on your step counts.

Once again, thank you for you support.

Keep MamboWalking!!!

The month of May is chock full of serious opportunities for the serious health game crowd. You can travel from coast to coast to learn and hear from the top minds in our exciting a budding industry. The Mambo Health Gaming team will be attending and/or speaking at several events and we hope to see you at at least one of them.

Here is a short list of what the calendar has in store:

May 3-5
Mobile Health 2011, “What Really Works 2011” hosted by B.J. Fogg, PhD. and Tanna Drapkin of Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab. This event brings together speaker from academia and industry to discuss -What Really Works from Mobile Health to Public Health.
Mobile Health 2011

May 13
careinnovators “HealthTech 2011”.
Chris and Saria Tsai, founders of careinnnovators, are creating a great community with incredible resources, with the mission of creating better health. Keynote speakers include Regina E. Herzlinger, Esther Dyson, and Jay Parkinson. Over a dozen exciting startups will be presenting. careinnovators “Health Tech11”

May 17-19
Games for Health 2011,
This is the 7th year for pioneer Ben Sawyer and the incredibly successful Games for Health conference series. This is the largest Games for Health to date with a great opening keynote from Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His opening talk “Positive Psychology>Positive Computing>Positive Videogames” is one of over 60 talks planned for the three day event. Mambo Health Gaming will be discussing the excitement of building a startup company in this fast growing and ever changing environment. “Games for Health 2011”

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events in the coming month. In the meantime, visit MamboWalk Beta and get a head start banking you step count in our StepBank or our Marathon Challenge!

A recent study of approximately 34,500 people over a nine year period concluded that the survival rate of fast walkers is longer than that of slow walkers. The Journal of American Medical Association determined that ‘gait speed’ might be one of the better indicators of longevity.

The study found that people who walk at least 2.25 mph tend to live longer than those who walk slower. However, it is not simply a matter of choosing to walk faster. Your body walks at a speed that it finds comfortable in relationship to a persons vitality or health. So, just trying to increase your speed in not the key.

“Your body chooses the walking speed that is best for you, and that is your speed, your health indicator,” said Studenski. “And that’s what it really is: an indicator. Going out and walking faster does not necessarily mean you will suddenly live longer. You still need to address the underlying health issuers.”

So, the best bet to increasing your walking speed is to start working on the underlying health cause of walking slow. These include lack of walking regularly. By walking daily, you will improve those things that contribute to walking briskly. You speed depends on your energy level, movement control and coordination. Some of these things can be improved by more walking.

Pay attention to your speed the next time you walk. If you are not walking as briskly as you used to, try to determine what health issues are holding you up. Is it cardio vascular, balance, weight, coordination or something else? See if you can pinpoint one thing and start working on that issue and continue to walk. is a game you play everyday with friends to improve your fitness and help the causes you cherish. Because the game measure how much walking you do a day as one of the ways to earn rewards or points, will give you a great excuse to go out a see how fast you walk and think about the things you need to do to walk faster.

Reducing sitting in the workplace may help drive lower obesity rates and better health. Recent studies on inactivity suggest that the hours people spend sitting – at work, on email & Facebook, in traffic and watching TV – may be linked to increasing rates of obesity and chronic disease.

Part of the problem with sitting all the time is that you don’t use as much energy as when you spend more time on your feet. This seems to be obvious to most. Yet there seems to be even more to the equation.

Seems that there is a connection between the leg muscles, back muscles and neck muscles and how they interact when we are standing. All these muscle are used in creating your posture and they seem to have a significant link to how one metabolizes fat and cholesterol. Consequently, even if you exercise during the day, the long period of time that you are not using your postural muscle could override the benefits.

“Lack of physical activity is not the same as ‘too much’ sitting,” said Neville Owen PhD, professor of health behavior at the University of Queensland in Australia. “ We used to think that just exercising was the answer. Exercising is still very important, but in addition, we are learning that too much sitting may be in itself a problem.” encourage walking everyday for improved health. Even though walking is considered light exercise, walking requires the activation of all postural muscles.

Recently, I picked up Joseph T. Hallinan’s book “Why We Make Mistakes; How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in a Second, and are Pretty Sure We are Way Above Average”… And while the title reminded me of the line from Garrison Kiellor’s, ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ radio program, the gist of the book reminds me much more of the struggles most of us having in making good choices about our diets and wellness.

Especially interesting is that we seem to be “hard-wired” to commit many of our mistakes. Ironically, we tend to make mistakes even when we are consciously and actively trying to improve our health.

5 Health Mistakes We Need to be Aware We Make

We Look but We Don’t See
We Walk and Chew Gum, but not Much Else
We are in the Wrong Mind Frame
We’d Rather Wing It
We Don’t Constrain Ourselves

When we look at things, food included, we tend to spend more time on the context of the item than the details. When it comes to food, this is especially true. Food is largely contextual: popcorn at the movies, turkey at Thanksgiving and cake for your birthday. Hallinan says that the meaning matters, details don’t. Each of these foods has a meaning within their respective context. Contextual foods, by their very nature, tend to be foods in which we over indulge. So, the challenge is to recognize that we are very unlikely to be in a detail mindset when we are eating foods in context – we eat automatically without mindfulness. How do we combat this? Look for all the occasions at which food is in contextual and see if you can stop for a moment and focus on the details. Does the popcorn come in different sizes, unbuttered? Can we opt for the a smarter choice and still enjoy the context. Would one scoop of ice-cream instead of three satisfy the context of a treat at the beach? Of course it can! Yet, our lack of awareness of the details of our choices causes us to make poor decisions. Knowing we have this propensity to overlook the details, can often be enough to help us make better choices and make less mistakes.

We can drive and eat fast food but not much else. For example, have you ever been driving with a snack and suddenly you find yourself wondering when you ate the last bite? You ate all the food without knowing you had finished. Whereas, we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, we are not computers. We simply don’t we move from one thought to the other and back processing both things as we go. The positive part of being surprised that you ate the entire burger without knowing IS that you were actually paying attention to what you needed to do, DRIVING. You were consumed by what you needed to do at the time. The mistake is not bad driving, the mistake is that you could not manage the details of what you ate and you likely ate too much. So, with this in mind, the drive-thru is the place you needed to make the right choice. The trick is to order only the amount you require when at the window, don’t buy the biggest thing and rely on a judgement to take place when you are on the road.

We are anchored buy all kinds of sensual stimulants. When French music is playing more wine is sold. When football is on TV more pizza’s are ordered. These are also context foods and in these cases the context was created for us from our past memories. Additionally we are susceptible to being ‘anchored’ to a ‘new’ context that might not have existed previously. Anchoring devices can make us look at things incorrectly because they set our relativity. For instance, there is no difference in price between $.50 a can of soup and 4 for $2. Still, stores use this all the time because they know the mistakes we make. Even if you only need one can, you have already been introduced to the idea of buying four. ‘Hey, everyone is doing it, must be a good deal’. We find it challenging to forgo ‘deals’ like this or buy individual items in offers that are bundled, even when we have no intention on buying the more than a single item. So, be careful not to let your mindset be altered. Challenge yourself: find “2-for” and “5-for” offers, then just buy one, see how you feel.

The food we choose is one of the most important decisions we make. Still, there are times when we pay very close attention to our choices and other times when we simply wing it. I have a friend who studies every label in detail at the supermarket yet eats out at restaurants 4 times a week and have no clue as to the details of his meal. He has chosen a shortcut system that suits him – when he is in a restaurant he permits himself to wing it. We think we make better choices than we actually do. We are pretty sure we are well above average. We analyze all the labels, don’t we? Yet, for many of us, a huge percentage of the food we take in is “unsupervised”.

So, yes this takes to the last item – constraint. Our eating “mistakes” are a function of our ability to create and follow the guidelines we make for ourselves. However, I bet you are not surprised to find that we are not all the good at that either. We not only fail to follow our own guidelines, we tend to make the same mistake over and over again. Or when we make the mistake again, we simply create another guideline with the hopes it will keep the guideline we just failed to comply with – in check. I think that the trick to all of this is to make the guidelines you want to follow, and then create a system to follow them without consciously following them. A good software user interface designer once told me that you want to get your user on the luge run and have them follow through the process by making all the turns and making progress, but never leaving track. I think we can all benefit from this idea when it comes to making mistakes in healthy behaviors. Spend time thinking about where we make these mistakes and see what paths we can create for ourselves that keeps us on track and at the same time moving forward.

Stay tuned to for another way to make charitable giving fun and rewarding.

MamboWalk is a game you play every day to help you improve your health and make a difference in the world. Team up with friends to get fit, help charities and earn points to bid on cool stuff. Are you game? It all starts with taking that first step.

If you have been relatively inactive, or if you suffer from any sort of chronic muscular-skeletal injuries, beginning a walking program can put you on the right track for gradual improvement of your level of fitness. Walking on a regular basis is also an excellent way to control your weight.
There are a number of other less obvious, but equally important benefits of starting a walking program. Here are some of them:

    Walking is a highly social exercise that allows you to get out and meet new people.
    It is also an economical alternative to driving your car, or even paying for public transportation.
    No special skills are required for a walking program.
    With the exception of a comfortable pair of walking shoes, no special equipment is required to start a walking program.
    Even people with health conditions can begin a walking program.
    Studies have shown that even moderate exercise can control your appetite.
    Studies have shown that even moderate exercise can enhance mood and prevent depression.
    Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent heart disease.
    Walking, especially uphill, is an excellent way to sculpt your legs.


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