It was more than one billion small steps for staff, and a giant leap for the University of Wollongong into the Global Corporate Challenge records books.
UOW was ranked the most active participating university in the world for the 2012 challenge - it was also the fourth highest ranked organisation in Australia this year.
The Global Corporate Challenge is a 16-week program which promotes a healthy lifestyle by getting participants to measure the amount of steps they take each day.
The World Health Organisation recommends 10,000 steps a day to improve health and reduce the risk of disease but the average office worker takes about 3500.
TeamUOW consisted of 798 staff, and some students, who averaged 12,878 steps per day each from May to September.
UOW workplace health and safety manager Darren Smith said the enthusiasm and effort of TeamUOW in its first year of the challenge had been exceptional.
"The university entered 114 teams of seven which was a big take-up," he said. "A lot of university staff have quite sedentary jobs so we joined up to increase awareness of the need to get up and be active.
"I think it was a bit of a wake-up call to many. Personally, I thought I had quite an active lifestyle but after starting to measure my steps with a pedometer I realised my step count was below 5000 on many days."
Mr Smith said "small steps" rather than major changes had been necessary for most team members to get close to or rise above the 10,000 mark.
"Choosing to walk to and from work or just parking your car that little bit further away; going for a lunchtime walk with your colleagues or walking to someone's desk rather than sending an email. These little things all add up," he said.
As well as the health benefits of moving more - such as reducing the risks of serious health issues such as diabetes and heart disease - there were also some social advantages.
"At UOW we've got a beautiful open campus which motivated staff to get out for a lunchtime walk, or get together with other teams in the challenge to play a game of soccer or netball," Mr Smith said.
"May to September is usually the time when people's activity levels drop because the weather is cooler and there's not as much daylight, so it helped staff really focus on keeping active during those months."
Staff have kept up the hard work since the end of the challenge, in which many plan to participate again next year.
"At the start of the challenge we did a survey and only 12 per cent of those who were participating reported achieving the 10,000 steps a day," Mr Smith said.
"We redid the survey after the challenge and 78 per cent of staff involved said they were achieving around 10,000 steps. That's a huge change in activity levels."
Picture: Clare Atkinson, Tanya Levchenko, Joy Williams, Linda Deitch, Alan Adolfsson and Laura Mothersdill were among nearly 800 University of Wollongong staff members who took part in the Global Corporate Challenge. Photo: ADAM McLEAN