Frequently Asked Questions

General Help

Why would I use UWALK?

The better question is why wouldn’t you! UWALK is a free interactive website that can help motivate you and track your activities progress. You can also join a challenge and compete against yourself, co-workers, family or friends.

Looking for a walking challenge for your workplace, community or organisation? Make a profile on UWALK.ca and request a community. Once registered as a community UWALK will provide you with all the tools and resources to get you started.

Is there a cost to use the UWALK website and participate in the challenges?

Nope, it’s free!! UWALK was originally developed by the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta with funding by the Government of Alberta. It is now administered by Alberta Health Services.

Does UWALK have a mobile App?

We have created the UWALK website with mobile first responsive website design. What this means for you is that while we do not offer a traditional ‘UWALK App’ for specific mobile devices or operating systems, you will be able to access the UWALK website on your mobile phone and have a tailored experience that adapts to the size of your screen. You can also create a shortcut that will save an icon to your homescreen and allow you to quickly access UWALK without entering your browser and inputting the URL each time.

How do I save the UWALK Icon to my iPhone screen to create the 'UWALK App'?

1. Go to uwalk.ca on your iPhone
2. Select the icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like a square with an arrow
3. An add to Home Screen button will appear as a choice, select this icon
4. Press add and the UWALK icon will be added to your home screen

How do I save the UWALK Icon to my Android’s home screen to create the 'UWALK App'?

1. Go to uwalk.ca on your android
2. Click on the three dots on the top right hand side of the screen
3. A list will appear with the option to add to home screen, select this option
4. A grey notification box will be displayed telling you the shortcut has been added on the home screen

What is new at UWALK?

Over the next year, we will be updating the UWALK website’s look and feel, and exploring ways to help more Albertans move more and sit less. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact UWALK@ahs.ca.

What is the difference between teams and communities?

Teams allow anyone to create their own team with family and/or friends to complete a challenge. You can also use this feature to challenge other teams!

Communities are for organizations such as Workplaces, Primary Care Networks, Health Care Providers, Libraries, Schools and Municipalities. By registering as a community you will be able to start a challenge for your community (organization). To request the creation of a new community, sign up for UWALK.ca and click the Request a Community button at the top of the “Teams and Communities” page. By registering as a community you will also have access to all of UWALK’s resources such as:

 *Brand guidelines
 *Downloadable UWALK logos
 *Promotional materials
 *Implementation guide

Physical Activity Help

Can I track other activities that I do other than walking?

Yes! You can enter activity minutes into the tracking tool that a pedometer doesn’t pick up (e.g. swimming or cycling). 10 minutes of moderate physical activity = 1000 steps and 10 minutes of vigorous physical activity = 2000 steps.

A unique feature on the UWALK website is the ability to track stair climbing. This is done by recording the flights of stairs you climb each day. If you have a Fitbit or Garmin you’re in luck, you can synchronize the website with your Fitbit to automatically pull flights (the website does this every few minutes so your data is always up to date!). Please note, for the Fitbit to synchronize with the website, you will need to be near your computer that has the Fitbit dongle connected. If you don’t have a Fitbit, not to worry, you can track your daily flights and manually upload your flights to the website.

How many stairs are there in a flight?

Great question! Roughly 10 stairs is equivalent to 1 Flight. To give you a bit of a goal, research recommends aiming for 55 flights per week, that’s around 8 flights per day. When measuring flights, only count the stairs that you climb up, not down.

What is the difference between moderate and vigorous physical activity?

In general if you’re doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing your favourite song, during the activity. You’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate. Examples include; brisk walking, mowing the lawn, digging in the garden, medium paced swimming and cycling.

If you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. Examples include; jogging, fast cycling, brisk walking, aerobics and active sports such as football, squash and basketball.

How much activity should I be aiming for?

There is a couple of different ways to answer this question. In terms of steps these are some rough calculations.

>12,500 steps Highly active
10,000-12,500 steps Active
7,500-9,999 Steps Somewhat active
5,000-7,499 Steps Low Active
<5000 Steps Sedentary

*Tudor-Locke, Craig, Thyfault, & Spence, 2012.

Additionally the Canadian Guidelines suggest adults participate in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity to achieve health benefits. As you’re just getting started we recommend wearing your pedometer and recording your activity for the first week to get an idea of how many steps you are averaging. If you are looking to increase your steps and not sure what a reasonable number might look like, we recommend an increase of approximately 1000-2000 steps per day which is equivalent to 10-20 minutes of moderate physical activity. Try to find a balance and what works for you.

What activity monitors can I use?

UWALK offers a variety of ways for members to monitor activity. These include: pedometers, a Fitbit, a Garmin, or any number of other available step counters. Additionally, as explained above you can also measure your activity through time and intensity and the UWALK site will convert this activity automatically to steps.

How do I use a pedometer or physical activity monitor?

Traditional pedometers track your steps taken throughout the day. They are most accurate when worn on your hip, either clipped to your waist band or belt. Reset the pedometer at the start of each day so you can easily enter your steps for the day on the UWALK website. Pedometers are generally not worn during vigorous interval type activities such as soccer or hockey as they will not accurately track your steps. Instead of wearing your pedometer you can enter the number of minutes of moderate or vigorous activity that you completed into your profile manually (e.g. 30 minutes of fast swimming = 30 minutes of vigorous activity). Click on this link for more information.

Fitbit: Fitbit has several different physical activity monitors that are all compatible with our website and you can seamlessly load your data into your online UWALK log. The Fitbit One can help you track your steps, stairs climbed and other physical activities. However, it will not add your vigorous or moderate activities separately from your steps it will take your total steps from all activity and sync that to your UWALK profile. You can clip it to your belt or put it in your pocket. It is less accurate for vigorous interval type activities such as soccer or hockey and it can not be worn in the pool.

Can I participate in UWALK if I am in a wheelchair?

Yes! UWALK is a provincial program aimed at making physical activity easy for everyone. To track your daily progress we suggest using an odometer to track distance rather than steps. There are roughly 1250 steps for each km. This means that 10000 steps is equal to 8 km.

What should I do to prepare myself for walking?

First things first, if you are walking outside, make sure to dress for the weather and dress in layers.
Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If you are going for a longer walk taking a bottle of water with you is a great idea.

Take it easy to begin with, if you are not used to walking long distances, then start slow and only go as far as you are comfortable with. A good idea for starting out is to plan to walk around a loop, that way when you are done you end up back where you started.

Website Help

I never received my confirmation email, what can I do?

The first thing to check if you have not received your confirmation email is to check your spam or junk folder, sometimes the UWALK email ends up there. If your confirmation email is not in your spam or junk folder please email uwalk@ahs.ca and we will be happy to help you out.

How do I access my profile?

Login to UWALK.ca and click on your name in the top right hand corner of the screen this will take your to your profile. In your profile you will be able to sync your Fitbit or Garmin, change your profile picture, edit your password, edit your steps and flights goals and much more.

How do I change my password?

To change your password click on your name in the top right hand corner of the web page this will take you to your profile page. Once on your profile page click on the button that says “Edit Profile”. On the right hand side of the screen there will be a button that says “Change Password”.

What do I do if I forgot my password?

If you forgot your password don’t worry we can help. Click the “Log In” button like you normally would. Below the submit button there is a “Forgot Password” button you can click. Click the button and then enter your email address. An email with a link will be sent to you so that you can reset your password.

How do I update my profile/picture?

Log onto UWALK.ca using your login and password. When you are on your dashboard, click on your name in the top right hand corner of the web page. Once on your profile page click on the button that says “Edit Profile”. From here you can change or add information in any of the boxes. If you want to change or add a profile picture then simply click the button that says “Edit Profile Picture” and then choose a file from your computer to upload.

How do I make my profile private?

If you do not want the social side of UWALK that’s okay, you can make your profile private.

Log onto UWALK.ca click on your name on the top right hand corner of the screen and then click on “Edit Profile”. Near the bottom of the page you will see a list of boxes

To make your profile private simply click on the tick box beside private profile. Making your profile private will hide it; you will not be able to be searched using the “Find” tab. This means you will not be able to follow people and people will not be able to follow you. If you choose to participate in any team or groups challenges, your profile will still be viewable to others participating in that challenge.

What should I do to log steps if I don't use a computer every day?

If you don’t log on to the website to track your steps every day, don’t worry! You can still track your activity using our printable tracking sheets which can be accessed by clicking on this link

On each sheet you can record your activity for up to one month at a time. You can also upload activity onto the website up to one month in the past.

How do I change my goal steps/flights?

There are two ways to change your goals.

The first way is on your dashboard on the right hand side above the progress circles for steps there is a button that says “Your goal: XXXX steps/day” “Edit”. Further down the page there is a button above the progress circles for flights that says “Your goal: XXXX flights/day” “Edit”. Click “Edit” on whichever one you want to edit.

The second way to edit your goals is to click on your name in the top right hand corner of the web page. Once on your profile page click on the button that says “Edit Profile”. At the bottom of the page you can see and change both your step and flight goals. If you are not sure how many steps you should set as your goal you can click on the recommended steps goal button and a goal will be calculated for you.

How do I view my daily progress?

The UWALK website has a few different ways that you can see your daily progress. On your dashboard you can see a black box with the number of steps and flights you have taken for the day, week and month.

On the right side of the screen there is a visual circle that fills in as you walk or climb towards your daily goal. If you achieve your daily goal then one ring of the circle will be complete, each ring of the circle represents a day of the week.

Finally further down the screen is a graph that shows your progress each day this week and compares it with how many steps or flights you achieved last week.

How do I start a UWALK challenge?

Click on the Challenges button at the top of the screen. Once on the challenge page you can see Active Challenges that you are currently participating in and a tab for Completed Challenges. By clicking on the “UWALK Challenges” tab you can view all of the pre-made challenges that are available for you to participate in.

To add a challenge click the green “+ Add Challenge” button. When adding your challenge you can choose one of the UWALK challenges described in the UWALK challenges tab or create your own. When creating your own, select “Create My Own” under the parameters drop down list. Select if you would like this challenge to fall within a community and if yes, select the name of the community you want to link the challenge to.

Next select the participant type it can be either an individual, team, or community challenge then provide a name for your challenge and a description. Select the Challenge Type: time-based, target-based, or last (wo) man standing challenge.

Note: definitions are available if you hover over the “?”. Finally enter in the units of measurement (either steps of flights or distance (in kilometers) and choose the start and end dates for your challenge. In cases of team and community challenges you will also be asked if you want the steps to be cumulative or average for the team or group challenge.

Once you’ve decided which challenge is right for you then click on “submit”.

How do I follow people on UWALK?

It’s easy to follow your friends on UWALK, simply click on the Find button. From here you can search for individual users or communities. To search for your friend, type their name in the search bar and click the check box that says UWALK users. Click the “Search” button and their name should come up below. If it isn’t on the screen select next and scroll through the following pages until you find it. When you do find the right person press the blue “Follow” button next to their name on the right-hand side of the screen.

How do I view people that I follow?

There are several ways to see and connect with people you are following.

The first option is to click on the “My Home” button and scroll down to the bottom of the page. At the bottom you will be able to see a list of who you are following.

The second option is to access your feed by clicking on the Feed button at the top of the screen when you are logged in. You can then click the “My Friends” tab to see a list of your friends’ activity.

The third option is to go to your profile by clicking on your name in the top right-hand corner of the page. Once on your profile page you will see on the right-hand side of the page a list of the people you are following. Here you can click on the person’s profile picture and it will take you to their profile page.

How do I connect my Fitbit?

Connecting your fit bit is easy, follow these two steps:

Step one: Create a Fitbit account (if you’ve already done this then skip to step two). To create an account and sync your device click here. From here you will download the software that will allow your device to sync automatically. Make sure your device is charged and your WIFI dongle is plugged into the USB port. Follow the prompts provided to activate your device and create an account.

Once you have an account it’s time to head back to the UWALK website.

Step two: Click on your name in the top right of the screen and then click the “Edit Profile” button. Once you are on your edit profile page, click the button that says “Connect to Fitbit”. From here you will be prompted to login to your Fitbit account. After you have logged into your Fitbit account you will be connected!

How do I join a team or community on UWALK?

Being part of a team or community is a great way to connect with people and become involved in challenges. There are different processes for joining communities and teams. To find the community you are looking for, click on the Find button.

From here you can search for communities or individuals. To search for your community, type its name in the search bar and click the check box that says “Community”.

Private communities will have a “Request to Join” button on the right-hand side of the screen next to the group name. Click here and wait for approval.

Public communities will have a “Join Community” button that you can click and you will be added right away.

If you want to join a team you will need to be sent an invitation by the team captain.

Remember that teams are something that anyone can start and communities are formed by organizations. Communities can add teams within their community for team challenges if they choose.

What is my role as community leader?

If you are the community leader you have a very important role. You are responsible for overseeing the challenge that your organization is running. You get to champion the event to your co-workers, community, or members of your organization.

There is some planning to be done:
1. Request a community and recruit members to your community. IMPORTANT NOTE: People cannot be put on teams within a community unless they are FIRST members of the community. If you are doing a team based challenge, assign team captains to help you create teams within your community. Team captains are the people who will champion and oversee individual team members to help keep everything on track. Using organizational charts to create teams is often a good idea.

2. Create a challenge. You can do an individual challenge within a community, a team challenge within a community, or a community challenge.

3. Monitor your challenge. During the challenge you will want to keep an eye on the community to ensure that everyone is still participating and communicate when people are getting close to the end to maybe spur some last minute competition.

4. Please see the Community Implementation Guide for more detailed instructions.

What is my role as team captain?

Team captains are essential for running a team based challenge within a community. The first step is to get your team together. If you are creating a team within a community ALL team members have to be part of the community before they can be added to your team. This may have already been done for you or you may need to recruit people to be in the community. Once people are in the community you can create your team by inviting members from the community to be on your team. When the team is complete then it’s time for the challenge to start.

During the challenge, your role is to encourage everyone to keep participating through until the end and make sure that they are logging their steps/flights. In addition, the community leader may send out emails or other communications and it is your job to pass this information on to your team.

Your main role as team captain is to monitor your team’s activity and ensure that they stay involved in the challenge. Have fun and happy stepping!

What is the difference between an individual challenge within a community, a team challenge within a community, and a community challenge?

Individual challenge within a group: For this challenge you would have all the individuals within the community participating in the challenge as individuals. This is good if you don’t have enough people to create teams within your community or if you are more interested in individual results. One of the concerns with this type of challenge is if you have a range of physical activity levels some people may feel demotivated if they are behind everyone else as an individual.

Team challenge within a community: For this challenge, community leaders need to assign team captains to create teams within the community (for steps on how to assign team captains, see FAQ 'How do I set up teams within a community?’). These types of challenges work really well for workplaces because you know everyone in the community so it is easy to split the community up into teams. You can choose to take the average or the cumulative steps of each team to go towards the challenge. Using average steps helps account for different sized teams competing against each other or for unbalanced teams. Using cumulative works well for teams that just want to count everyone’s steps no matter how many they do towards the challenge. Many of the UWALK challenges lend themselves well to team challenges within communities because they are longer challenges that may not be easy for an individual to complete on their own.

Community challenges: Community challenges are similar to team challenges except you get to skip the step of creating teams. Instead you create a community challenge that uses the average or cumulative steps of a community to reach a goal. You can challenge other communities to a community challenge if you want to. This option is good for communities who have created open communities that anyone can join and they want to just focus on how many steps can our community achieve in a set amount of time. If someone joins the community after the challenge has started they will automatically be part of the challenge and their steps will contribute to the overall goal.

How do I join a UWALK featured challenge?

UWALK provides featured challenges which are designed to get you walking all around Alberta and the world! They are individual challenges which means you can sign up without a team and your progress is tracked against others who sign up to the challenge.

To sign up for a featured challenge, login to your profile, click on the “Challenges” tab, then click the “UWALK Challenges” tab. At the top of the page you will see the current featured challenges available. Choose which one you want to participate in and click the green “Join Challenge” button, then click “Submit” to join the challenge.

There are usually two featured challenges on offer, there is an option for new walkers and a slightly more challenging option for more experienced walkers.

You can choose to not have your progress displayed on the leaderboard by checking the box.