Step Up Employee Wellness with Simple, Effective Walking Challenges
This May, encourage your team to participate in National Walking Month! We dive into how - and why - to challenge employees to #take20 - that is, to walk at least 20 minutes each day. Take it a step farther by offering engaging step challenges in a comprehensive, integrated wellness platform to improve all-around employee wellness.
Did you know that walking just 6,000 steps per day improves overall health? It's true! It's associated with lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic heath issues. And taking 10,000 steps per day aids weight loss. For even greater benefits, go outside in nature to let fresh air and sunshine boost your mood. Simple activities like daily walking are accessible to employees at every fitness level, and can create a culture of health in your workplace. Encouraging healthy physical activity at work is easy. Below, we share several proven strategies.
Creative Ways to Encourage Walking at Work
Walking can become part of your workplace culture no matter your budget or employees’ current fitness level. Here are a few ways to easily add more activity to your employees’ workday routines.
Walk during video calls: Set an example of walking while on calls, either outside (when appropriate) or using devices like walking pads. And start at the top: if employees see managers and leaders walking, they’ll feel encouraged to do the same.
Provide info on local walking paths: Help employees be active during their breaks by sharing information about local walking paths. You could even put signs up near your workplace to create your own ‘walking trail’ just outside your office doors. Encourage remote employees to find walking paths near their homes with sites like AllTrails.
Make it a game: Nothing encourages activity quite like healthy competition! Incentivize walking by giving points to those who reach a certain number of steps per day, or create teams and give a prize to the team who gets the most steps. Simple rewards like the best parking spaces, a healthy lunch or their picture on a ‘wall of fame’ are effective motivators!
Take the stairs: Encourage stair use by placing posters in locations that lead employees toward the stairwell. We know of a company that put framed artwork made by employees’ children by the stairs to encourage employees to walk past them every day. Feel free to get creative!
Host walking challenges at work: Walking challenges create a healthy sense of competition, boost morale, and strengthen work relationships. Keep it simple by encouraging employees to get up to 10,000 steps per day, or host a fun virtual-adventure walking challenge like the ones listed below.
Use a comprehensive, integrated wellness platform: Take your step challenges a step farther by incorporating everything into a single wellness platform. With every aspect of your wellness programming accessible behind one single log-in, participants can tracks steps, get communications, complete HRAs, consolidate their data, and receive personalized guidance to reinforce healthy behaviors - all in one place. It makes the wellness experience seamless and removes barriers to participation.
How Step Challenges Get People Moving
In our hybrid/remote culture, a fully virtual wellness platform is one of the best ways to increase participation in wellness and make programs accessible for employees no matter where in the world they're working.
Count Steps: Almost everyone needs to get more exercise, and walking is one of the easiest ways to do it. Adding a little more walking every day can make a huge difference. Just a 20-minute walk around the block will bring you up to the recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-level activity per week.
Motivate: What makes challenges so motivating? They put a number on our physical activity efforts. A realistic and beneficial goal is between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day. On average, 2,000 steps equals about a mile. You may be surprised how quickly steps add up by daily activity like walking in the office, through grocery store, and around the block!
Create healthy competition: To reinforce tracking daily steps or other forms of physical activity, offer incentives for reaching a daily or weekly goal. Simple incentives often work best – recognition in your monthly staff newsletter, a free healthy lunch, or the opportunity to choose the next wellness challenge may be all that you need to spark some competition.
Increase participation: Wearable step counters and even basic pedometers are options that can help reinforce your walking challenge. CoreHealth’s platform allows users to track their progress while accessing every other part of your wellness program too, in the ready-to-use, virtual walking challenges below.
Ready-to-Use Walking Challenges
Lots of companies create their own walking challenges by setting a worksite goal (say, of 9,000 steps per day) and offering incentives to those who reach it. There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of programs – they can be a great starting place for wellness. But after a few weeks employees generally lose interest and participation drops. For long-term behavior change and improved health outcomes, choose challenges that are designed to effectively change health behavior and keep participants engaged year after year.
CoreHealth has done the legwork for you by creating fun, virtual challenges based on tracking steps or other forms of physical activity. These integrate into your comprehensive wellness program to create a robust wellness offering for your workforce. By offering different walking challenges throughout your wellness program, you’ll keep employees engaged and consistently participating in activity. Here are a few of our step-based challenges:
- Around the World: Grab your compass and map, and get ready for an epic journey around the world!
- Amazing America: Experience the splendor of the beautiful US in this virtual challenge.
- Mystery Fitness Challenge: Solve a mystery as you track your activity and take a virtual walk through London, finding clues along the way.
- Route 66: This 2,100-mile (3,400km) virtual journey begins in Chicago, winds along Route 66 through different states to finish in Santa Monica, California.
- Lost City Trek: Journey to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida in the jungles of South America.
- Tour de France: Follow a Tour de France route by tracking daily walking or activity.
- The Night Before Christmas: Watch for the map pop-ups along Santa’s route to learn about how different countries around the world celebrate the winter holidays!
There are lots of fun ways to engage your team (including remote, hybrid and in-person employees) in activity challenges that are easy to implement and track, with the help of a comprehensive wellness platform. If you're looking to boost the physical activity of your workforce, contact us to learn how our wellness platform gives you full control to design, deliver and administer all your wellbeing programs - including challenges for nutrition, physical activity, mental health, financial wellness, and more.
About CoreHealth Technologies
CoreHealth by Carebook is a total well-being company trusted by global companies to power their health and wellness programs. Our wellness portals help maximize health, engagement, and productivity for over 3.5 million employees worldwide. We believe people are the driving force of organizations and supporting them to make behavior changes to improve employee health is in everyone’s best interest. With the most flexibility, customizations, and integrations of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s all-in-one wellness platform helps achieve great wellness outcomes.
From simple to sophisticated, it's up to you. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website.
About The Author
Laura Neuffer, MSc has 10+ years of experience in worksite wellness implementation, research, and content design.