With most employers paying at least a third more for employee health benefits than they did just five years ago, it has become obvious that the only way to slow this trend is to keep people healthy so that they stay out of the health care system. In an effort to get people on a path to better health, more and more organizations are emphasizing the benefits of walking. Ease, convenience and little or no start-up cost make walking a great way to incorporate wellness and fitness into the workday.
Here are a few things to think about if walking sounds good to you:
- In contrast to many wellness programs, walking can be voluntary, with support given to those who want to participate.
- You may want to think about holding weekly meetings to encourage participation, boost interest and help identify more ways to build more movement into everyone’s day.
- Setting a goal, such as walking 10,000 steps a day, is very realistic when you consider that many people can walk at work, at home and in between.
- Depending on your facilities, people can walk indoors and out. Hallways or a large training room can provide a viable option when it’s cold or rainy outdoors.
- People can walk during their breaks and it just may add energy and clarity to team meetings or small group discussions.
One of the best reasons to consider walking for wellness is that a program can be maintained without spending a lot of money. Progress can be measured, incentives can be added and over time, conditions such as high blood pressure can often be brought under control. Walking is also a perfect program to pair with other engaging wellness initiatives such as onsite health screenings. As office visits and the use of prescription drugs are reduced, future costly claims may be avoided. And that, after all, is the key to lowering health care costs.