Creating a wellness program for a company without one can be so darn, well, corporate. Perhaps there is a committee, then plenty of planning, bit of budgeting, maybe marketing, engaging employees, and who knows what more. However, this is not the case for all wellness programs to be sure. Another approach to immediately and simply implement a company health program is to organize health challenges.
Just Do Something
If a wellness program smacks of too much formality, the important thing is to try something, anything for that matter. Alarmism? Yes, it is.
Winning With Wellness, a 2016 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report provided a blueprint for designing a workplace wellness program. The amazing aspect of this brochure was not in the steps to build a program, however good (for this piece is about health challenges not wellness programs per se), but in the health statistics found throughout.
- “As of 2012, 117 million Americans have one or more chronic illnesses, which account for 75 percent of all health care costs and 70 percent of deaths in the United States.”
- “(CDC) estimates that nearly 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes. Yet less than 10 percent of people with prediabetes are aware of their condition.”\
- “…approximately 80% of the population is not ready to take action to change their health behaviors at any given time.”
- “…there are five behaviors that mitigate chronic disease: (1) Walking 30 minutes a day, (2) eating healthy, (3) not smoking, (4) having a waist size that is less than half of your height, and (5) drinking alcohol only in moderation. If an individual engages in these five behaviors, they typically spend 33 percent to 50 percent less on health care costs compared with people who have health risks.”
Statistics one through three reveal the depth of the problem. Statistic three reveals that however difficult, solutions are not unattainable nor complex.
Workplace Health Challenges
The purpose of health challenges is to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors. They are very de-centralized—anyone can initiate or run the challenges—and they can be entirely free.
When workplace health challenges are underway, no one ever knows if the supportive environment of the challenge can create a permanent lifestyle change in a participant. However, even without this, these health challenges generate comraderie, productivity, and overall workforce health. Here are a few health challenge ideas:
Cardio/Strength Health Challenges
- Choose a different aerobic activity each day for a month.
- Walk a mile with co-workers during lunch.
- Sign up for community events such as a 5k walk/run with co-workers.
- Count the number of stairs climbed over a given time period.
- Receive a point every time you substitute stairs for the elevator for an entire quarter.
Nutrition Health Challenges
- Bring a homemade and healthy lunch for an entire month.
- Drink eight glasses of water every day for a month.
- Eat five servings of vegetables and fruits every day for two weeks.
- Quit drinking all forms of soda for a set period.
Weight Health Challenges
- Who can lose the most weight?
- Who can lose the most inches around the waist?
- Who can lose the most BMI?
Might as Well Make the Best of It
How many workers spend over 40 hours at work each week? Over 90 percent. When you calculate the amount of your total life time spent between work’s four walls, you might as well make the best of it. You have time to improve your lifestyle habits and health behaviors. And with a group of motivated co-workers at hand, you have a built-in support and motivational community for the picking.
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