Workplace Wellness

The Wonders of Walking for Employee Health

Written by Maria

As the new year approaches, many people will be motivated to start exercising. Employee health, and wellness in the workplace should be a major focus of any employer. Additionally, now is the time you will want to help motivate these new healthy habits. Studies have shown that maintaining fitness levels can often be more difficult that initially committing to exercise. Many studies have cited that 50% of people who start an exercise program will drop out within 6 months. There are numerous factors that contribute to these low attrition rates, including:

  • Cost of fitness equipment or membership
  • Previous or possible injury
  • Perceived difficulty of the activity (for example, “I’m a terrible swimmer, so I would be embarrassed to go to the pool.”)
  • Time constraints (for example, “I have to drop my kids off at school in the morning, so there’s no time to go to the gym.”)

Fortunately, as an employer, there is a simple solution: encourage walking. Walking is an great answer to improving employee health. Walking is free. Encouraging employees to take more steps throughout the day requires only a good pair of walking shoes. While some people will want to purchase workout clothes, or specialty shoes, this is far from necessary. A comfortable pair of tennis shoes will work.

Walking also has very low rates of injury

Injury rates for walking are extremely low compared to running. Running is a great sport for mental and physical health, but some people may find it too strenuous or difficult. This is especially true for employees who are overweight, not very active, or have a pre-existing injury. Walking is something that can be encouraged with very little risk.

Walking is easy!

Employees are already doing it, they only have to be encouraged to do it more. They will therefore not have the same mental barriers or insecurities. There are no rules to learn, no social pressure, and no prior fitness level required.

You can walk whenever you want

Unlike a fitness facility, there are no time constraints on when you can exercise if you walk. You can walk indoors, outside, or on a treadmill. It doesn’t matter where employees are taking their steps, just that they are doing it.

So what’s next?

Now that you know that walking is a quick and painless solution to improving health, you should encourage employees to track their walking through a fitness device or app and reward them for it. At IncentFit we have rewards programs tailored around this. One of our clients has decided to pay its employees to walk more than the recommended 10,000 steps every day, essentially rewarding them for their extra effort. If this seems too high, ask your employees how active they are, and design a program around encouraging them to go the extra mile. You’ll soon see significant improvements in employee health, productivity, and morale. Click here to find our how our rewards programs can work for you!

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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