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Challenging Employees to Maximize Their Fitness

Elise Alft

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Intouch’s health and wellness program, Healthy You, is already making a big difference in employees’ lives. The fitness committee created and implemented a couple of instrumental initiatives to encourage healthier living, including an opportunity to participate in a health assessment and a Fitbit® Step Challenge.

Health Assessment Changes a Life

Byron Hester, senior front-end developer, mobile applications, said, "The health assessment maybe saved my life."

During his health assessment Byron discovered that he had abnormally high glucose levels — so high, in fact, the health practitioners running the program encouraged him to call 911. Byron subsequently met with his doctor who told him he was pre-diabetic, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since Type 2 Diabetes runs in his family, Byron was immediately concerned and decided to make some significant lifestyle changes.

His first step was to ratchet down his soda intake. He also started eating healthier and taking on more physical activity, like doing his own yard work and mowing, instead of hiring it out.

"One of the great things about the program is I was provided with a dietician and coach, who helped me understand good eating habits and track my goals. Once I hit a goal, like not drinking anymore soda, it really motivated me to do more

Byron has lost weight, brought his glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers back into the normal range and plans to join a gym next month. His family has come along the journey with him, so they are eating healthier at home and his son even lost weight.

"And that’s how a health assessment changed the life of Byron," he joked.

Step-by-step Motivation

With an overall goal to encourage active lifestyles, the Fitbit Step Challenge urged Intouchers to take at least 10,000 steps each day. More than 145 associates participated in the Step Challenge, and they found some interesting new ways to increase their step count. For example, some started holding walking meetings and virtually all of them participated in National Walk at Lunch day.

Nobody embraced the Challenge quite like Donna Cunning, proofreader, based in the Chicago office. "I walk to and from work every day, so I already had a walking-oriented lifestyle," said Donna. "I was really motivated by the Step Challenge, and decided to take on two new habits at once. I joined in the Challenge with the proofreading team, and joined a gym at the same time."

Donna started walking all the time. She took the stairs, paced in front of the elevator, and hit the gym up to six times a week. "I really took the opportunity to step up my fitness," said Donna. "The Fitbit became like a best friend. The friendly competition really motivated me, and tracking what I was doing motivated me even more."

Associates asked Donna how she did it. She was averaging 25,000 to 30,000 steps a day, and was inspired to do even more. "I really liked that the program was long enough — from February through April — for us to develop new habits,” she explained. “It gave people time to get up to speed and really get in a rhythm."

Donna still walks to and from work, and she’s been working out with a trainer to continue improving her fitness. She’s also looking forward to the fall fitness challenge at Intouch. Her best friend the Fitbit, though, has not fared so well. After tracking more than 2.3 million of Donna’s steps in less than four months, the battery died.

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