About a month ago, a wellness committee was formed at our office and they initiated a walking challenge. Being the competitive spirit that I am, I signed up right away! After all, I’m a young professional, mom of a toddler, and wife. I put in MANY steps in a day – or so I thought.
To help motivate and educate our staff, the committee emailed out some statistics. One infographic in particular caught my attention. It included the following stats:
- People with sitting jobs have 2x the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.
HOLY CRAP! I already have a strong history of heart problems in my family!
- As soon as you sit:
- Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off.
No wonder my leg muscles are weak!
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute.
At this point, I put down my latte.
- Enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%.
Was that latte non-fat?
- After 2 hours of sitting good cholesterol drops 20%.
Oh no! I sit for 4 hours at a time at work…
Needless to say, this got me thinking. I know I have a family history of health problems, and, I guess I do SIT a lot at work. So, I figured I could stand to make a few changes.
Then, the wellness committee handed out pedometers. We were supposed to track our steps on a daily basis and record them. To help us understand what our counts meant, they shared this:
- Less than 5,000 steps/day = SEDENTARY
- 5,000-7,499 = Low Active
- 7,500-9,999= Somewhat Active
- 10,000-12,499= Active
- 12,500+ = Highly Active
And so, we all began tracking our steps. On Monday morning, with much enthusiasm, I slipped my pedometer on my waist and began my typical daily routine: get ready, get toddler ready, get toddler to daycare, go to work. At about 10:30 a.m., I peeked at my pedometer.
TWO HUNDRED STEPS. What?! That can’t be right!
After work, I continued my routine: pick up toddler from daycare, cook supper, scrub floor where toddler ate, do dishes, chase toddler, give toddler bath, dress toddler, bedtime stories, relax with hubby, bedtime. By the end of the day, at just 800 steps, I was CONVINCED my pedometer wasn’t working. But, day two showed the same results. And so did day three. And day four. I began to think it wasn’t my PEDOMETER that was doing something wrong….
I quickly realized change wasn’t optional, it was NECESSARY. So, I began analyzing my day to figure out where I could fit in my steps WITHOUT decreasing my productivity at work. It wasn’t an easy task. I could think of just about every excuse in the world NOT to walk – no long hallways to walk at my office; it’s winter and the roads are icy so I can’t walk outside; my lunch hour isn’t long enough to cook a good meal AND walk; I have too much to do at work to take 15 minutes to do lunges, squats or jumping jacks. The excuses just kept coming.
Eventually, I sucked it up and started increasing my steps. It was as simple as pacing my office while on a phone call, taking my dog out at lunch, and doing a little cleaning each night at home. The first week of the contest, I increased my steps by 42%. Week 2, I increased my steps from my base week by 57%, and by week 3, I increase by 61%! By the end of the challenge, I had figured out easy ways to increase my steps AND I lost 3 pounds. It even led to me making healthier meal, snack and beverage choices throughout each day. Plus, I was given the Overall Improvement Award and a $10 Starbucks giftcard from the wellness committee.
Thanks to our wellness committee, I have set a new goal for myself to start exercising 3-4 nights a week. Hopefully this will bump me to the 10,000+ steps/day category!
Business owners – if you’re looking for a simple way to incorporate worksite wellness into your plan, give this a try!
Employees – don’t underestimate the influence you can have on those around you. Taking the lead on a project like this really could make a difference in someone’s life. I know it did in mine!
Marketing Coordinator, Mom, Wife & Daughter