by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

The mountain of evidence for the beneficial effects of walking is too high to ignore. The data is so overwhelming that you could make a case for wellness programs to narrow their focus and direct the most resources toward getting the population to take a daily 30-minute walk (read our white paper: Walking: The Health and Economic Impact, v2.0).

Walking is probably the easiest, most cost-efficient activity any organization can support for better health. Almost 100% of the population can do it — requiring only comfortable shoes, a place to walk, and the time. If you’re not putting a major emphasis on walking in your well-being program, do it now. Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Walking shorts. For many sedentary people, carving even 30 minutes out of their day is too much of a commitment at first. So encourage them to take short walks of as few as 10 minutes. Print small “walking shorts” cards they can use to record strolls of 10 minutes or more and deposit in drop boxes around work areas. Hold a weekly drawing for a random prize that supports continued walking.
  • Walk this weigh. Implement a weight management program, with 90% of its focus on walking. Keep the nutrition part of it very simple, by suggesting more water, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Step-based promotions. Device and pedometer-based walking programs are infectious. As people see others wearing their device, they want to know more. Consider a theme that concentrates on steps, not distance or pace, to encourage more participants.
  • Walks of life. Walking can be therapeutic, almost spiritual. Encouraging individuals to use their walk time to reflect on life’s meaning, purpose, and value is an ideal way to support physical and spiritual health.
  • Walking routes. This idea is as old as wellness, but it’s surprising how few programs maintain walking routes for main work locations. Simply posting 1- to 5-mile routes at building entrances can encourage walking. Or use to create and share walking routes at all work locations.
  • If the shoe fits… They’re more likely to keep walking. People who suddenly take up walking can be turned off by ill-fitting, uncomfortable shoes. Kick off new walking initiatives with a seminar by a shoe expert. 
  • Shoe me the money. Negotiate discounts or coupons from local walking shoe vendors in exchange for free advertising in conjunction with a new walking initiative.
  • Charity walk. Host or participate in a walk to raise money for a local charity. Set goals for participation, mileage, and dollars. 
  • Who’s your buddy? Encourage partner walks by awarding random monthly prizes to those who walk together at least 10 times.
  • Follow the leader. Recruit executives to rotate in leading a weekly or monthly walk. Make it an event complete with a group photo posted on your website and a few door prizes. 
  • Seasonal promotions. Walktober, Walk Into Winter, Spring Shuffle, Summer Stroll… you get the idea. 

The list could go on… but the point is that walking has emerged as such an important health-inducing activity; it just makes sense to direct a large share of resources to get your poplulation walking more. For an easy-to-implement, can’t-miss campaign, check out today.

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