It’s common for companies to offer walking programs as part of their wellness offerings. Walking has numerous health benefits, is free and is accessible to almost everyone regardless of their fitness level. Walking programs usually consist of logging the number of steps taken per day. Here are 10 ways to spice up your company’s walking program that vary from achieving a certain amount of steps on a daily basis.
- Walk to an exotic location. Does your company have an office in Tokyo? Challenge your employees to log their steps and cumulatively walk the distance to Tokyo (and vice versa for the office abroad). Or in honor of an occasion like St. Patrick’s Day, challenge your office to walk the amount of steps equivalent to traveling to Ireland.
- Encourage intervals. Walking at variable speeds can boost metabolism. Create sample interval workouts and send them to employees. An example of an interval workout is walking fast for a minute followed by walking at a slower pace for 30 seconds and repeating 20 times.
- Prompt employees to take the stairs. A 150-pound person walking up stairs for a half-hour burns about 100 calories more than walking at a moderate pace. As an added educational component, you could track down staircases employees can climb at nearby parks, high school stadiums and other locations. Walking up inclines is another great option; it strengthens the glutes.
- Urge employees to get their steps outdoors as opposed to on a treadmill. According to research, time spent in nature can decrease stress and negative ruminating, increase cognitive functioning and short-term memory, boost creativity, and may even make people nicer. Create a list of nature hikes throughout the community, especially paths close to the office so employees can retreat for a rejuvenating walk during their lunchtime.
- Motivate employees to sign up for a walking event, preferably one that would spur them to reach a distance that pushes their limit, such as a 10K. According to research, setting goals increases motivation. If possible, cover or subsidize the entry fee and provide a training plan. You can also send out a race calendar to notify employees of events taking place throughout the year. Or select a race and make it a company event; inspire co-workers to participate in a race that supports a good cause.
- Recommend rucking. Rucking involves walking with a weighted backpack, or ruck sack (where it gets its name). American soldiers have been doing this for years as part of their training. It can strengthen oft-neglected muscles and torch hundreds of calories more than walking alone.
- Set up a buddy system. Working out with others often provides added motivation. Set up a program where employees can be randomly paired to go for walks every week. It is a great way for people to meet across departments (and find out what each other does). It provides an opportunity for employees to be active and interact with co-workers they wouldn’t normally meet. This may also help participants gain a better understanding of the company as a whole.
- Create a sample treadmill workout employees can do to amp up their regular routine for days when walking indoors is preferred due to inclement weather. It could include walking at various speeds and inclines, walking backward (to work different muscles) and walking sideways (leading with various legs). It should include a warmup and cool down as well.
- Provide mindfulness exercises participants can do for added mental wellness and stress relief while they work to achieve their step goals.
- Drive your co-workers to go the distance. Create long walking routes they can tackle on weekends. This may include longer nature hikes or a walking tour of a nearby historical town. Devise routes that will take at least an hour to complete to help employees build their endurance.