NAPLES, Fla. – Health and wellness aren’t just buzz words anymore. Employers are now taking active roles in leading their workers to exercise more and to eat better.
One local government gave employees time during their work day for more activity and leaders say it’s paying off for workers and for taxpayers.
Naples city leaders started an eight week walking challenge to get their employees away from sitting at their desks for hours.
“We encouraged employees to walk at least 10,000 steps each day,” said Lori McCullers, Risk Manager for the City of Naples.
McCullers says that’s the equivalent of walking 5 miles.
”We had employees tracking their steps from the minute they got out of bed,” said McCullers.
The results were astounding. In all, 79 employees participated. That’s about 20 percent of the workforce. In eight weeks, they logged 39 million steps or 19,500 miles.
”I’ve been told that’s comparable to walking to Australia and back,” said McCullers.
Workers even made a video of their journey to show that fitness can be fun.
“Once you start, you just feel better about yourself,” said Naples City worker, Kelly Lee. “You’re healthier. You’ve got more energy.”
The walking program is just one of many the city started to help make their employees healthier. In the past six years, the city has seen healthcare costs decrease by 12 percent.
“Many of the employees that participated are still wearing our pedometers and you hear many employees saying ‘well, how many steps did you get today?'” said McCullers.
The American Heart Association says by walking 30 minutes each day, people can reduce their blood pressure, risk of coronary disease, maintain their body weight and enhance their mental well being.