Wellness at Work: Walking Wednesdays

Yesterday I worked out of our Fall River site, which may sound like a pain because it’s a much longer commute from the Boston area, but I don’t mind it because it’s a nice excuse to see my family that lives down there.  After my work day, I met up with Papou and Auntie Paula at the new Jerry Remy’s.

Fall River

Papou2

I ordered a delicious summer berry salad to start.  I haven’t had poppyseed dressing in so long!  I also enjoyed a turkey burger (sans bun) and some sweet potato fries.  Yum.

Jerry Remy's Berry Salad

Jerry Remy's Turkey Burger

It was nice to catch up with my family.  Auntie Paula and I spent a lot of time talking about work site wellness programs, as she has been tasked with creating a wellness program at her work as well.  We talked not only about different ideas we’re each trying to carry out, but we also talked a lot about resistance.  We mentioned the barriers and challenges that I’m sure every company faces in the infancy of their wellness programs (executive buy in, worries about cost, what’s the long-term benefit), but we actually spent quite some time discussing resistance at the staff level.

For example, Auntie Paula recently created a lunchtime wellness event that she dubbed the “lunchtime walk, run, or jog.”  She made signs, everyone seemed excited about the hype, and then guess what?  A whopping one person showed up.

How sad.  But I think this happens often.  Of course, if a wellness culture is promoted from the top down at a company it’s probably not as bad, but people always have an excuse to make.  That’s what happened with Auntie Paula – she heard it all!  It’s too hot.  It’s too cold.  It’s raining.  I’m tired today.  I’m busy today.  I forgot my sneakers.  Maybe tomorrow.  Monday.  But is there really anything truly magic about Monday?  There’s always going to be something you could make an excuse over.  Self included!

don't make excuses make progress

It’s mind-boggling to me the excuses people are willing to make, whether it be in regards to a work site wellness program, cooking a healthy meal at home, or actually using a gym membership.  I’m even going to go out on a limb and say that in the time spent making excuses, someone could go for a ten minute brisk walk and complete 1/3 of their recommended daily physical activity for the day! Nevermind the benefits they’d feel in terms of productivity, energy levels, stress levels… the list goes on.  Or if you add up the time spent on the Internet, yakking away, in the lunch line, etc…. don’t complain to me about not having time.

its-not-about-having-time-its-about-making-time

Oy!  I could go on and on about this all day because it drives me nutsBut that would be negative, and I’m here to encourage and foster excitement and passion for a healthy lifestyle, not gripe.  So instead I will tell you that the key with obtaining buy-in from those who make excuses all the time is accepting them where they are.  Accepting that they simply aren’t ready for big changes or commitment.  And that’s where starting small with something manageable is key for lasting changes.  This is a key component behind the beauty of wellness coaching.  And it works.

Instead of hosting a big lunchtime event, or pushing for activity every day, I have recently implemented “Walking Wednesdays” with my group at work.  I try to increase my steps in many other ways during my workday, but for those that need that extra push, Walking Wednesdays is just once a week and provides a group camaraderie and motivation aspect.  And you just have to know how to respond to the excuses.

No time?  Use it as an opportunity to discuss an upcoming project or brainstorm with a co-worker.
Raining?  Let’s take the indoor route instead.
Not ready for stairs?  Walk a lap around the building, take one flight today.  Next week, go for two.
Too cold?  Here, you can borrow my jacket.
Have another meeting then?  I’ll go with you now instead so you don’t have to miss out.

You also have to know when to just let something be.  Please don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no issue at all with people just starting out, at a beginner level, inexperienced, whatever.  I don’t care if you are the fittest person in the entire world or if you’ve never worn a pair of sneakers in your entire life.  I just get frustrated when people don’t just try… because in all aspects of life, not even just in regards to wellness, just trying and giving something your best is SO important.

I’ve said before that one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to get people up and moving more is simply by walking.

meditech

And I’ll be out there, every Wednesday (at least).  Work friends, I hope you’ll join me.

Do you know anyone that always makes excuses?  Do any of you work for companies that offer wellness programs?  If so, I’d love to connect and find out more about what’s offered, challenges faced, and get some new ideas!

For more of my “Wellness at Work” series, check out these posts:

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12 thoughts on “Wellness at Work: Walking Wednesdays

  1. No excuses! Everyone has to start somewhere, if you feel bad about not keeping up, we have all been there! I personally love to see new people at the gym, walking, running, taking the stairs, etc. Good for you, it is never too late to start.

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  2. I’d come walk with you! Actually, better yet, I’ll bring you my dog every Wednesday. No better way to get out there and walk than to get a dog!

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  3. I think you pointed out really good ways to “start small” with regards to adding in more fitness in the work environment. It’s SO easy for people to make excuses, so I think it’s nice that you listed out ways to get around them. The “it’s not about HAVING time. It’s about MAKING time” is one of my favorite fitness quotes. People think I am crazy for getting up early to workout before work or an event, but that is how I MAKE time for it. I’m not going to skip out on workouts just because something has come up after work. If that were the case, I think I could find excuses for “something to come up” every night after work. Fitness doesn’t come easily, it requires time and dedication and has to become a part of your life and day in order to make it really work. Once people “start small” and realize how great it is, they’ll shift their mindset, too! Great post!

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  4. Athena, The walk, jog, run program at my school is scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays AFTER school. A staff survey was sent out and the results showed that after school was the best time. The program is free of charge and people still don’t show up even after they tell me they will. I just think that people, especially teachers, have so much going on at this time of the year. Some people also claim to be going to the gym to workout while others say they are going to work on their golf game. Many people are pulled in so many different directions. Job demands on top of this and not enough time in a day makes it really difficult to fit in exercise at times. What seems to happen after awhile is that people tend to get in a rut and it becomes difficult to get motivated to start exercising and actually maintain a fitness regimen. Once they do get started, make the commitment, and notice they are feeling better and losing weight then it gets easier. I wish the world wasn’t so fast paced at times and busy so people could enjoy the things and special people in their lives more often. This would definitely help to relieve stress and get people to focus on their health more. I know you get upset, like I do, when people don’t make the time for wellness, but you’ll understand it much more as you get older. Marriage,taking care of children and parents, body changes, work demands, etc. takes away some of the energy to work out even when a person has all the best intentions. We need to just keep trying to motivate and provide programs and hopefully more and more people will become involved in changing their overall wellness levels. They only people we really can change are ourselves. Keep The Faith and keep steering the way to wellness.

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