October Is Now “Walktober”!

                                                                                  Mekenzie Anderson                                                                                               Wellness Intern


Now that the fall season is upon us, it’s time to start working on that fall bucket list! Something new you may want to add to your to do list is joining in on walktober. Walktober is a 31-day challenge designed to inspire people to prioritize walking. Walking can provide several health benefits to people of all fitness levels. Not only does it improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes but it also serves as a great stress reliever. The cooler fall temps makes October a great time to lace up your shoes and get started. Walktober is a national challenge, celebrated all over the country. Below are some suggestions on how you can get involved this month.

  • Walk to work. – Ditch the traffic and enjoy a stroll to your workplace. Unable to walk to work? Try for an alternative and get your steps in during your lunch break. Get your co-workers on board and move your meetings outside. Who knows, maybe a walking meeting will spark some new creative ideas. If you live in the city and use public transportation get off a few stops early and walk the remainder of your trip.
  • Create a challenge at work. – Encourage employees to participate in the fun by providing an incentive or a prize. Create a fun hashtag for participants to use when posting on social media. This may add some extra motivation.
  • Go on a color tour. – Gather some friends and family for a hike at a local park. Schedule it when the leaves are in peak season to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Get involved in a community walking events. Check your local running/walking shoe store and ask about upcoming events taking place.
  • Track your progress. – There are numerous apps with tracking capabilities but one of the most popular is the Fitbit app. Don’t have a Fitbit device? No problem, the app will use a motion sensor in your smartphone to estimate your steps. Some of the features include time elapsed, average pace, and calories burned. The app also allows you to virtually race and challenge your friends.

There are several different ways to incorporate walking into your everyday life. Challenge yourself this month to get outdoors and be more active. Walktober is the perfect time to start!

Wellness on a Budget


Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC, Wellness Account Manager

When I was acquiring my certification as a Certified Worksite Wellness Program Manager at the National Wellness Conference in Minneapolis, MN, our two-day intensive class consisted of professionals like myself sharing their experiences and struggles in wellness.  One topic of discussion that was clearly a concern for HR and wellness professionals was the lack of a budget.  Conversations were that “my wellness program isn’t successful because we don’t have the money to do things”.  Bravely, a wellness coordinator from Saudi Arabia raised her hand, stood up and said, “Our company is massive.  The amount of figures in my wellness budget would sicken you, it’s so much.  We have all the money you could want and our program. isn’t. working.”  She opened everyone’s eyes to show that it’s not a hefty budget that makes a wellness program successful.  It’s the cohesion of your programs.  It’s the creativity of your people and your vendor.  It’s your leadership team’s public support in your efforts (NOT through finances, but by example).  It’s these things that give your wellness program a personality and your workplace a culture.

Since 2001, Health Plan Advocate has been providing corporate wellness programs.  Although we provide services that require a budget, we also work as consultants in sharing our ideas and experiences with the hopes that your wellness program will be the most successful it can be.  Here are 5 of our budget-friendly wellness ideas:

  1.  Wellness Committees.  If you don’t have a wellness committee, you should.  Sure you may have to pay these employees for their time on your committee during the work shift, but these are the people who are out in the workplace who know what will work and what won’t.  They will also be your CREATIVE TEAM!  As a client of HPA’s, we can run these committees for you, we can sit on them consistently to offer our experiences, or we can do a one time visit – whichever you prefer!
  2. Health Fair.  This is one of my favorites.  All you have to do is pick the date and time.  Your benefit vendors, local health food stores, hospitals, gyms, and more show up and do all the work for you!  It’s about introducing local resources to your employees to support them in your journey.  Vendors will typically provide decent door prizes, too.
  3. Parking Tickets.  During the warmer months, take a trip once a week (or as frequently as you’d like) into your parking lot.  On the cars parked the farthest away, leave them a “parking ticket”.  On that ticket, it will tell the employee that they have parked HEALTHILY and once they collect 3 tickets, they can turn them in to you to claim their prize.  This can be something tangible and low budget like a water bottle, t-shirt (it’s amazing what people will do for trinkets!), or something non tangible like a free jean day, or 4 hours of PTO, whatever you’d like!
  4. Healthy Selfies.  We have to give credit to one of the agencies we work with for coming up with this one.  They had their employees submit “Healthy Selfies” – photos of themselves doing something healthy.  After collecting photos, they sent them out to their staff to vote on their favorites.  Not only did they have fun with it (and was it completely FREE), but it allowed employees to see all the other fantastic healthy things their peers were doing, were able to share about this great fitness class they were a part of, share their favorite walking route, and more!
  5. Scavenger Hunt.  Have your committee (or some fantastic volunteers) stand at different points of your facility or campus with a clue directing participants to their next destination (ever seen The Amazing Race?) but they have to answer a health and wellness trivia question to earn their next clue  Once they reach their final destination, they can earn a trinket or maybe everyone who completes it goes into a drawing to win a day of PTO, tshirts, gift cards – whatever you prefer!

I could go on all day with budget friendly wellness ideas, but I’ll stop here.  Talk to Health Plan Advocate to see how we can help you with your program!