Walking the Talk: Tips for Successful Walking Programs

Posted by: | June 6, 2011

I meet with a lot of folks from all over campus about the Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program Fund.  They are always curious about how to create a culture in their department/unit that promotes health, and it is always exciting to come up with new ideas with them.

One of the most common programs on campus is to promote walking.  We even offer a walking program twice a week (Mondays and Fridays at lunch) coordinated by two lovely volunteers (thanks Arlene and Debbie!).  Since I have worked with dozens of departments to help create successful walking program, I have learned a lot about what needs to happen to create a successful Walking Program.  So I thought I would share my tips for success:

  • Pedometers are frustrating.  Often they break. Often they don’t seem to actually measure your steps properly.  Often they fall off.  Unfortunately, it seems that even $20 pedometers break easily (and $20/person in a large department can add up to a lot of money!)  So I have started recommending to skip the pedometers.  People can now find walking routes online, track their walking routes online (Google maps is what I use), use Iphone or Blackberry apps, process the number of steps you took mileage or calories burned online, so why waste money on something that will likely break or be lost?
  • Team or duos are essential.  We all need to find someone to help motivate us to get out walking when
  • Consistency helps.  I find that I am more likely to commit to a program if I block off the time in my Outlook calendar (at least once/week). Your health is essential to your success at work- don’t forget to make health a priority in your calendar!
  • Understanding your motivation(s) and having rewards are keys to success. Also consider developing some check-in process partway through or pre and post assessment/evaluation so that you can see how much change you have accomplished (then celebrate that change!).
  • Figure out routes for good weather and bad. We do live in rainy Vancouver.
  • Focus on injury prevention, being willing to be flexible with wherever your body is at that day. You will not always have the same energy and motivation and fitness throughout the month (due to a variety of reasons).  Also keep in mind that you need reliable footwear!

Filed under: Suzanne Jolly, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Walking the Talk: Tips for Successful Walking Programs”

  1. sjolly says:

    This just came out via the UBC News Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/ubcnews) today so I thought it might be of some interest too: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/fitness/exercise/fitness-research/why-your-warm-up-may-be-hurting-your-workout/article2046712/

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