Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reaching Out to Families

I've been thinking about ways to involve the family members of our staff in our wellness program. I know that an individual's social network can have a profound impact on their health which is a point in a book I'm reading now, Connected. We dipped our toes in these waters when we conducted a smoking cessation program in 2007. We figured it would be extraordinarly difficult to quit smoking if you live with people that smoke, so we encouraged our staff to quit with their family members. Anecdotally, we know that some of our Biggest Loser program spilled over into the participants' families. Now I'm thinking about more formally involving families in our Biggest Mover campaign.

We're using the President's Challenge site to record activities. Participants will join the "ASHA Team" and a smaller workplace team modeled after our Biggest Loser team structure. I think I can also create an "ASHA Friends and Family Team" and encourage staff to involve their families. We have a rarely used ASHA Staff Facebook page, so I'm considering opening it up and using it to communicate health and wellness information. I plan to meet with our social media guru, Maggie McGary, tomorrow to talk about this.

Involving friends, family and community in workplace wellness was the topic of today's #co_health tweet chat. The participants generated enough ideas to lengthen my "to do" list considerably. You can use that link to review a recap and a transcript of the conversation when it's posted.

Please share your ideas for how we can involve the families of our staff in our wellness program.

Friday, April 16, 2010

681 Pounds Lighter

We kicked off yesterday's closing celebration with a video of images from the team challenges set to the tune of Proud, the theme song from the Biggest Loser. We had a lot to be proud of and celebrate. Our 95 Biggest Loser participants lost an average of 7.2 pounds.
25 (29 unofficial)* participants lost more than 10 lbs; of those
  • 14 (17 unofficial) participants lost more than 15 lbs
  • 3 participants lost more than 20 lbs
  • 1 participant lost more than 30 lbs
Our winning male lost 7.7% of his weight and our winning female lost 12.5% of her weight. The Healthy Divas, the team that came out on top, lost 122 pounds between 8 people for a total weight loss of 7.7%.

During the celebration we passed out participant reports from the final screenings and people were proudly showing me that their cholesterol had dropped 40 and 50 points. We are still compiling all the biometric data and we're conducting a closing survey with the particpants, so stay tuned for lots more good information to come.

*We have both "official" records that were kept by Lifeworks Strategies and "unofficial" records that the particpants self reported weekly. Unfortunately, we had some people that did not complete the final screening, so that creates a bit of a discrepancy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Biggest Loser -- The Final Team Challenge

Our Biggest Loser participants completed their final Team Challenge on a sunny Friday afternoon. True Athlete Performance planned and executed the event for us. Here are the descriptions of the challenges.

Team Broad Jump Challenge:

Fitness Components Tested: Total Body Power, Strength, Speed

For this challenge, team members collectively broad jumped for a total of 100 feet. A broad jump is a 2-foot jump from a stand-still position. Once one participant landed, the next teammate would jump from that spot. This continued until the team collectively jumped past the 100 foot mark, staying in the same jumping order throughout.

Wall Sit Challenge:

Fitness Components Tested: Lower Body Strength, Core Stability

For this challenge, partipants from each team all performed a wall sit for as long as possible, keeping their legs at a 90 degree angle and their backs flat against the wall. During this collective wall sit, 3 separate 25 pound plates had to stay off the ground. So, once only one person remained, they held all 3 plates to finish the event. The highest individual time for the team was recorded, and then team bonsues were added for benchmarks met by other members of the team in time.

Balance Relay Challenge:

Fitness Components Tested: Balance, Coordination, Core Strength, Ankle/Knee Stability

This challenge involved every team member walking along a path of balance domes. Team members had to cross to the other side one at a time, and had to start over if they fell at any time. All participants could receive assistance except for the last person in the room. The team with the lowest total time won this event.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From the Biggest Loser to the Biggest Mover

We are 10 weeks into our 12 week Biggest Loser Campaign and I’m starting to focus on what’s next. We are planning a four month healthy activities campaign (aka Biggest Mover) beginning May 1st. This campaign will focus on getting people to move more whether they are active already or sedentary. We’re thinking a lot about how we transition participants in the Biggest Loser into the Biggest Mover. The team component of our Biggest Loser campaign has worked very well, so we want to give people the option of keeping their Biggest Loser teams together. We’re also going to encourage people to form teams around a specific activity like swimming, biking, golf or dog walking. We just need to figure out how to let the team structure grow organically while still facilitating a process where everyone that wants to be is placed on a team.

We’d like to hold a few new trial exercise classes. (Does anyone know a good hip hop instructor?) We are also making plans with True AP to hold a Frisbee golf tournament. I would like to do something in conjunction with the community center to get our staff to visit there and see what they offer too.

Throughout the Biggest Loser Campaign participants have had to enter their weight anonymously on our intranet site. This has helped to keep folks accountable and allowed us to declare weekly winners. We want to do something similar for our Health Activity Campaign and the President’s Challenge might fit the bill. People can create an activity log and then accumulate points based on the energy expenditure for each activity. Participants can earn Presidential Champion Awards based on the number of points they achieve. We can order medallions, lapel pins and certificates to present to people. I’ve already set up a group and it looks like it will be pretty easy to pull participant reports. This should allow us to recognize both individual and team achievements.

I’ve been experimenting a bit with People here are such good sports. I sent out challenges to folks and without even questioning me they were doing wall sits, jumping jacks, rolling tennis balls under their feet, and standing on their heads. I thought team members might be able to use this to challenge each other to get up from their desks for a few minutes during the work day.

We’ve also talked about doing a field day like competition at the end of the campaign and posting a tip of the day to our intranet. Do you have any suggestions for us?