Story by Lissette Minges, TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist
The WalkTober Steps Challenge is a physical activity program to engage businesses in the Stillwater community with a business-to-business competition. The importance of physical activity is not solely for those in training or for athletes. It is important for all individuals to have regular physical activity on a weekly basis. The importance of physical activity in the workplace is immense for employees and employers! Healthy employees take fewer sick days, are more productive and are generally happier, too. For employers, this means more efficiency, more profitability, and a better work environment, which could attract new employees and new business. According to Shape Your Future, a program of TSET, worksite wellness programs are a great way to improve the health of Oklahoma’s workforce. Below are some tips to promote an active lifestyle in the workplace:
- Encourage employees to walk more and take the stairs.
- Supply resistance bands for some moderate activity.
- Start a wellness committee or a walking group.
- Allow flexible work and lunch schedules.
- Encourage employees to take lunch break workouts.
- Select worksites near walking trails and fitness centers.
The Payne County LiveWell Coalition wanted to continue its efforts to help your business get moving and begin to be more active in and out of the workplace. The committee is holding its second annual Stillwater-wide steps challenge for the month of October. WalkTober will begin on October 1st and run through October 31st. The winning team will be announced the first week of November including the reception of the traveling championship trophy. Each team will be collectively trying to outstep other Stillwater businesses with the number of steps gained for the month! There will be weekly prize drawings, an interactive Facebook group for all competitors, and a Kick-off Event right before the challenge. The challenge will be offered through a paid platform in order to track teams registered and steps for each individual participant. This platform offers the ability for a participant to manually input their steps or sync to a smartphone or wearable device.
In its first year in 2018, the challenge had 116 participants from twelve different businesses in Stillwater, traveling a total of over 13,000 miles. The goal is to grow the challenge in 2019 by participants and sponsors to make it a sustainable challenge within the community. By increasing the number of participants and businesses involved, the hope is that the impact would be larger for increasing physical activity in the business sector of Stillwater. This would then encourage employees to be less sedentary and for employers to see the benefits of increased physical activity among their employees. In Payne County, the physical activity prevalence for adults is 79.6%, above the state outcome of 71.5% according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health 2018 County Profile. The county is also performing better than the state outcome in obesity, diabetes, and hypertension prevalence. It is believed that with a continued increase in physical activity across the county, this trend will continue in a positive direction. The Payne County LiveWell Coalition feels that the WalkTober Steps Challenge assists in this endeavor. Registration will be open for this event beginning in August and closing September 6th! Please follow our Facebook page at PayneCtyHLP for more information and links.