In March, Remi introduced the company’s first Wellness Initiative that centered on using a Fitbit. Fitbit is a wearable fitness device that was built on the idea that fitness is not just about the gym. It’s all the time. “When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, steps are just the beginning. Fitbit tracks every part of your day—including activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep—to help you find your fit, stay motivated, and see how small steps make a big impact,” from https://www.fitbit.com/whyfitbit.
Each employee was offered a Fitbit Charge under the new initiative and the first challenge was to Walk a Million Steps with Remi between March and November. A total of 73 employees participated in the challenge and 82% exceeded the million step goal.
In an employee feedback survey about the company’s Wellness Initiative, 61.9% thought Walk a Million Steps with Remi was challenging. “When you sit all day at a desk, it can be challenging to obtain over 10,000 steps per day. This challenge motivated me to accomplish that daily,” remarked one employee. Another said, “I did feel motivated to walk at lunch, or after work, and I wouldn’t have done it without the company challenge.” While others thought the challenge was a little too easy, “It wasn’t a challenge to get to 1 million steps. It was fun challenging coworkers to do more steps though.”
The average person walks 5,000-7,500 steps/day. Over nine months, employees were encouraged to walk the recommended 10,000 steps/day, making the million step goal a piece of cake. Employees were asked if they changed any daily habits after starting to wear the Fitbit and 93% of respondents said yes.
Employees started taking the stairs, parking farther away in the garage, and walking at lunch with coworkers or after dinner with family and friends, just to name a few. One employee commented, “Paired the Fitbit with My Fitness Pal to track (and improve) diet along with exercise.”
When asked if wearing the Fitbit increased exercise activities, 90% of respondents said yes. Some employee comments regarding how included, “It forced me to wake up earlier or move things around in my schedule to be more active!” Or, “It was personally rewarding/motivating to reach a high number of steps.” My favorite comment is, “I felt like my Fitbit was silently judging me if I was lazy.” For anyone who wears a Fitbit, or similar device, knows how true that statement is...wearing a Fitbit can be a real emotional struggle.
Employees stayed motivated during the 9-month challenge by: challenging coworkers/friends/family, 50%; exercising with a buddy, 50%; joining a gym, 31%; weighing self regularly, 33%; and reading health-related articles, 25%. “I wanted to win the weekly summary e-mails comparing my weekly steps with my Fitbit friends,” commented an employee.
Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents said that after receiving their Fitbit, friends/family purchased a similar device. Husbands, wives, moms, dads, siblings, sons, daughters, and friends wanted to get in on the action. This is a great reminder that getting active is contagious!
The last question of the survey asked employees to leave any final thoughts about the Fitbit that they’d like to share. One employee commented, “I think that the Fitbit in general is a healthy tool to monitor your activity and ensure that you stay active on a daily basis. Combining it with a competitive workforce is just the icing on the cake to push people to move in a not so “move friendly” environment.” Another said, “Really appreciate the Fitbit – changed my daily habits about exercise.” Employees are also eager to start the next challenge, “Really enjoyed the [million step] challenge. Excited about tracking active minutes!”
The new active minute challenge, “Keep Calm, Get Active,” will run the first quarter of 2016. Active minutes help measure the energy expenditure of various activities and exercise intensity. The Fitbit recognizes and awards active minutes when the activity you're doing is more strenuous than regular walking. To stay in line with the Center for Disease Control's (CDC’s) “10 minutes at a time is fine” concept, active minutes are only awarded after 10 minutes of continuous moderate-to-intense activity (vigorous activity with more than 135 steps in a minute).
The goal for this challenge is get as many active minutes as possible and get your heartrate up. The more active minutes, the more calories burned; and the more calories burned, the faster those holiday pounds disappear.
Final thoughts: Don’t be left behind – get a Fitbit, or similar device, and get active! According to the American College of Sports Medicine, wearable technology is the number one fitness trend for 2016. “Tech devices are now central to our daily lives and have changed the way we plan and manage our workouts,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Do you have a Fitbit or wearable fitness device? Is it a love-hate relationship? If you don’t have one yet, do you plan on getting one soon? Share your thoughts with us!