How one entrepreneur got employees to walk 230 miles for wellness

While I was renewing health insurance for my company, Victory Equipment in Franklin, Tenn., it occurred to me that the best health plan is prevention. I began to search the Internet for an affordable wellness plan for a small business. Sam’s Club had just released the Prevention Plan. It looked like just what we were looking for, at a manageable price of just $99 plus the cost of Membership.

My employees received the plan very well. We had 100 percent participation and lots of excitement. Our people were aware of their health issues and knew that some small steps could yield big improvements.

Everybody waited patiently for the results of their blood work. One guy of about 50 hadn’t been to the doctor in a while, so he was pleasantly surprised when all that came back were slightly elevated triglycerides and cholesterol levels. He has since lost about 25 pounds and feels better than he has in years. One of the women, age 50-plus, was already losing weight, but the program was the extra push she needed. Shes lost 22 pounds so far and is almost to her goal weight.

A few weeks in, I presented our Get Moving Challenge. I rented an eight-bedroom house in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for a long weekend. We would have 90 days to walk the equivalent of the distance between our offices and Pigeon Forge, about 230 miles. If we could do it, the staff members and their families would get a free weekend getaway.

I bought pedometers for everyone, and we counted our weekly steps on a chart. Our goal was at least 5,500 steps per day, per person. It was hard. If we didn’t make time for walking on the treadmill or before or after work, it was difficult to get the steps in. But most of us made it there in less than 90 days.The lady who lost 22 pounds averaged 10,000 steps a day!

The Prevention Plan has been a catalyst to get us moving in the right direction. We hope it is just the beginning.

Sharon Liss is the owner of Victory Equipment in Franklin, Tenn.