Take self-motivated employees, add some fun incentives and mix in a little friendly competition, and you have the ingredients to win the Walking Works Challenge. Lamp Rynearson and Associates, a civil engineering firm based in Omaha, used that recipe to take first place in the wellness challenge for the second year in a row.
Walking Works is a physical fitness and wellness program developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield in cooperation with the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports. The objective is to help people reach their fitness goals while improving overall health. The challenge ran from June through August.
This year, 31 Nebraska companies took the Walking Works Challenge to encourage physical activity through online tracking and workplace incentives. John Day Company of Omaha took second in the challenge and First National Bank of Chadron in Chadron, Nebraska placed third.
Twenty-two Lamp Rynearson employees logged nearly 10,000 miles to win the challenge, averaging 448.3 miles per person. They also earned points through physical activity, community service and even donating blood.
“We’re taking advantage of the wellness activity already underway here,” said Zack Fergus, a landscape designer. “The Walking Works website gave us an easy way to track what we were doing.”
Fergus said he used the Walking Works program to motivate himself to bike more miles to get ready for RAGBRAI — The (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa — this year.
For John Beck, who heads the accounting department at Lamp Rynearson, points come from playing basketball. Beck can be found Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at a local fitness center organizing a regular lunchtime pick-up game.
John Hill, a senior project manager of bridge engineering, found out he had diabetes after a wellness blood check at work. After having a heart attack, he joined the wellness committee and is the self-proclaimed “chief nagger” to the 22 employees in the program to log their activities. Hill walks two miles during the lunch hour, three times a week.
“Employee-led wellness has improved our overall company fitness, and we’ve seen our insurance rates go down,” Hill said.
With a weight room in his basement, project designer Aaron Johnson lifts four times a week.
“It’s an individual sport, but I’ve been trying to get my wife to work out with me,” Johnson said. “Nowadays you can pause what you’re watching on TV, do 20 minutes of lifting and go back to where you left off in your program.”
After winning two years in a row comes the question of how to top it.
The Lamp Rynearson guys smile and say they’d be active without the wellness incentives. The trick, they said, is making wellness part of your daily routine.
“Find an activity you love to do and never stop doing it,” Beck said.