An image is worth a thousand words. And to some, it’s worth a thousand steps.
Throughout the year, the Thrive Committee, a group of individuals from across all three companies within CQuence Health Group, challenge their fellow employees to step up their game and participate in a physical activity incentive. The latest one encompassed a six-week step-based challenge.
One CQuence team member used the activity challenge as an opportunity to also beef up his photography skills.
“Each night during the incentive, I went out on a bike ride, grabbed a photo or two and then quickly transferred them to my phone to edit,” said Tony Simons, Systems Engineer for Ensocare.
Tony has been a great source of inspiration for the participants of this challenge, as he shared several pictures from his Instagram account that he took on his late-night rides.
“It’s so cool to combine my passions for wellness and photography, though together they don’t always result in a quick workout,” said Tony. “I biked through some fog that provided great inspiration and resulted in really cool photos, but I wound up under a bridge when it stormed. Had I not stopped for pictures, I likely would have made it back before the rain.”
While the challenge was inherently step-based, participants like Tony didn’t have to limit activity to just walking or running.
“I started this challenge thinking I would be running a lot,” said Tony. “I tried a few times but ended up switching to biking. I can bike away from or into mosquitos and other bugs faster without getting bit. Plus, biking has always been something I have enjoyed.”
To participate in the challenge, employees utilized the Aetna Virgin Pulse website or app. The app synced easily with employees’ fitness trackers and allowed for several different kinds of workouts to be converted into steps, including biking, swimming, yoga, boxing, jump rope, martial arts and a variety of sports. If an employee didn’t have a fitness tracker, the Thrive Committee had some to loan out.
According to Bobbi Poe, Contract Specialist for Cassling, the step challenge was a great source of encouragement.
“The incentives get me to use my Fitbit and track my steps,” said Bobbi. “I participate in all of the activity challenges throughout the year, especially the step-based ones. I really like the competitive side of it all.”
Participants were sorted into three teams (The Holy Walkamolies, Team Christopher Walkin’, and A Walk in the Park), each populated with a healthy assortment of employees from Cassling, CQuence and Ensocare. The step totals from each competing team were applied to virtual walking tours of national parks in the United States. Within the Aetna Virgin Pulse app, individuals could see their team’s progress along a digital walking path which provided sightseeing pictures and infographics throughout each of the different national parks as they were completed.
“I loved the links to the national park maps, the pictures and facts, and all of the interactive features within the app,” said Lisa Morris, Senior Accounting Analyst for CQuence Health Group.
Not only did the app provide the individuals’ total step count, but it showed how they rank on the leaderboard in comparison to their teammates. The app also allowed for members of different teams to form their own rival groups to keep each other accountable.
“The main thing I’m getting out of this challenge is peace of mind,” said Tony. “My energy is back up to what it was several years ago. I’m getting fresh air, and I’m even getting time with the kids and my wife when they ride with me.”
To date, the three teams have logged more than 8.8 million steps covering walking trails through national parks across the U.S., including Yosemite, Zion, Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns, Hot Springs and the Great Smoky Mountains.
“It’s been a good time,” said Tony. “My family and I went out on a midnight bike ride one Friday night. We got to see deer run across the trail as well as hear all the nightly sounds of the outdoors. There were frogs and toads singing up a storm and, best of all, not that many bugs. As for my kids, I got to show them physical activity is important and that there’s more beyond the screen.”