This spring, across Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, employees participated in the American Heart Association “Healthy for Good” walk, formerly known as National Walking Day. The day is designed to encourage Americans to live healthier lives (American Heart Association, 2017, pg. 1). This challenged employees to commit to at least a 150 minutes of movement a week. Meeting employees where they are, Kaiser Permanente focused on walking. Whether employees work within the medical centers or administration buildings, everyone walks.
Throughout the region employees threw on their sneakers and joined the campaign of walking their way to a healthier life. A couple of locations created teams in support and looked forward to a fun-filled day. Some key participants were from Unit Based Team Health & Safety Champions across the region: Heidi Haynes from Ashburn, Ashlee Laroue from Tysons Corner, and Ana Rodriguez.
The “Healthy for Good” walk inspired these three teams to get involved at their respective centers and share how they engaged their population. Haynes explained by “walking half a mile during lunch encouraged healthy habits at home and work.” Laroue used this fun occasion to “promote health and got approximately 10-15 people from Obstetrics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Genetics departments.” At Holy Cross Hospital Rodriguez led a walking team named the Holy Cross Walking Warriors. Rodriguez’s team participated “by promoting employee health, disease prevention, team building, and helping promote a culture of health and safety within Kaiser Permanente.”
The key to exercise is to have fun while you are doing it. Rodriguez talked about how everyone really enjoyed participating in the “Healthy for Good” walk. Katrina Brown was one of the major highlights of the day for Holy Cross Walking Warriors. “She brought balloons, snacks, water, music, and trivia and energetically led our team with group stretches and walking. In addition, she was also a great help with organizing the event.”
The “Healthy for Good” walk was successful at all three locations. Each team enjoyed taking a break from their normal routine and walking outside with their fellow colleagues. Even though the event ended, some of the walking groups are continuing to meet and walk to this day. Kaiser Permanente embodies their motto of “thrive.” In engaging employees to decide what moves them. So, get out there and walk your way to a healthier life and have fun while you are doing it.
American Heart Association, National Walking Day Resource Guide 2017