School districts have become increasingly interested (and rightfully so) in implementing some sort of wellness program to drive down health care costs and rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, while increasing productivity and general wellbeing among employees. It’s no secret that unhealthy employees cost districts more money, and unfortunately, most districts are riddled with an overweight and obese staff.
Typical school health programs involve daily tracking of activity and behavior. However, most of these programs do not create sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes. Not only that, but they also cost an arm and a leg to implement. Instead of rolling out a program that breaks the bank and barely results in measureable outcomes, why not implement a school health program that provides a solution?
- Measure outcomes not activity
Logging your food intake and physical activity every day for six months doesn’t result in long-term change. In fact, it results in a lot of useless data about daily behavior that is irrelevant. Instead of measuring daily behavior, why not measure performance or outcomes? Start with a basic physical fitness test and log your results each quarter to measure true progress! If your employees are actually following a wellness plan, they will see positive results (no matter where they started).
Basic fitness test:
- Pull-ups (flex-arm hang for women)
- Timed mile
- Start where you are, not where you want to be
Embarking on a wellness program can be daunting, but if you’re realistic about your current fitness level, it’ll be much more feasible. If you can’t walk a half a mile without huffing and puffing, don’t start an exercise regime that leaves you so exhausted you can’t move for a week afterwards. Start by walking for ten minutes and drink an extra glass of water. Slowly but surely your fitness will improve and you will be where you have always wanted to be.
- Move every day, eat less junk
To notice real changes, you have to be willing to make real changes. Nobody promised that exercise and nutrition was easy, they just promised that it was worth it. Instead of making excuses, make time to physically move every day, ideally until you break a sweat.
Follow the ChooseMyPlate guidelines, they’re really quite simple—half your plate should be fruits & veggies and the other half should be lean protein and whole grains! All in all, drink more water and eat less junk!
You can choose to have excuses. You can choose to have results. You can’t choose to have both.