Elmhurst Memorial’s First Step program leads to many, many, many more
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital employee Titanya Curtis and about 500 of her co-workers walked around the world nearly 13 times last year.
Together, they logged the equivalent of 320,000 miles as part of First Step, an employee wellness program that was held from March 1-December 31, 2013. The goal of the program was simple – stay active.
Employees could choose their own activities to earn miles – walking, running, biking, aerobics, housework. Those activities and the time spent doing them were entered into an online tracker which converted the steps into miles.
“It’s an awesome program. It motivates you, you cheer each other on and you lose weight,” says Curtis, who logged 4,000 miles through Pilates, running, spinning and cardio kick boxing. She was also the captain for Walking Tall, the first place team in the program, whose 20 members totaled 41,000 miles, an average of about 1,700 miles per person.
The original goal of First Step was to have 15 teams participate and walk 150,000 miles. When the program launched, 39 teams and 500 employees were on the move and covered 320,000 miles.
“I think it was so successful because everyone was able to do the type of exercise they enjoy within their own time frame,” says Sue Earley, Manager, Community Services at Elmhurst Memorial and First Step coordinator. “It promoted participation because employees could do First Step their own way, log in miles and see the numbers rise.”
Elmhurst Memorial’s employee wellness efforts also include Healthy Lunch Options, which features healthy, low calorie choices in the hospital’s WILDFLOWER Café’, and Rethink Your Drink, a program that stresses the importance of avoiding sugar and calories in everyday beverages.
“Hospitals should be role models,” says Earley. “We need to do all we can to promote health and wellness to our employees and the communities we serve, so that other organizations might do the same thing.”