Worksite Wellness Program Encourages Utah Teachers To Get on The Move
SANDY, Utah — Deanna Williams is a fourth-grade teacher at Waterford School in Sandy. Every morning, Williams and her coworker Sheri Kovacs trade their work shoes for their tennis shoes.
“We walk around the classroom, we walk around the halls, we walk to the dining hall in a separate building,” Kovacs explained. “It’s physical exercise, but it’s also emotional therapy. We get to talk to each other and enjoy it. We’ve been best friends forever.”
“We walk really fast,” Williams added. They also track their daily steps. By mid-morning, Williams had already walked 8,817 steps but anticipated she would have walked around 15,000 steps by the end of the day.
Both teachers, who have taught for more than 30 years, said exercising is key to a successful day in the classroom.
“It helps me be a better teacher, gets me going in the morning, gets my blood pumping and my brain working,” Kovacs said.
“It gives me a lot of energy. It brings stamina and mental kind of agility,” Williams said.
It’s all part of Waterford’s worksite wellness plan through the SelectHealth Share program.
“We want people to be engaged in all levels of their life and when they’re engaged in their health and their wellness. They’re happier, they’re more fit, they’re more productive,” said Roxine Hodson, a member of Waterford’s human resources team.
Hodson said the program offers personalized digital coaching to help manage individual goals. Kovac has Type 1 diabetes and said she appreciates how the program supports her in a healthy lifestyle.
“I want to keep on living. I have a lot going on in my life that matters,” she said.
Hodson said there are 12 different modules that allow their employees to improve on various goals like getting more sleep, bettering their eat habits, or stop a poor habit like smoking.
“It’s great that they can monitor their own health in their own interests,” she said.
The program also offers monetary incentives, like an extra addition to an employee’s health savings account.
SelectHealth’s Dan Nelson said employees enrolled in the program visit the emergency room less often and have lower hospital admission rates.
“There’s so many tasks to do every day that sometimes your own wellness gets pushed down the list of things to do,” Hodson said.
Best of all, the program helps keep Williams and Kovacs in the classroom with their students where they have the most influence.
“I think it bleeds over to students, actually. I think the students know that their teachers are engaged in wellness and it makes them more interested in wellness as well,” Hodson added.
The SelectHealth Share program also allows companies to host team challenges to spark some friendly competition in the workplace. It also allows people to set goals specific to their own athletic interests or personal health risks.
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