H.E.R.O. Off-Site Training; 10K-A-Day; Choose-to-Lose Community Weight-Loss

Innovative programming ideas aimed at motivating members to exercise with all featured programs submitted by readers.

H.E.R.O. Off-Site Training

William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness, Voorhees, N.J.

Recognizing that 50 percent of firefighter deaths are due to heart attacks, staff at the William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness, Voorhees, N.J., decided to help combat that statistic by establishing its H.E.R.O. (Healthy Emergency Response Organizations) Off-Site Training program. H.E.R.O. was "designed to address the special physical fitness, nutrition and lifestyle needs for firefighters, police and EMS by implementing a program conveniently located at the client's own facility," says Executive Director Miklos Horvath.

The program has four components. First is the facility assessment of the physical location, which checks for facility size, equipment and number of potential users. From this, a report outlines recommendations for equipment, vendor contacts and costs to get the program initiated. Second, each participant receives a comprehensive fitness assessment, and is then provided with a summary report, an orientation to the new facility and a customized workout plan. Third, a degreed and certified fitness specialist establishes hours at the facility for ongoing fitness support, program modification and motivation. And last, onsite nutrition and lifestyle enhancement seminars are provided by a registered dietician.

Working with the Evesham Fire & Rescue in Marlton, N.J., H.E.R.O. was a success for all. For Evesham, 83 percent of participants dropped body fat, 70 percent lost weight, 60 percent improved their resting heart rate, 80 percent improved their cardiovascular endurance, 95 percent improved muscular strength, 70 percent improved muscular endurance and 82 percent improved their flexibility. Through this program, the Center reached out to the community, has received new members from the program and gained interest from other local fire departments. But best of all, it profited to the tune of almost $7,000.

10K-A-Day Online Fitness Incentive Program

CIGNA's Working Well Living Well, Philadelphia, Pa.

"Business of Caring" is CIGNA's (Philadelphia, Pa.) motto, which means it makes employees' health a top concern. So, in May 2004, it set out to support the attainment of Healthy People 2010 objectives for physical activity, as well as focus on a company-wide initiative to target childhood obesity with its 10K-A-Day Online Fitness Incentive Program.

According to Kris Corbett, "10K-A-Day is an inspiring walking program designed to boost physical activity every day, no matter how busy a person is or their level of physical activity." Participants use a pedometer to count their daily steps, and then log results and track progress on aweb-based system administered through the company's vendor, Health Enhancement Systems. Once logged, participants are provided with daily motivational email tips and ideas for healthy meals. A children's version is also available, and features a child-friendly website with games, family activities and more. After completing the 28-day program, participants can continue on with a five-month program called the "Million Step Club."

CIGNA had 8,832 registered users in the program, who increased average days-per-week of activity from three to five, and who lost an average of 3 pounds. Of those, 1,200 went on to the Million Step Club, averaging 9 pounds of weight lost per person. In addition, 280 children registered for the program, who increased their average days-per-week of activity from 4 to 4.5, and lost an average of 2 pounds.

Choose-to-Lose Community Weight-Loss Program

Cameron Wellness Center, Evanston, Ill.

Many people would "choose to lose" if they just knew how, so the Cameron Wellness Center, Evanston, Ill., decided to help by offering a free, 10-week weight-loss program for residents that promoted lifestyle changes and encouraged them to lose approximately 5 to 10 percent of their overall weight.

Choose-to-Lose was a self-guided program that kicked off with a wellness fair. At the fair, Cameron Wellness Center partnered with The Washington Hospital, which provided health screenings and weigh-ins for more than 500 people. "Handouts included calorie calculators, food and exercise logs, tips on eating out, tips for beginning exercisers and guidelines for determining how much weight loss is safe during the timeframe," says Cameron Wellness Center Vice President Robin Schuette. Weekly weigh-ins were provided each Saturday, along with exercise and nutrition tips. Participants were also encouraged to attend free monthly seminars provided by the hospital's physicians and healthcare partners, with incentives for attendance that included raffle tickets for fitness center and spa services.

To get people to participate, "Choose-to-Lose featured a poster program among the hospital's more than 200 physician offices, giving them an opportunity to refer patients to a free weight-loss program," Schuette explains. Collateral and marketing featured the Tobey the Turtle mascot, who made the weight-loss program more appealing and fun. "Tobey transitioned from a lumbering turtle with suitcases on his shell to a lean and fit turtle in running shoes," says Schuette.

The program helped more than 140 people lose 1,111 pounds, with an average decrease in cholesterol of 34 points. In addition, the Wellness Center met its specific goals of creating a marketing/public relations "buzz" in the community, and it generated an additional $90,000 in revenue from membership sales, guest passes and other ancillary revenues.

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