Corporate fitness center creates program to keep members moving.
Fitness staff at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Fitness Center, North Haven, Conn., had heard all the excuses from the company's employees about not exercising regularly, including lack of time and access to equipment, and intimidation by others. So, they came up with a program that employees could take with them whenever and wherever they wanted. Called the Mile A Day Club, the program was designed for individuals of all fitness levels to promote physical activity on a daily basis. Its primary goal was to encourage consistency in the participants' exercise programs, in hopes of helping them develop long-term, habit-forming behaviors.
Participants who signed up for the Mile A Day Club committed themselves to running or walking at least 1 mile every day for the designated number of consecutive days, depending on the program level selected: bronze (30 days), silver (60 days), gold (90 days) and platinum (six months). An application served as a participation contract, and daily mileage was recorded on tracking sheets that were submitted to fitness center staff every two weeks. Pedometers were provided to help participants track their mileage. The mile a day could be completed any time and anywhere, and it could even be accumulated throughout the day. Everyone who successfully completed the program was given completion certificates to display in their office.
Initially, 70 participants signed up, which was double the goal of 35. And, the initial success rate goal of 30 percent was surpassed, with 42.9 percent of participants completing 100 percent of the program. "The program took the focus away from duration in the sense of time (i.e., 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular activity)," explains Marta DeLong, assistant manager, "and instead focused on fitness at a level that most could achieve." A post-program participant survey found that 70 percent of participants are continuing to walk since they completed their "streak," and 91 percent said that the program made them more aware of ways to incorporate physical activity into their day.