Kaiser Launches Free On-Line Physical Activity Program
By Robin G. Pilus
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii announced the launch of a new online physical activity program, Thrive Across Hawaii. The new program is free and is available to all employees of any business offering a Kaiser Permanente health plan.
The program helps individuals and teams monitor and improve their health and fitness through a virtual experience. The program is based on an online tool that Kaiser Permanente implemented last year for its own employees that resulted in a 68% increase in activity for participants.
A dedicated team website is offered to each participating company. After registering, each employee participant starts their own virtual tour of some of Hawaii’s most interesting places by logging their real-world physical activity minutes.
The more minutes of exercise logged each day, the greater the participants progress along the route and more interesting experiences are enjoyed. Participants also learn about the sites and gain helpful tips on exercise and nutrition during their virtual experience. Among the places on the trail are wildlife preserves, national parks, cultural attractions and historic landmarks.
Employees can also form teams for a little friendly competition, or they can go it alone. As teams, each member enters their physical activity minute and earn points. The team competition is designed to run eight weeks, but employees can continue to track their activity and travel the trail as many times as they wish.
Miki Arume, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii worksite wellness consultant indicates, “The program turns exercise and good nutrition into a social event that you can do with your friends at work.” Individuals are noted to be more likely to succeed with healthy changes when a good support system is in place.
Research shows that exercise can lower blood pressure, boost cardiac function, improve sleep and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. According to David Cameron’s study, “Six Month Effect on Absenteeism and Cost Effect” participants in a work-based exercise program saved their employers $323 per year in absenteeism costs.
To take advantage of this free workforce health program, employers can register their company at Thrive Across Hawaii.