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    How to start a Cube-to-5K program

     

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    January 6, 2014

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    Physical fitness is a critical component of employee wellness, and what better way to revamp your workplace’s approach to exercise than by initiating a Cube-to-5K program and having everyone train together for a race?

    Cube to 5K

    There is plenty of evidence that shows the benefits of exercising together. Among other things, group sweat sessions boost:

    • Motivation
    • Accountability
    • Group camaraderie

    On top of the fitness benefits, a 5K is also a great way to get employees involved in the community and improve office morale. Here’s how to start one up in your office:

    • Gauge interest and identify the race.

    The first step to create a successful Cube-to-5K program is to find out who is interested. Once you know who plans to join in, gather participants’ feedback on what race they’d like to run, and if there’s a specific charity or organization they want to raise money for. You can check out RunMichigan.com for a full list of races taking place across the state.

    When choosing a 5K, confirm that the race allows participants to walk. This will encourage a higher rate of participation, as some colleagues may be hesitant to take up running. You may also want to identify involvement opportunities for employees who aren’t physically able to run or walk. For example, we had a few people show up at a Turkey Trot race to take photos of the group.

    • Offer professional advice.

    Provide employees with the tools and support they need to properly prepare. For example, find someone at the office who is qualified or hire a professional trainer to meet with employees at the start of the program. You can also offer training guide books for participants to read, or send weekly emails of encouragement with running tips and mileage suggestions. Many employees may not  know how to train for a run/walk, so it’s necessary to ensure participants have some guidance on how to safely start.

    • Schedule training hours into the work day or immediately following work.

    Consider offering time each week when workers can train during the business day — perhaps schedule an extended lunch break every Wednesday or a running session that starts immediately after work. If you can afford to let employees build exercise into their work days, they will be more likely to participate and succeed.

    • Pay registrations or match donations.

    Offer to cover the cost of registration or, if the race benefits a cause, match the donations employees raise.

    • Keep it fun.

    Most importantly, be sure employees have fun and feel motivated from the start of the program all the way to race day. A Cube-to-5K program is meant to encourage well-being, which includes feeling good both physically and mentally.

    What ideas do you have for implementing a Cube-to-5K program? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. And get involved with our ongoing conversation about workplace wellness by joining the Leading Michigan to a Healthier Future group page on LinkedIn.

    Photo Credit: I Run Flint

    About Cindy Bjorkquist, M.S.

    Cindy Bjorkquist is the Director of Wellness, Care Management and Health Promotion Program Development for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). She is responsible for the development and lifecycle process for clinical member-facing programs as well as contracting and management for any vendor programs for all market segments including commercial, individual and Medicare programs. Cindy has more than 24 years of experience in the design, delivery and evaluation of integrated wellness and care management programs for hospitals, corporate entities and health plans. Cindy lectures regularly on a national level and holds a master of science in exercise physiology, corporate health management, from Michigan State University and a bachelor of arts in exercise in sports science and biology from Spring Arbor University. To connect with Cindy and discuss Michigan workplace wellness, join the Leading Michigan to a Healthier Future LinkedIn group.

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    One Comment to How to start a Cube-to-5K program

    1. Cindy, well written article here. I believe the most important step is to get out every day, no matter what. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. Stay active folks!

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