June 11, 2018

Walk, bike to achieve better health, earn Healthy Boiler incentives

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Warmer weather means more opportunities to be outdoors having fun and improving one's health -- all at the same time. Luckily, it is not that difficult to do, and employees have resources and reasons (earn Healthy Boiler incentives) to do so right here on and around campus.

Take a walk

Walking is already a part of most employees’ daily routines. By making a few adjustments to already normal routines -- taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a little farther away from their destination, walking to meetings instead of driving and so on -- employees have ways to increase their steps and in turn improve their overall health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, something as simple as a daily walk can help individuals achieve a healthier lifestyle. Some benefits include:

* Maintaining a healthy weight.
* Preventing or managing various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
* Strengthening bones and muscles.
* Improving mood. 
* Improving balance and coordination.

Katie Schaffer, certified health coach at the Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, agrees and is a fan of walking for health reasons -- mental and physical alike. She personally experiences those benefits as well.

“It’s always nice to take a walk in the fresh air and stretch my muscles and just take a break from the day,” she says. “It seems we all experience stress in today’s world either from our work life, personal life or both, and walking helps me unwind from whatever is going on. By walking, I’m giving my body and my mind some much needed exercise without having to put much effort into the activity.”

Walk with a health coach

In order to help employees stay as healthy as possible, the Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus offers walking health coach appointments. Employees can schedule appointments with one of the health coaches at the center, and rather than sitting in a room discussing wellness goals, the appointment takes place during a walk around campus.

“It’s a great way for employees to get out and walk while also enjoying the benefits of having a health coach with them,” Schaffer says. “As we walk, we can discuss whatever topics or goals the employee is interested in in regard to his or her health and wellness. While we’re exercising, the health coach simultaneously helps the employee create a plan and how to achieve his or her goals.” 

Walking health coach appointments can satisfy two of the Healthy Boiler wellness activities required for Healthy Boiler incentives:

* Participate in four or more health coaching sessions. May include health coach, stress management, mental health, personal trainer or registered dietitian (virtual or in person).

* Logging a minimum of 150 minutes per week of physical activity for eight concurrent weeks.

Health coaching appointments --walking as well as in-office -- are available during normal center hours (7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday). Contact the center to schedule an appointment with a health coach by calling 765-494-0111 or scheduling via the patient portal

Bring out the bikes

Bicycling on and around campus provides another way for employees to enjoy the campus and improve their health. According to Cycling Weekly, the benefits of riding a bike include:

* Improves mental well-being.
* Promotes weight loss.
* Builds muscle.
* Reduces heart disease and cancer risks.
* Increases lung health.
* Provides low-impact, easy-on-the-joints exercise.

For those bringing their own bikes onto campus, Transportation Service encourages employees to register their bikes. For employees who do not have access to a bike of their own but would like to use a bike on campus, Purdue’s bike share program is a convenient and easy option. Once on campus, there are many areas for those on bicycles to navigate. Employees can refer to the Purdue Bike Map for more information, including where to find bike racks and bike share locations.

Healthy Boiler Wellness Program incentives up for grabs 

As a reminder, walking and/or biking can be used as wellness activities to earn Healthy Boiler incentives. Don’t forget to log walking/biking minutes into the Healthy Boiler Portal. To start entering minutes walked or biked, visit the Healthy Boiler Portal, click on the “Earn” tab in the top navigation and refer to “No. 3 g” for additional information.

In January 2018, Purdue in partnership with the Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus introduced its Healthy Boiler Wellness Program to promote wellness within the University population. Healthy Boiler encourages employees to engage in their health and wellness by identifying a primary care provider, having an annual physical and biometrics screening and participating in wellness activities; offering benefits-eligible faculty and staff -- as well as spouses covered on a Purdue medical plan -- the opportunity to earn up to $250 (employee only participation) or $500 (employee plus spouse participation) in incentives to participate.

1. Select a primary care provider. $50, employee or spouse only. $100, employee and spouse.

2. Complete a physical and biometrics. $100, employee or spouse only. $200, employee and spouse.

3. Complete two pre-approved wellness activities. $100, employee or spouse only. $200, employee and spouse. To qualify for this incentive, the pre-approved activities must be completed and logged into the wellness portal from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, and must be from two separate categories.

To stay up-to-date on all things Healthy Boiler, visit the Healthy Boiler Portal, follow the Healthy Boiler Purdue blog and follow Healthy Boiler on social media:

* LinkedIn
* Facebook
* Twitter
* Instagram

Any questions on the wellness incentive program can be directed to Human Resources at 765-494-2222, 877-725-0222 (toll-free) or hr@purdue.edu.

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