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Fitting Walking into Your Life

Corporate Walking Programs

Many corporations have taken up the idea of corporate walking programs to encourage workers to get fit. Some of these programs involve a brisk two- to four-mile walk, with warm-up and cool-down sessions, during lunch hours.

An increasing number of employers are realizing that they can make an important contribution to their employees' welfare and productivity simply by encouraging them, through financial and physical incentives, to walk to work, at least partway.


If your employer hasn't jumped on the bandwagon, you might try bringing up the idea. Here's one idea that deserves consideration: The company could rent parking lots a mile or two away from its offices, so employees could park there and walk to work.

In case of bad weather, umbrellas could be placed at the office and parking lots for use by the walking employees. This system has the built-in potential for progress checks and rewards.

Some sort of sign-in or sign-out procedure could be used to check whether employees use the facility. Many companies are already awarding their physically fit employees with special financial incentives.

Some company managers may read this suggestion and think, "Terrific. But how much is all this walking going to cost, and who's going to pay for it?"

In a way, it would be just like any other investment. It might cost a few dollars at first, but that money would quickly pay dividends in terms of healthier, more productive employees who take fewer days off for illness. And it probably wouldn't hurt the company's insurance rates, either.

In fact, employee fitness programs are not just an attractive fringe benefit but also a profitable investment for the company. Such programs have been shown to result in decreased absenteeism, reduced health care costs, and increased productivity.

Corporate leaders are realizing that a walking program can be the simplest and least expensive way to get their employees moving with regular exercise. And regular exercise has been shown to help employees escape everyday office pressures and competition -- and become more productive at work.

Walking on the Job

There are some people who may not need to concentrate so hard on building walking into their commuting or their lunch hours. These are the ones for whom walking is actually an integral component of their daily work.

Examples include restaurant servers, ushers, meter readers, garbage collectors, caddies, mail carriers, and police officers on the beat.

If you walk a lot on your job, pay attention to how often you stop. If you don't walk continuously, you may not be getting much of an aerobic training effect, so you may want to schedule regular, vigorous walks outside of work to improve your fitness level.

Maintaining a walking routine often involves keeping the proper attitude. Find tips on how to do just that on the next page.

To learn more about walking, see: