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HBDHB ‘walking the talk’

10 August 2005

HBDHB ‘walking the talk’ with 10,000 steps at work pilot

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board staff will soon begin ‘walking the talk’ following the launch of the ’10,000 steps at work’ pilot programme next Monday August 15th. The programme will see 120 staff clipping on pedometers and tracking their physical activity over 12 weeks of the pilot programme.

Health assessments have already been carried out to get a clear picture of each participant’s health, lifestyle and wellness before the programme, and will be measured again at the end of the pilot.

Chief executive Chris Clarke, said the DHB was subsidising the scheme for staff taking part. “If we want the community to take more responsibility for their own health, through increasing their exercise and making healthier food choices, it’s important we model and promote this amongst our own ‘community’ of staff’.

“This programme has been hugely successful in other workplaces, with impressive results in terms of overall well-being, and physical health improvements, such as weight loss and smoking cessation. Importantly, lifestyle changes made during the 12 weeks of the programme were incorporated into everyday life, and the benefits continued long after the programme finished,” Chris Clarke said.

Staff will participate in teams to complete a virtual ‘walk’ around New Zealand, and then continue on an individual challenge.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s nutrition and physical activity health promoter, Kerry Weston, said the 10,000 steps pilot was one of a number of strategies the DHB would be using to promote physical activity and good nutrition amongst staff. “The programme includes seminars and education sessions from leading dieticans and physiotherapists,” she said.

“Sometimes people are put off exercise as they don’t see themselves as ‘the sporty type’ but the beauty of this programme is it’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and using the pedometer to track your progress. Walking’s free and you can keep doing it long after the 12 weeks of the programme. There are so many fantastic walkways around Hawke’s Bay, and with our climate you can get out and ‘beat the feet’ year-round.

“This is a great way to prove the long-term benefits of regular exercise,” she said. “Anyone can do it, regardless of their current level of fitness,” Kerry Weston said.

Kerry Weston said if the pilot proved successful, the plan was to extend it across the DHB, and other workplaces in Hawke’s Bay.

ENDS

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