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Feature

Three U employees walking on campus with trees in the background.

In addition to a boost in energy and diminished stress, increasing daily steps can help control or manage weight and reduce the chance for developing diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Walk for wellness

10,000 Steps invites U employees statewide to boost their physical activity this fall

By Susan Wiese

Brief, Oct. 18, 2006

Want to feel more energized, lose weight or sleep better? Walking may be the key.

Americans walk an average of 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day. By increasing to 10,000 steps, it's possible to meet the recommended goal of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days.*

Walking 10,000 steps a day is a good goal for general health improvement. The HealthPartners 10,000 Steps program is about helping people achieve levels of activity that are simple, sustainable and tailored to the individual.

First Annual
JACK'S RUN


Use your pedometer at this free, 5,000-meter, co-ed, open race for teams and individuals.

Saturday, Oct. 21
11 a.m.
Les Bolstad Golf Course
U of M, St. Paul

Donations will be accepted at the meet: all proceeds will go to cancer research and the Jack Johnson Scholarship. The meet honors long-time equipment manager Jack Johnson, who passed away in February. For more information, go to Apple Raceberry JaM , click on Cross Country and look for Jack's Run in the list of upcoming events.

University of Minnesota employees statewide can now enjoy health benefits from the 10,000 Steps program. It's open to all part-time and full-time employees, as well as early retirees, people with disabilities and those covered by COBRA. That includes UPlan Medical Program members and their spouses or same-sex domestic partners, whether they're enrolled in the Medica or HealthPartners health plan.

"We're encouraging employees to accumulate their steps in whatever way fits their lifestyle," says Carol Carrier, vice president for human resources. "It may be climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, traveling down an additional aisle at the grocery store or going for a brisk walk."

Carrier is an avid walker herself and routinely makes the trip to and from campus on foot.

Participants are encouraged to set a goal for improved fitness, to track and record daily physical activity in terms of steps and to work gradually toward the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

Step by step to begin

* Go to Health Connections to get started.

* Select the HealthPartners 10,000 Steps program.

* Follow the online directions and click through to the HealthPartners Web site to register.

* Use the promotion code designated for University of Minnesota employees: PNUSTEP

* After providing personal identification and address information, you will be asked to:
1. Decide whether to participate online or by mail using a printed version of the program.
2. Choose between two separate editions of the 10,000 Steps program, the "Feel Great" or "Lose Weight" edition.

If you need assistance in completing the online registration process, call the HealthPartners Phone Line at:
* 952-883-7800 Twin Cities area
* 1-800-311-1052 outside the metro area
* 952-883-7498 (TTY)

Or contact HealthPartners representatives by e-mail.

More than 2,200 faculty and staff members have enrolled in the program since it launched at the beginning of October, according to UPlan Wellness Program manager Murray Harber.

The deadline to register is the end of December, but enroll now to take advantage of fall weather and clear walkways.

Everyone who enrolls in 10,000 Steps receives a pedometer and messages to encourage and motivate them through the eight weeks.

Why use a pedometer?

A pedometer provides a tangible way to measure strategies for more movement on a daily basis. A University of Minnesota study showed that when people wear pedometers they are likely to walk farther--about 2,100 steps or 30 percent farther per day. The research also showed that a person who wears a pedometer is likely to stick much longer to a walking routine.**

Many U employees got their first pedometers during the Trek Across the U campaign in 2004. The pedometers for 10,000 Steps are "new and improved"--easier to use and more reliable than earlier models.

Recognition and rewards

Upon completion, all University participants will receive an e-certificate of achievement. Active employees who are UPlan Medical Program members can also earn $65 for completing the 10,000 Steps progra--if they have not already earned two wellness rewards in 2006.

Spouses and same-sex domestic partners of UPlan members can participate, but they do not qualify to receive a $65 dollar wellness reward.

REFERENCES

*Hatano Y. "Use of the pedometer for promoting daily walking exercise." International Council for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 1993; 29:4-8.

**Myers, Susanne. "What's a pedometer and why would I need one?" Ezine@rticles, Jan. 17, 2006.


10,000 Steps and Count on Feeling Great! are the registered trademarks of HealthPartners, Inc.

This document contains copyrighted materials of HealthPartners, and is used with permission of HealthPartners. All rights reserved.


Susan Wiese is the communications project manager for the UPlan Wellness Program.