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Why motivational workplace health challenges are so effective in workplace health programs

By 13/03/2013May 1st, 2019No Comments

Have you been running a workplace health program for a few years now? Then you’ve probably discovered that many employees find it difficult to maintain focus on their health goals over time. 

After the initial flurry and excitement that comes from a new workplace program, or from losing the first few kilos or  finally getting a full night’s sleep, it can be hard for employees to maintain momentum. 

This is especially true for a goal such as physical fitness.  A goal like this is rarely ever achieved in a “final” way – there is always the next level to attain. Someone might go from a sedentary lifestyle to regular walks one year. They might then extend to jogging the next year. And the year after that, set their sights on an event such as a half-marathon or fun run.

So what’s the answer?

There is a solution to this problem, and it’s a paradoxical one. It’s to make those health goals secondary goals. You change the focus to a bigger, loftier goal.

If the health goal is physical fitness, then you create a fun but aspirational goal which requires a heightened level of physical fitness to achieve, but which makes fitness the means, not the end.

One of our staff members, Program Manager Katherine Rothwell, took part in the Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek. This is a 50km or 100km coastline walk from Palm Beach to Balmoral or Coogee to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

She says, “I find that when you set an extraordinary goal such Coastrek, the focus becomes achieving that challenging goal, while the physical fitness becomes a secondary benefit.”

Katherine is a busy mum of two, who manages to work for us plus run a health & fitness business. She knows a thing or two about health goals and motivation. She trained and motivated six teams of four people to take part in Coastrek. They did regular weekly training sessions, including walking and cross-training, but as Katherine sees it, that’s a means to an end.

“There is a great sense of achievement in not only finishing the event, but also the sense of achievement from committing to training for something like this,” Katherine says.

Workplace health challenges

This is where your workplace health challenges and campaigns really come to the fore. These challenges inspire your employees to make changes in order to achieve an exciting goal.

One of our most popular campaigns is our Fitness Challenge. Employees form teams to walk, run or “move” the equivalent of The Great Ocean Road in Victoria in 28 days. When they log their activities, employees can see how far along the Great Ocean Road they’ve travelled. they can even check out what sights they can “see” along the way.

It’s a fabulous way to establish a consistent fitness routine, while promoting team bonding – and, as a side effect, getting physically fitter!

A similar campaign is the Outback Walkabout. This takes employees on a virtual trek through the Australian outback, measuring daily steps.


Healthworks offers workplace health challenges, along with many other employee health products and services. Call us on 1300 90 10 90 or email us to find out more.


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