Program brings fitness into workplace

Nurse Linda Adams (left) assists Production Manager David Ramey (right) during one of Worksite Wellness visits to Stanley Furniture.

June 12, 2008

In June 2007, the coalition launched the Worksite Wellness program, funded by The Harvest Foundation. Certified instructors give a class on stress management, offer nutritional guidelines and suggestions, and emphasize the importance of exercise. All instruction is given during lunch hours for the convenience of employees and is free of charge.

The program is held bimonthly for employees at Stanley Furniture.

“They reinforce some of what I know while giving me new and fresh ideas about making healthy choices. They remind me of the things my family and I should be doing to stay healthy,” said Stanley employee Dixie Wood. She also enjoys mingling with other Stanley employees with whom she usually has little or no contact.

Stanley Furniture’s employees took the information they learned from Worksite Wellness and began their own healthy programs, such as a “Biggest Loser” competition, where participants lost a sum of 200 pounds, and a walking club, whose members take to the streets during daily breaks to walk together and maintain healthier lifestyles.

As a result, Worksite Wellness is helping people change.

“We think of it as ‘getting them over the hump,’” said Diane Sawyer, program director of the Healthy Community Initiative at the Coalition for Health and Wellness. “We give people the tools to change their habits so that they can take independent action themselves.”

Although Worksite Wellness is a temporary class moving from business to business, the effects of its instruction last much longer.

Christal Hall of Applied Felts brought the coalition’s influences to her workplace after taking its Healthy Lifestyles class, offered at the Ridgeway location, and attending aerobics regularly.

“I feel like the coalition’s efforts have made me realize that dieting doesn’t work; a lifestyle of healthy eating is the key to success,” she said.

Other positive effects include improved exercise and eating regimens, increased feelings of wellness, reduced levels of stress and influencing others outside the workplace to live healthier.

“I went from size 16 jeans to a size 10. I learned a lot from these programs, and not only am I eating healthy, but my family is also,” Hall said.

Helping people such as Hall understand the importance of healthy choices so that groups of people and families outside the workplace can benefit is a key element in shifting toward a healthier community, according to the coalition.

“A big thanks goes to the coalition for bringing healthy awareness not only to Stanley, but to the community as well,” said Stanley Furniture’s corporate nurse, Susan Kirks.

To learn more about the efforts and success of the Worksite Wellness Program, or to have the program come to an office or business, contact Sawyer at the Martinsville/Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness at 956-2983, ext. 301.


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