Government program ends with 5.5-mile walk
Published: March 22, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The eight-week wellness program to get government employees walking is wrapping up Saturday with a 5.5-mile group walk and beach day with fun and healthy activities.
In January, the V.I. Personnel Division launched the "Just walk 10,000 steps a day" program to get government workers moving. Personnel Director Kenneth Hermon Jr. gave participants a pedometer to track the number of daily steps they took and set up a website to log in their results.
"It was amazing the level of participation," Hermon said. "We had anticipated 1,700 employees, but at the end of the day, more than 2,500 signed up."
In total, 240,033,127 steps - a total of 120,000 miles - were logged by those who participated.
"We like to end with a party, so we're inviting all government employees, to come join us for a grand finale walk," Hermon said.
The walk will start at 5:30 a.m. at Lindbergh Bay. The group will walk up to Nisky Center, loop back by the Water and Power Authority plant, then head out towards the University of the Virgin Islands.
They will finish the trek by climbing Black Point Hill and taking a group picture at the top. Then everyone will walk back to Brewer's Bay Beach for a healthy breakfast, cooking demonstration and fun healthy activities, such as water exercising and zumba classes.
A ceremony honoring the top steppers of each department and those who did the most walking overall will also take place.
A similar group walk and fun day will be on St. Croix on April 6.
Hermon said the eight-week challenge was part of a wellness program funded in part by the government's health insurer, Cigna.
Hermon said as health insurance premiums continue to rise, the only way to help control costs is by creating a healthier population that requires fewer medical services.
"Right now, the key factor in controlling cost is the employees," Hermon said. "In understanding that the lack of physical fitness has a dollar amount attached to it."
He said people who participated in the walking program were surprised at how easy it was to lose weight and how much having a pedometer helped to push them to do more than they would have otherwise.
In May, another eight-week walking program will begin for any government employee who wants to join the effort to get healthy.
For more information, contact 774-8588 on St. Thomas or St. John and 718-8588 on St. Croix.
- Contact Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynwes-vi.