Stephen works for a company that has a wellness program.  I think that 2012 is the 3rd year for the program.  Each year has been significantly different than the prior one.  I believe the company is still trying to figure out the best approach.  In my opinion, the overall goal is to motivate the employees (and spouses) to live healthier lives.  This reduces the cost of healthcare and should be a win win.

Part of the plan includes monetary incentives for participating in different parts of the program.  This year, we have something new call Virgin Health Miles.  In a nutshell, you can earn up to $300 for acquiring steps on their Go Zone pedometer.

So far, I can not figure out how the program is really supposed to work.  It doesn’t seem realistic to earn enough miles/steps to achieve the $300.  I haven’t found any information that gives sample workouts or plans to achieve the goal.  I’ve read that you don’t have to be a marathoner to reach the goal, but I’m not yet convinced.  Several places within the Virgin Health Miles website, I’ve read that you should have 5 days of 7,000 steps or more.  I believe that is doable each week.  However, you earn 60 points for 7,000 steps. Five days a week of that will getto about 15,000 points in a year, but 36,000 points is needed to get to $300.  There are tons of other things that earn points.  So far, most of them are busy work.  You get points for signing into the site, points for signing up, points for different challenges (that are undefined thus far) and points for entering activity.  There’s also a whole section for active minutes which doesn’t seem to apply to me.  You can get credit for active minutes if you are fast enough.  I have tons of endurance, but speed is not my forte.

Here are some examples:

  • water aerobics class – doesn’t count since we can’t wear the pedometer in the water
  • strength training – counts for a few steps, but doesn’t get much considering how tough of a workout it is
  • spinning – my toughest workout of the week, but I don’t spin fast enough for long enough for me to get many active minutes

So far, I think the program is geared toward runners or fast walkers.  It’s not geared for a variety of workouts or endurance events.

It’s good for me to play along since I can use any motivation that comes my way in terms of taking a few extra steps.  But, I also don’t like to play these kind of games when money is involved.