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Insurance workers complete their walk around the world

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More than 60 employees of Colonial Insurance celebrated the end of their walk around the world last Tuesday.

The company, as part of its wellness programme for staff, encouraged them to take part in a virtual walk across the world. The exercise saw participants start in New Zealand and visit countries the world over including Fiji, Burma and Uganda.

Staff operating in groups of seven, competed against other groups at Colonial but also against 130,000 other participants from around the world as part of the Global Corporate Challenge.

According to Colonial’s Wellness Director Jacqueline Teunissen, the aim of the Global Corporate Challenge was to combat the growing health risks associated with the increasingly sedentary nature of today’s modern workforce.

“It achieves this by challenging employees to walk more than 10,000 steps per day a proven and recommended way of reducing your overall risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes,” said Ms Teunissen.

Ten thousand steps is the equivalent of about five miles.

During the 16-week programme 63 Colonial employees walked a combined 102,104,482 steps more than 40,604 miles. In fact Colonial’s team Earth Walk was leading the global insurance industry sector for many weeks until at the last moment it dropped down to second.

While disappointed with that, the team was happy with its first place finish among Colonial colleagues. As Earth Walk ended in Russia, Colonial laid on a Russian themed lunch for all participants.

Body & Soul was on hand and spoke with many who took part. Cammie Simmons was captain of Sole Express the team that placed second at Colonial and 464th globally.

“I found this an exciting experience,” she said. A very active person even before the challenge, she said she had no difficulty achieving the suggested 10,000 steps every day.

“I’m in the gym twice a day. I run. I do P90X and insanity, so I averaged between 15,000 and 18,000 steps a day,” she said. A fitness junkie she really enjoyed seeing her workmates become more active.

“We used to walk three or four miles together at lunch break and we always went to the gym,” she said. A perk of working at Colonial is that you get free gym membership. Despite this, not everyone uses it. Ms Simmons said in her team only three were using the gym prior to the Global Corporate Challenge.

“I was very excited to see all of us using the gym, “she said. “This challenge really got people out and I think that’s good,” she added.

Sheldon Maybury, a fellow team member of Ms Simmons agreed. He revealed that he now rides his pedal cycle regularly a direct result of the challenge. “The cycle was actually a gift. I had it for about a year but was frightened to ride it,” he said.

Mr Maybury explained that a few years ago when he found himself completely out of breath and feeling dizzy on a short ride from Colonial’s offices on Reid Street to the ferry terminal at Albouy’s Point, he was concerned that he wouldn’t be safe riding further.

Taking part in the GCC where he increased his walking and working out at the gym, he eventually felt confident enough to ride. Now he says he can ride for as long as two hours, and feel great.

And he also thinks he lost some weight. “I guess I lost some, I don’t know but my clothes are fitting me much better now,” he said.

Cheryl Watts was captain for the Best Foot Forward group where members lost a total of 21 ¾ inches more than any other Colonial team. She said she averaged around 15,000 steps a day but was so committed to doing at least 10,000 a day that when she fell short, she would pace up and down her house.

“I was really determined,” she said.

And now that it’s over she said she has developed a feel for just how much she’s walked a day. “I will continue to be active and to walk but I am relieved not to have to be tracking myself so closely,” she said.

Colonial’s Chief Operating Officer Naz Farrow also took part in the challenge. In a written statement she said: “Getting involved in the Global Corporate Challenge has had an amazing impact on our business. Not only did staff increase their physical activity levels, but they also had noticeably more energy at work. With more and more staff in offices sitting down all day, we wanted to ensure we play our part in helping staff to lead healthy and active lives. We’re really delighted with the results.”

She said the company encouraged staff to make simple, healthier choices throughout their day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and using their lunch break to go for a walk, to help achieve their 10,000 step goal for the day.

Global Corporate Challeng, chief executive officer Glen Risely said that workplaces were fast turning into the new battleground for chronic disease prevention.

He said: “Colonial is one of the global organisations leading the way in prioritising the health and well-being of their staff and should be applauded for their success in the GCC (Global Corporate Challenge).”

Some impressive statisticsColonial employees walked an average of 14,659 steps per day or just over seven miles.

Winning team Earth Walk averaged 21,006 steps a day or 10.5 miles.

Second place team Sole Express averaged 19,392 steps a day or 9.5 miles.

Lisa Blackburn places a medal around fellow emplyee Sheldon Maybuy's neck duirng The end-of-challenge party at Colonial Insurance Tuesday( Photo by Glenn Tucker )
Group Compliance Officer Cheryl Watts holds up her medal during the end-of-challenge party at Colonial Insurance.
Employees enjoy lunch and thier medals during The end-of-challenge party at Colonial Insurance Tuesday( Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published September 27, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 27, 2011 at 9:06 am)

Insurance workers complete their walk around the world

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