Last week my family and I surrendered to our curiosity about Pokemon Go. After dinner, we downloaded the app… just to take a look. In less than a minute, we all had our shoes on and were out the door, hunting Pokemon.
Nobody twisted our arms — no one paid us to head outside to walk and run or threatened to fine us if we didn’t. We didn’t even think of it as exercise; locating Pokemon and outrunning each other trying to nab them has been just plain fun.
Peer support can mean the difference between success and failure in many endeavors: academics, athletics, health habits, work projects. A particularly effective approach is the buddy model, where groups of 2 work together to achieve shared or similar goals. But it’s not as simple as just saying “buddy up.” Buddy systems for health behavior change are most effective when:
Individuals pair up voluntarily based on reciprocal friendship. Social media has given rise to lots of faux friendships — “friends” who are really acquaintances. For best results, health buddies should be actual friends who engage off line as well as on, not just someone from the Facebook list.
"This wellness challenge has helped me a great deal. I was told that I was in the borderline of depression, and was told to take meds, but I got into this challenge with my coworkers and WOW it has been helping me a lot. You keep up the great work.”
It’s no secret that a fit, healthy lifestyle is a powerful anti-depressant. Being physically active is a simple, everyday habit that builds resilience and fosters mental well-being.
Perhaps your company cafeteria has a smoothie bar… now imagine a stationary bike with an attached blender where you can make your own smoothies while pedaling. And occasionally the CEO or plant manager gets on that bike and makes custom smoothies for you. Pretty cool, huh? That’s exactly what you find in a growing number of GE Healthcare’s global cafeterias serving 55,000 employees.
Blender-bikes are only a glimpse at the creativity and innovation that go into GE’s world-class model for the nutrition pillar component of their program. Jason Morgan (Director, Global Health and Wellness) shared his philosophy. “I strive to build our programs on a solid foundation of fitness and nutrition. That means putting in place the necessary resources and policies to support our global network. When we decided to focus on nutrition, our first goal was requiring 75% of all company cafeteria food options to be healthy. Stateside we define ‘healthy’ according to American Dietetic Association and other expert guidelines. Overseas, we take into consideration country-specific guidelines based on how they prepare their native food. For instance, 75% healthy looks a bit different in Singapore than the US.”