A Macon-Bibb County resolution is in talks to pay county employees extra to get walking. It is a program many other local companies are doing as well. Navicent Health is giving employees a bonus for living healthy, and it seems to be working.
Many people say staying healthy is a lifestyle. Bibb County Commissioner Virgil Watkins proposed that the county get their employees fit by paying them to reach step goals using a fitness tracker like a FitBit.
For county employees to earn the top bonus, workers would have to record about 11,000 steps a day for 90 days. But just how far is that?
"10,000 steps is about 4 or 5 miles, so 11,000 would be between there. People really don't realize because they're doing their everyday activities, but 10,000 steps if you're walking quickly, you can do that in about an hour,” explains trainer at Kinetix Tim Northcutt.
Tonja Jordan at Navicent Health says she doesn't count steps, but the incentive program at her job called "Live Healthy" has helped her lose 100 pounds over three years. The program asks employees to complete certain activities each year like races, doctor's appointments, screenings, and exercise. For each challenge, they earn $25.
"You earn points for just being nice and for activities liked reading a book, taking classes at the Wellness Center or just exercising. It's just working on the whole body -- you know, your body, your mind, and your soul,” says Jordan.
She says losing the weight has changed her life from the big things to the small.
"With school trips, I would have to send my mother if it required I had to sit in a chair with arms or a lot of walking. My younger daughter, she had to tie my shoes,” recalls Jordan.
She says before, just walking the 50 yards to the bathroom from her desk was a task, but now, she does it with ease.
Mercer University also does a program called "Healthy U" that encourages employees to get active by redeeming their points as days off or dollars off their health plan. GEICO also does a FitBit challenge offering incentives to employees for reaching step goals.