Incentives for Healthy Living

One of the main benefits of the Virgin HealthMiles activity rewards program is that it provides a nice incentive for healthy living.

Part of the program encourages the use of “challenges” where participants can challenge one or more others in the program to a friendly competition. In addition to the participant-initiated challenges, the plan sponsor (in our case, HealthFlex, our health insurance plan in the United Methodist Church) can offer a organization-wide challenge once a year. This is our second annual such challenge.

My goals and interest in 2010 HealthFlex HealthMiles Challenge that beings Monday isn’t just about being among the leaders of the pack of more than 3,000 participants or even helping my team/conference do well (although I hope to do both :-)), it’s also about taking advantage of this incentive for healthy living.

While I tend to be fairly active in terms of getting my steps, I don’t think I do a good enough job of getting my heart rate up enough days of the week, which is important for heart health. And heart health is important to me because I’ve battled the “bad” cholesterol (i.e., LDL) all of my adult life. And even though my diet is probably average or better, there’s room for improvement (I’ve always said, whether it’s true or not, I just don’t think my body knows what to do with whatever saturated fat I do get in my diet).

So, I’m looking forward to the upcoming 29-day challenge, not just for the competition and the self-testing, but also for the extra incentive that it will be to live healthy!

As I gear up for the challenge, I racked up 20,000+ steps Wednesday and 31,500+ steps Thursday (in what I thought was a mediocre day, actually). I took it easy Friday, getting 12,000+ steps. Today, I wasn’t planning to do more than 20,000 steps, and would’ve been play with 12,000, but will probably go over 23,000. Tomorrow, the final day before the 29-day marathon, I’ll try to limit myself to 7,000 steps (but hopefully not much more than 12,000, at the most). Then, it’ll be full-on for 29 days!

Everyone needs incentives. What are your incentives for active, healthy living?

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