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Fitness at Your Feet


Is Your Company Interested?

Stairway makeovers are all about helping people break out of bad habits, Kerr tells WebMD. "It's a win-win situation for employers. There's lot of research showing that if you have healthy employees, your productivity level will go up, your absentee level will go down. And it doesn't have to cost much. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want."


"Some people say we're just redecorating and that it doesn't make any difference," she says. "But it does. Environment is important to people, in terms of attitude and motivation."


If you're thinking about taking on a few flights a day, there are a few advisories.


"If you're overweight, you are living with risk factors for heart disease," says Goff. "The goal is to get started moving. Research shows that if you go from doing nothing to doing something, the health benefits increase."


Start small -- one flight of stairs in one trip, she says. "If you feel like you can make it up without being short of breath or fatigued, that's a good sign. Try additional flights."


If you have a chronic condition like arthritis, check with your doctor as far as the amount of activity you should get. "But with most chronic diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure, exercise only helps," says Goff.


"We're talking about a lifestyle change," she says. "This is a way to add extra physical activity to your day. You don't have to go to the gym to do it. You just incorporate into your day."


To make changes in your office building, talk to the company's wellness program coordinator (if there is one), a human resources representative, and/or the facilities design staff member.


Or call Goff for consultation first, if you wish.


"I'd be happy to help them through the process, about what we did at North Carolina Mutual," she says. "When we presented the idea, [the CEO] was excited about it. He really wanted the best for his employees. I think he knew that healthy employees make for healthy workers. He was definitely key in making this happen."


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