What’s creative about walking? If you are Aegis Therapies, a leading provider of contract rehabilitation and wellness services in the United States, the answer is everything.
One of the company’s recent innovations, WALK! with Aegis Therapies, has garnered nationwide attention as more than 50,000 participants collectively walked about 100,000 miles by the end of the company’s weeklong celebration of health and wellness, held September 20–24, in 2010.
How did Aegis accomplish these numbers, especially given the fact that their first Walk Your Ageis event took place in 2009?
First off, the events are hosted at 582 client locations across the US, including independent living communities, assisted living centers, continuing care retirement communities, skilled nursing facilities, and other locations.
Everyone participating in WALK! with Aegis Therapies receives an activity card for the week. Attendees walk 15–30 minutes on each of the five days. They also listen to upbeat songs on CDs narrated by health and fitness expert Chris Freytag, which are custom-made for these activities. In addition to daily walking, the program features other activities designed to encourage active aging and wellness and highlight different dimensions of wellness. These events are structured to remind participants of the importance of nourishing their emotional and intellectual health, in addition to maintaining their physical well-being.
Each participant’s activity card is stamped to mark days they complete both the daily walking exercise and the wellness activity planned for the day. Participating sites calculate miles walked daily by participants at each location, and Aegis staff tally the total miles walked at locations across the nation. Aegis also track contributions of participants who are in wheelchairs or otherwise unable to walk, as they engage in other physical activities.
In addition to walking, each day of WALK! with Aegis Therapies incorporates another dimension of wellness as follows:
Monday: intellectual wellness
Creative and stimulating mental activities include trivia questions about America and brain teasers.
Tuesday: emotional wellness
Activities encourage participants to stay positive, connect with others, and remain physically active. Attendees write thank-you or caring notes to friends, loved ones or caregivers; alternatively, they may engage in another activity that promotes positive thinking.
Wednesday: spiritual wellness
A 15-minute guided meditation segment encourages participants to merge the physical realm of wellness with the spiritual.
Thursday: occupational wellness
Participants engage each other in a game that involves going through the alphabet and listing as many occupations as they can for each letter.
Friday: social wellness
Activities promote social wellness and the importance of socializing with others. Socializing involves using good communications skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, and creating a support system that includes family, friends and caregivers.
Ultimately, WALK! with Aegis Therapies helps to spread the word about the importance of getting—and staying—healthy, and that participants use the program as a springboard to a happier and healthier life.
What are you doing to turn basic ideas into creative programming?