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Thrive’s Walking Club improves state employee health one step at a time

By Carmin Eulitt
Friday, February 23, 2024

Thrive Oklahoma Employee Wellness is on a mission to get employees moving across the state. Since its kickoff in January, the State Employee Walking Club has brought employees together once a month for a lunchtime group walk. Individuals near or far can join in person or walk simultaneously at any location. Each session offers an opportunity for exercise, fresh air and camaraderie amongst co-workers.

Thrive Program Coordinator Susan Robinson, Ed. D emphasizes that “walking is easy, and free,” and you can do it anywhere. Her motivation for starting the club was to get people up and moving. “Employees, especially working from home, are just not moving. They’re not getting up and taking breaks. So, I thought, why not? Let’s just get this going.”

Last week, Walking Club members gathered on the northern steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol building for a brief stroll. Participants from various state agencies enjoyed the fresh outside air and socialized while getting their steps in.

For some, walking in a group setting offers motivation they wouldn’t have on their own. “I like having someone to walk with; it motivates you better,” said Thelma Campbell of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC). “I’ve never been able to walk on my own.” Thelma often enjoys walking during her lunch break with a close co-worker, and the Walking Club has expanded the opportunities for socialization with others.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Human Resources Director Christine Chalmers drove from her home to the Capitol Complex to attend the event, despite having the day off work. “I just wanted to get out and enjoy the day,” said Chalmers. For her, the best part of the club is “getting to meet other folks from different agencies.”

For others, walking is an essential part of health maintenance. Another OESC employee, Debbie B., recounted her 42 years working for the State of Oklahoma. Beginning her employment at age 18, Debbie has routinely walked the Capitol Complex tunnels during her lunch. “When I started out, I would walk the tunnels and smoke cigarettes, which is why I’m on oxygen now.” Despite requiring oxygen therapy, Debbie continues walking and attributes her positive health outcomes to the many years she spent moving. “I don’t think I’d even be here if I hadn’t walked all this time.”

Because the club’s events take place during lunchtime on workdays, employees can conveniently get their exercise in without disrupting their routine outside of work. Depending on personal goals, walking can supplement typical gym routines or even serve as a primary form of exercise if done often enough. “I don’t have to go to a fitness club and work out like crazy,” said Vicky Rogers of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Instead, she can take a quick walk on her lunch break to fulfill her goal of becoming healthier.

State employees are encouraged to join the club and participate in the group walks and fitness challenges offered. Movement is a key component of maintaining good health, and walking can enhance all individual fitness goals.

Visit the Thrive website to learn more about the Walking Club, view fitness center discounts for state employees and browse Healthier Living Toolkits.

Last Modified on Mar 04, 2024
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