Work site wellness has started to become a big focus in businesses over the past few years. It's a beneficial luxury that larger businesses are able to offer their employees, but what happens if you are a smaller business? A two year grant program is now focusing on main street and downtown areas in hopes to solve that problem.
Joanne Joy of Healthy Communities of the Capital Area tells us of the program, "There was a group in Skowhegan that started it. They were trying to figure out ways to have micro and mini businesses have some work site wellness. The results were so good that they decided when the grant became available to focus on main streets and downtowns."
Now, Gardiner is one of twenty communities across the state taking part in the Healthy Maine Street grant program. The program focuses on physical activity, quitting smoking, and healthy eating. Healthy living tips are sent out to business employees and soon they will be creating a healthy eating passport program for the restaurants in town. At the first of the year the Take A Hike program started in Gardiner and pedometers were passed out to participants to track their steps. Along the way they have milestones that are equivalent to walking the Appalachian Trail. The incentive is that with each milestone reached they will then be entered to win some prizes.
"We've known for a long time that if you can get up in the middle of the day and move around that improves your health."
Studies have also shown that staying active helps reduce the number of sick days employees take. It also helps employees be more focused and productive at work.
Another way that they have encouraged people to increase activity is developing a walking train. Three days a week at 11:45 the train starts up in front of Reny's and makes a fifteen minute loop around Main Street. People are invited to join the train as it passes their work place. It's simple things like this that not only help boost activity, but brings a community together.
We have provided a link for more information on the Healthy Maine Streets Grant program.