A programme designed to encourage medical insurance clients to live healthier, and encourage others to do the same – has awarded its top performers for their hard work.

BF&M’s LiveWell Programme is a comprehensive, holistic health and wellness programme designed to help individuals better understand and manage their personal health and improve their quality of life.

The programme, now in its second year, awards the top 15 champions from a range of companies, including BF&M, for points accumulated over the year that are awarded based on activities ranging from increasing exercise to reducing stress.

Brenda Dale, AVP of Wellness at BF&M, said, “We offer this both internally and externally to health clients. It’s very important for us here that we walk the walk and practice what we preach.”

The top 15 points achievers in 2016 were able to earn up to 800 points through a series of challenges and activities including walking 7500 steps in a day and exercising for 30 minutes.

Through the company’s platform, the participants could log their points and challenge the other 700-plus LiveWell participants to compete against each other to motivate and inspire.

Edwina Arorash, an administrative assistant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, was the 2016 top points earner with 757 points. The long-time runner, who has been with the programme since its inception two years ago, said it has helped her to stay motivated by the sense of accomplishment when she gains points.

“I want to be around for a long time so I want to take care of myself. I really get inspired by older people who are still running and active. I have a lot of people tell me that I’m too old to still be running but I don’t feel any need to stop. The more encouragement I have to stay with it the better,” said Ms Arorash, who is in her 60s and often wins in her category in local road races.

“You don’t see a lot of older people still running here and I think the more encouragement people have to get out and get active the better. I started running 30 years ago. When I saw Merernette Bean run May 24 in 1976 at the time I thought, 'A woman can’t run a half-marathon', but then she did it and I realised I could as well and I’ve been running ever since.”

“I think if people got out and were active, no matter what their age, they would start to feel good about themselves.”

Margaret Giloth, a senior supervisor for the after-school programmes at Department of Youth & Sports, added, “All of the challenges that are sent out, including healthy recipes and tips, really helped me. I also use [an activity] tracker, which I never take off, and that definitely helps motivate me to keep active.

“For me, I started with the programme because I wanted to increase my energy. I started by doing more walking and going up the stairs. At first, when I started, it was hard but just adding those small changes can make a big difference over time.”

For Sarah Cook, financial controller at Bermuda Cancer and Health, technology has definitely helped her set and reach her goals.

“Like any health initiative people are motivated by setting goals and having that accountability factor. Apps have allowed for an easier time tracking and having it in the palm of your hand rather than having to log into a PC,” explained Ms Cook.

While there is motivation from technology, as well as colleagues, friends and family members (the program allows participants to invite three friends or family members to join) the programme uses a huge incentive by giving participants ways to gain points through challenges throughout the year. There are also deals from local health organizations, such as discounts on pole dancing classes.

And while increasing activity is a large part of the program, some weeks encouraged participants to use stress-reducing techniques to create a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle.

“The top three challenges that we see are poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and stress,” said Ms Dale. “Some of the habits that we encourage to help stress less include turning off mobile phones and trying deep relaxation techniques. It’s all about taking small steps to big changes.”

Ms Giloth said for one of the relaxation challenges that was sent out during the year, the team at her office used the tips as an opportunity to get together in the afternoons and turn off from work for 10 minutes and use the relaxation techniques.

“This type of programme is useful within a company setting because colleagues can inspire each other and it makes it an easier way to get into a healthy lifestyle when we are accountable to the people around us,” said Ms Dale.

“Wellness is a journey, not a destination and it is an individual journey but it helps to be part of a team, however there is an individual part to it and we tell people that you can go on and off but it’s important that you get back on.”

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