All UVI employees are encouraged to join in a new “Just Walk – 10,000 Steps A Day” wellness program. This initiative is sponsored by the Government of the Virgin Islands and the Government Employees Service Commission Group Health Insurance Board, with funding from CIGNA HealthCare, the government’s health insurance provider. To kick off the eight-week, 10,000 Steps program, UVI will conduct group walks covering approximately 10,000 steps on St. Thomas and St. Croix on Saturday, Feb. 23.
This new wellness activity, offered free to UVI employees, is designed to help change the mindset of government employees about wellness and health, according to UVI’s Director of Employee Benefits and Immigration Services Veda Richards. The goal is to eventually lower the cost of health insurance as UVI employees begin to practice a healthier lifestyle.
Employees must enroll during the registration period of Feb. 18 through 21. The actual 10,000 Steps program will run from Feb. 25 through April 22. During this time, individual employees will use a specialized website to set personal goals and record their progress based on daily pedometer readings. Pedometers will be provided to all registered participants.
Since weight control is a key element of a healthy lifestyle, the program’s website will feature a special calculator to show individuals how many steps are needed per day, based on their personal weight, height and stride length, to either maintain current weight or to lose weight. Program participants who are already active can use the pedometer in conjunction with a step chart that translates other activities, like biking or weight training, into steps. The website will also serve as a source for coaching tips and fun facts.
UVI Physical Plant and Security employees can register on paper at their department offices. All other employees must register online. The web page that employers will use for registration and throughout the program is scheduled to become available Feb. 18. The link will be distributed to employees when it is available.
Both kick-off walks begin at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. On St. Thomas the walk starts at and returns to Fort Christian. The St. Croix walk starts at and finishes at the St. Croix Majorettes Headquarters at Peter’s Rest. UVI employees will be joined by employees of the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA), another semi-autonomous government agency.
While designed for UVI and VIPA employees, the walks are open to anyone – family members, etc. A limited number of 10,000 Steps promotional items – such as t-shirts, water bottles, shoe wallets and towels – will be available for employees only. Pedometers and other items will be distributed by the Human Resources Office in the Administration and Conference Center on St. Thomas and by the Business Office at the Evans Center on St. Croix on Thursday, Feb. 21.