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5 Ways to Drive Healthy Behavior Change Virtually

Originally posted on https://ebn.benefitnews.com

Employees have access to thousands of apps covering health and wellness on their mobile device. Employers and wellness vendors can offer workers hi-tech ways to track their physical activity, promote healthy eating and inspire wellness at work. Here are five mobile apps and outreach ideas to get employees moving and engaged in your wellness program.

1. Stretch reminders on computer screens

For office employees sitting at their desk all day, sedentary work can cramp muscles and staring at a computer screen too long can cause eye strain. Employers can remind employees to take stretch breaks by building reminders into the network, such as having a reminder pop-up on their computer.

2. Apps inspire movement

On the app side, HotSeat challenges people to get out of their seats for small breaks. It includes competitions, feedback on how your small bouts of physical activity add up to meaningful amounts. UtiliFit is another app that is breaking into this space, says LuAnn Heinen, vice president and wellness leader, National Business Group on Health.

3. Healthy smart-receipts

Employers can encourage better nutrition and healthy food choices with smart receipts from the company cafeteria, says the National Business Group on Health vice president and wellness leader. When employees purchase food at the company café, the smart receipt shows the calorie and nutritional content of their food choices.

4. Virtual trainers

Many employees can’t afford to hire a personal trainer, but technology like Anthem’s and online trainer FitOrbit’s virtual fitness and real-time, Internet-based coaching offers fitness training without breaking the banks. After selecting a trainer based on a short questionnaire, the employee electronically receives a customized fitness and nutrition plan and ongoing coaching – the latter via the modern miracle of unlimited texting, plus a weekly personal exercise plan – to support their goals.

5. Behavioral motivation online

StickK app and website asks individuals to put up their own money for a charity that they hate if they don’t accomplish their wellness or other goal. The StickK website facilitates that transaction so that a gun control advocate, for example, would have to fork over cash to the National Rifle Association for failing to meet their goal. The platform also builds in an array of behavior principles (beyond giving away your money to a cause you oppose), among them social recognition and rewards, and feedback.