Couch to 5K Wellness Program
August is National Wellness Month, a time for focusing on being active and improving health. At Brio Living Services, Wellness Month is an exciting time because it marks the launch of our Couch to 5k program.
Couch to 5k is a 10-week training program open for all Brio Living Services team members and their families. Last year we had 38 participants, and this year we have 71. Participating team members receive their workouts via email from Human Resources every week. Thirty-three of our team members are engaged on the Runkeeper app where participants keep each other accountable. This app sends everyone notifications when someone has completed a workout, and it creates a sense of comradery as other team members congratulate each other in the chat.
“It’s a different type of feeling when you know others are there cheering you on every step of the way,” says Jessica Finley, Benefits and Wellness Manager, who coordinates the Couch to 5k program.
In addition to the app and guided workouts, Brio offers weekly, virtual peer support groups. According to Jessica, “These groups are put in place to discuss what went well this week, what went badly, and we encourage each other to work past the barriers we face when trying to accomplish our weekly workouts.”
Katherine Potter, Clinical Care Coordinator at LifeCircles PACE in Muskegon, is participating in Couch to 5k in a unique way. Due to a medical condition, running is not a good option for her; however, she was able to substitute biking for running and still complete the workouts. Having the flexibility to alter the workout program “has made all the difference,” says Katherine.
Jessica says, “Brio not only offers tools and a community to help our team members reach their wellness goals, but we also offer financial assistance through our wellness reimbursement program. All team members receive $120 each calendar year, which means their race registrations can be reimbursed.”
The program draws to a close at the end of September, when participating team members will take part in 5k’s across the state, though some have already participated in one this summer.
For example, Cathy Rafferty, Lead Chaplain at Porter Hills Village, already ran a 5k on August 5. Cathy signed up for the Port Oneida 5k at Sleeping Bear Dunes. She says, “It’s one I used to run every year when I lived near there. It used to be a very tough (hilly and sandy trail run), but now it’s called ‘flat and fast’ on the newer paved bike trail.” Cathy says she, “Finished in 3rd place for women 60-69 and had a great time.”
Alyssa Lawrence, Quality & Compliance Administrative Assistant at LifeCircles PACE in Holland, has also completed a 5k. She served as an Angel Runner for Team Triumph, an organization that enables people with disabilities to participate in sporting events they otherwise could not. Disabled individuals are team captains and are partnered with two Angel Runners, who push their wheelchair through the race. Alyssa’s team captain was a teenage nonverbal Autistic warrior. Alyssa reached a personal record finish time for this race: “I pushed myself harder than I normally would because I didn’t want to let down our captain or my fellow Angel Runner.”
Want to be an angel yourself to someone who needs it? August 22 is National Be an Angel Day, the perfect time to engage in acts of kindness to others. Whether that means signing up to be an Angel Runner, like Alyssa, or something as simple as providing a listening ear to someone who is struggling, National Be an Angel Day encourages all of us to be supportive and empathetic to those around us.
Brio Living Services employs all sorts of angels to provide care and support for the older adults we serve! Learn more about a career you will love at Brio Living Services!