Strategies and Tools
Set worksite wellness goals to increase physical activity among adults with physical limitations such as arthritis, in addition to supporting other healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation and healthy weight/nutrition.
Almost half of all adults with arthritis also have at least one other disease or condition (2007 National Health Interview Survey). Heart disease is very common among adults with arthritis, as well as chronic respiratory conditions and diabetes. Adopting worksite wellness goals for physical activity will send the message that this intervention is critical to the health of all employees. It may also set the stage for movement towards adopting a comprehensive worksite wellness policy.
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Offer opportunities and scheduling flexibility so all employees can engage in physical activity during the workday.
Several toolkits offer ideas, steps, and resources for providing employees a range of options to make physical activity a regular part of their workday. All can be implemented at any worksite either individually or as part of a comprehensive worksite wellness program. It is important to keep in mind that any physical activity is better than none and that activity can be broken up into small amounts, at least 10 minutes at a time, during the day. Offering employees flexibility to fit physical activity into their workload and personal needs is key.
Use audits or walk-ability checklists to assess whether worksite walking trails, paths, and indoor walking routes are accessible to persons with arthritis.
Walkability audits are designed to assess availability, safety, and attractiveness of walking routes in and around your worksite. They help you map out the most commonly used walking routes and identify the most common safety hazards and inconveniences that can keep employees from walking at work. Audits may identify, for example, that chairs or benches for resting may increase the use of walking routes.
Establish a worksite wellness program that includes at least one arthritis appropriate physical activity intervention in your schedule of offerings; ensure the availability of physical activity interventions that are inclusive of adults with arthritis but not branded specifically for arthritis.
Six physical activity programs have been proven to enhance the symptoms, function, and quality of life of adults with arthritis. In addition, CDC has developed a guidance document to help select the appropriate interventions for your situation.
If your worksite has a fitness facility, a few specific recommendations to make the equipment and classes more accessible for employees with arthritis should be considered. They are adapted from The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability:
- Fewer pieces of equipment that are more spread out so users have a choice of getting on the equipment from the right or left side and more space to place a mobility device
- More space between the equipment and the wall to allow adequate room to get on the equipment
- Clear paths to the equipment to prevent any impediments to access
- No minimum speed on cardiovascular equipment so equipment can be used at any desired speed
- Classes that an instructor can adapt for a person with restricted mobility
- A facility that is accessible by both stairs and elevators
- No heavy doors and/or closets that can be a problem for people with strength difficulties
- Areas of additional seating for people who might need periodic rest
- No door knob handles that may be difficult for people who lack hand dexterity
- Sufficient handle bars on equipment to add stability to all types of equipment
- Seats on stationary bicycles that provide adequate back support and allow users with back problems to use the equipment safely.
To learn more
Employee Wellness Policy from Partners in Care Foundation-San Fernando Site (see following pages)