The author:

David Jaenike
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March 14, 2021United StatesBlog

Soon to be meme Grant Taleck likes walking

And he isn’t slowing down anytime soon

On March 13, 2021 Grant Taleck walked 33.09 miles. Let that sink in. The walk lasted 9 hours 26 minutes, and by the end of it he had this to say in a DM to me: “And mow my legs are extremely sore” (not correcting his typo because who can blame him). What originally sparked my interest in Grants mission was a “modest” 20.73 mile walk one week prior. He posted his walk on twitter and immediately I made the connection to an initiative happening in the health and safety world. So we started chatting. His mission is simple. Get people to start walking more. Grant started actively pursuing and promoting his mission in March 2020 when COVID forced a lot of the workforce to work remotely, including himself. Working remotely he found it hard to meet his daily quota of 10,000 steps, so in order to get his steps Grant had to actively block out parts of his day to go for walks. To his surprise he actually found himself able to stay productive on his walks, and even encouraged his colleagues to join him (remotely) during extended phone calls. Grant also doesn’t have a car (which is intentional). This is pretty common for residents in bigger cities with robust public transportation, but for someone living in Somerville, MA it’s much more challenging. Grant gave the example of shopping for groceries, an essential task which most people use a vehicle to complete. Completing the entire grocery shopping process on foot forces Grant to shop locally, buy only essential food, then carry it home serving as his workout for the day. Brilliant.

The benefits

In addition to the numerous physical/mental health benefits of daily exercise, Grant found that his sleep schedule became much more consistent after he started his mission. He also mentioned that once his sleep schedule fell into a routine, the domino effect known as “habit stacking” came into play helping align other aspects of his life. Habit stacking is just adding new habits to a cycle that is already built into your brain, making it easier to stick to that new habit.

How does this apply to worker safety?

Total. Worker. Health. The Total Worker Health (TWH) initiative brings together all aspects of work that collectively address worker safety, health, and well-being. In addition to addressing hazards in the workplace, the TWH approach also influences worker safety by offering tools and teaching skills that positively impact the overall health of the worker. And as far as the health benefits from walking the CDC has published numerous studies, but we can sum it up here: “... compared with taking 4,000 steps per day, a number considered to be low for adults, taking 8,000 steps per day was associated with a 51% lower risk for all-cause mortality (or death from all causes). Taking 12,000 steps per day was associated with a 65% lower risk compared with taking 4,000 steps.” So encourage your employees to go for walks on their breaks, and even at home. Incentivize it with a step count competition.

Why NOT walk?

Think about it, walking is a relatively inexpensive way to stay active. All you need are clothes and a pair of tennis shoes. And if you’re going out in public let’s hope you at least have one of the two. Encouraging your workforce to consistently engage in this activity is a great first step to start your TWH program at work. So let’s take a page out of Grants walk journal and hit the pavement.

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