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Creating Health in Our Community

United Way’s walks and challenge improve health behaviors

This past fall, the United Way was busy encouraging healthy activities among businesses, organizations and individuals across our valley. Three grass roots programs, the 9 Weekly Walks, the Wellable Workplace Wellness Challenge, and the Tram Challenge, brought together thousands and resulted in hundreds of thousands of miles of physical activity, and many charitable items collected.

The United Way programs increased access to physical activity and helped change behaviors for participants

Between August 26 and October 22, over a thousand individuals participated in the 9 Weekly Walks which took place in Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. Companies and government organizations formed teams, individuals encouraged family members and many came out for the Saturday morning stretch and 5k walks led by fitness pros and local personalities.

In association with the walks, the United Way also held the Wellable Workplace Wellness Challenge in which another 423 individuals from 27 local worksites participated. Participants logged their healthy activities and steps online for points towards the finish line. In total, 199,519 miles of physical activity were tracked and the availability and accessibility of free physical activity and wellness was improved.

Over the nine weeks, walk participants also donated backpacks and school supplies, children’s books, canned food, infant care supplies, and toiletries to benefit local non-profit organizations serving Coachella Valley families in need.

The events culminated on October 24 at the iconic Palm Springs Aerial Tram Road Challenge. All participants completing the 6k, 2,000 foot incline race/walk received a medal, and those who excelled in the Workplace Wellness Challenge were awarded at the post-race ceremony.

An online post-program survey completed by 177 Workplace Wellness participants indicates improvements in healthy habits related to physical activity and nutrition. More specifically, 94.4% of participants shared that the challenge motivated them to increase physical activity and live a healthier life, while 87.0% indicated that the challenge had a positive effect on their health. As a result of the challenge, 80.5% exercised more; 56.5% consumed more nutritious foods; 59.4% increased water consumption, and 61.1% either maintained a healthy weight or lost weight.

More importantly, 90.4% of participants indicated they are likely or very likely to maintain the positive behavior changes gained during the challenge.

Overall, the 9 Weekly Walks and Workplace Wellness program increased access to physical activity and wellness activities for all Coachella Valley residents, and improved long-term physical activity and nutrition behaviors for local valley employees.

For more information on how you or your organization can get involved in the 2018 United Way Walks and Challenges call (760) 323.2731 ext. 22 or visit

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