Discovery’s Vitality programme has been adapted to allow South Africans to maintain a healthy body – and mind – online.
Dinesh Govender, Vitality CEO says Discovery’s comprehensive behavioural change programme has been continuing remotely since the beginning of the lockdown.
“Our data shows that South Africans can reduce their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 by engaging in healthy behaviours, including regular physical activity and healthy eating. It is significant in risk reduction. Discovery data shows that the Vitality members who exercised two to three times a week are able to reduce their risk of hospitalisation on contracting the virus by up to 13%, when compared to those that do not exercise regularly,” says Govender.
The #VitalityAtHome initiative will continue to support healthy lifestyle behaviours for members. And, some aspects of the programme are accessible to all South Africans at no cost.
Govender says this was implemented because the lockdown period invariably brings heightened levels of anxiety, and reduced levels of movement. “It has never been more important than now to make sure that all South Africans are moving and eating healthily,” he says.
“Previous data tells us that the benefits of healthy living occur across all levels of engagement. The more members engage, the lower their risk. Bronze members reduce their risk of hospitalisation, generally, by 27%. Gold and Diamond Vitality members reduce their risk by 43% when compared to non-Vitality members.”
Keep moving, stay healthy
“Whether you are running on the spot, doing burpees or lunges or squats, just getting the blood pumping is critical – not just for physical health but mental health too,” says Govender.
The physical activity programme is available online, with a live workout channel with e-fitness experts, yoga and stretch classes, Virgin Active workouts (which can earn members points) and more. In addition, the Vitality Run Series events have gone online, with virtual “runs” measured by GPS, pedometer and fitness device, that are free to enter.
“Mental wellbeing has a strong link to physical health. In fact, people with mental health issues are twice as likely to adopt unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with preventable chronic conditions. A study that was published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal showed that individuals who exercise have 43% fewer days of poor mental health than individuals who don’t.”
In this light, Govender says, Vitality has also launched a mental-wellbeing channel with a free guided meditation series, breathwork podcasts, even comedy videos available to everyone. “That is a good starting point, not only for Vitality members, but anyone to find out how to stay mentally fit at home. For members, there is a set of assessments as part of our programme that measures resilience, depression, anxiety, sleep, alcohol consumption, and general wellbeing. They receive 500 Vitality points for completing the assessment.”
Food and fun, online and accessible (plus rewards for members)
“We know it isn’t easy to keep moving right now, so while Covid-19 lockdown levels are in place, Discovery Vitality members with an active HealthyGear benefit can tog up and kit out their homes with double their regular rewards on Vitality HealthyGear items at Sportsmans Warehouse and Totalsports in May. This includes home gym equipment, heart-rate fitness devices, active wear and footwear, purchased in-store or online,” says Govender.
Since April, Vitality members have been receiving double their regular HealthyFood rewards at Woolworths and Pick n Pay, resulting in up to 100% cash back for Vitality members with Discovery Bank. There are also nudges towards healthy cooking with Vitality HealthyFood Studio’s live chef event. An interactive cooking experience via a video-call with a fun and professional master chef, is open to anyone. “Members of the public can book for an hour-long breakfast, lunch, or dinner cooking course, in which they will learn to make three healthy and delicious dishes,” says Govender.
To eat out while staying home, Discovery Vitality members can also get up to 35% back on all qualifying Vitality HealthyDining meal options ordered on UberEATS, plus 60% back on Vitality kids’ healthy meals for children under 12. That is a 10% increase from the regular benefit, says Govender.
Cash for exercising
“We know this is also a tough time financially. So, for a limited period, we are also turning exercise into money. Vitality points will be converted into Discovery Miles. For every exercise point earned, members will now earn corresponding Discovery Miles,” Govender says.
Apart from paying these rewards forward with our charitable causes, such as direct donations to the South African Solidarity Fund and getting food and handwashing stations to the most vulnerable in SA, members can also choose a Discovery custom-made fabric face mask through Vitality Active Rewards and help contain the spread of COVID-19.
“They will need 200 Discovery Miles to redeem their fabric face mask through Vitality Active Rewards. Remembering, they can easily earn at least 450 Discovery Miles by achieving weekly exercise, drive or money goals,” says Govender. The Vitality masks are also for sale at Dis-Chem or on Takealot.com for R39.99.
Notes: Discovery Bank clients earn 1 Discovery Mile for every Vitality exercise point they earn at home. This applies to exercise points earned from 18 April 2020 up to and including 29 May 2020. Read more here.
Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment and wellness markets. Since inception, Discovery has been guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. This has manifested in its globally recognised Vitality Shared-Value insurance model, exported to over 19 countries and reaching over 11 million members. Discovery trades on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, with a market cap of $7 billion.
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