As a business owner or manager, it’s probably no surprise to you that your employees are your most important assets, and you want them to enjoy their work environment and bring the best of themselves to their jobs every day. Encouraging your employees to embrace fitness as a lifestyle choice can pay off in increased productivity and job satisfaction. The challenge for your employees today is finding the time to fit a regular physical fitness routine into their already busy and hectic modern lives.
Americans are fast becoming slaves to things that are "convenient". We have remote controls for the TV, drive-up windows at banks and fast food restaurants and we use elevators and escalators instead of climbing stairs. Because we love "convenient" things and are not as physically active as we used to be, obesity is rapidly becoming epidemic in America, with nearly a third of Americans now classified as obese. As a result, more people are no longer physically fit, leading to numerous health problems - and increasing health care costs for employers.
As a business owner you might be thinking so what? What does obesity have to do with the way my business functions? If my employees are doing their jobs, then obesity doesn't affect me. But that's where you’re wrong. Healthier, physically active employees equate to a more productive workplace and there are many reasons why it’s important to encourage your employees to exercise.
Even moderate amounts of regular physical activity bring evident, lasting health benefits, reducing the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other preventable ailments and injuries.
For your business, the implications are clear: Encouraging physical activity yields measureable gains in the form of lower health-insurance costs and improved employee performance – a fact that many large companies figured out long ago. In 1991, a study at Steelcase, an office-equipment manufacturer, found that, over a six-year period, participants in a corporate fitness program had medical claim costs 55% lower than nonparticipants. As an employer battling to manage bottom line costs, your challenge is finding ways to lower your health care costs while still offering health benefits that will attract and retain quality employees. One key thing you can do to achieve this goal is to finding a way to motivate your employees to start – and keep - exercising.
Such results lie behind the introduction of fitness centers and exercise programs that many large companies now offer their employees as part of their wellness programs. A 1992 government survey found that more than two-thirds of companies with more than 250 employees had fitness programs of some kind.
When it comes to small businesses, though, the picture is cloudier and there is no study data available for companies with fewer than 50 employees. "We're not really sure what's happening among the small-business population," says David Hunnicutt, president of Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA), a nonprofit health-promotion organization.
So how do you get your employees to start exercising and keep them motivated to stick with it? The best way is to offer them an incentive based on measureable results. Numerous studies confirm that cash or an equivalent - such as points they can redeem for prizes – are among the best incentives to get people motivated to exercise. Once that’s accomplished, though, you’re going to need to educate your employees about the benefits of regular physical activity and how it can improve their lives. But they’re also going to need to your help in designing a fitness program that they’re going to be more likely to stick to.
1. What can a business do to help their employees get in better shape?
A: A business can offer to subsidize a gym membership for their employees or provide other incentives like contributing towards personal training. They can also offer recreational activities such as pick-up
basketball or softball games either on weeknights after work or on weekends.
2. What can someone do at their desk during the day?
A: They can lean against their desk and do push-ups. They can also do sets of squats, using their chair for support and standing up and sitting down several times. They can also do isometric abdominal exercises while sitting at their desk by simply tightening their stomach - or sucking it in by taking a deep breath - and holding it for as long as they’re able.
3. How can someone with a full-time job fit in a workout?
A: Since many gyms open by 6 AM, they can go in the morning before heading to work or after work before heading home. They can also do a quick run or walk during their lunch break.
4. How much time is needed to get a beneficial workout?
A: This depends on the person’s intensity level. A motivated person can get a beneficial workout in 30 to 45 minutes if they minimize rest periods and focus on the task at hand.
5. What are the best exercises to do if you are short on time?
A: Compound exercises that include multiple muscle groups such as bench presses, push-ups, pull-ups, dead lifts, squats and lunges. For cardiovascular benefits, high intensity interval training works best.
6. How does exercising help your energy levels?
A: It improves your cardiovascular stamina, breathing, muscle strength and conditioning. When you improve your overall health, your energy levels will also improve.
7. If a person is really out of shape, how should they go about starting an exercise program?
A: They should start slowly and not overdo it. Begin with a short cardiovascular warm-up followed by a resistance training circuit and ending with a longer bout of cardiovascular exercise. This should be done no less than three days a week. For optimal results, five days will be more beneficial if you’re on a proper exercise protocol. Those unsure of how to get started should consult a personal trainer.
8. How long before they see results?
A: They will start feeling results in a week or two. Visible results will take at least six to eight weeks, though, so be patient. It takes time for your body to adapt to the changes you are forcing it to make.
This blog post was written by my colleague, Nick Cerone, Fitness Director @ THE GYM of Armonk. On a regular basis, we will be sharing articles and posts from our three locations:
I hope you enjoy the posts and find them informative and helpful.
THE GYM ENGLEWOOD
20 Nordhoff Place
Englewood, NJ 07631