Encouraging Fitness In The Workplace

If you are reading this at work, stand up for a while. In fact, between each paragraph, touch your toes or read this article while taking a walk around the cubicles.

Leadership experts, industry influencers and productivity gurus all agree: a fit workplace is a productive workplace. Even a little bit of movement on the job can make a big difference in how you feel and ultimately how you work.

Given how critical exercise is to your overall health, it is not surprising that top companies like Google, Hootsuite, Kraft Foods and Microsoft—just to name a few—have on-site gyms or pay for their employees’ fitness memberships.

These corporate giants not only encourage their employees to workout, they even pay them to exercise by facilitating mid-day gym breaks. Why? The answer may surprise you: there is built-in ROI.

A study from the University of Minnesota has shown that exercise is good for both your health and overall productivity. Treadmill desks were installed at one firm and a boost was seen in both quality and quantity of work. As an added bonus, employees also became more physically fit!

But how do you encourage employees to squeeze fitness into their already busy lives? An easy way is to incorporate a Wellness Plan for your office that offers incentives to employees that get moving. Here are some tips to get started:

Appoint a health ambassador to assemble a wellness team

Under the guidance of human resources or other management, this ambassador can develop a list of wellness activities that your employees can incorporate into their daily routine.

  • Take a short walk at lunch
  • Stand up and stretch every two hours
  • Add a healthy recipe to the community board
  • Organize monthly pot-luck lunches with healthy dishes
  • Attend a weekly lunchtime exercise class
  • Hold walking meetings instead of sitting around a conference table
  • Create a community board where people can share their fitness ideas and health tips
  • Add a health and wellness section in the company newsletter, focus on topics like “What Works For Me”

Track employee performance

The person with the most accomplishments every month could receive a gift card or other prize. Another way to get employees to work out is to sponsor their gym memberships, whether in whole or partially. Employees who work out together forge a camaraderie that carries into the workplace, making for better team-building experiences—and more productive employees.

Most gyms will work with corporations to offer discounts and easy payroll deductions to make the process streamlined. There are tax benefits to the company as well. Compare the costs and benefits of running an in-house program versus underwriting employees’ gym memberships. A combination of the two might also work best.

Get fit today!

The key is to do something to start the process. Once a process is put in place, it is both easy and fun to incorporate fitness into the work day!

JoAnn Merklinghaus is a corporate sales consultant with King’s Court Health & Sports Club in Lyndhurst, NJ. She is also a certified fitness instructor and can be reached at (201) 310-5161. King’s Court is a family-owned, state-of-the art health club that recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. A fixture in Lyndhurst for over 30 years, the facility has two levels of the latest fitness equipment, including full weight rooms, 60 weekly fitness classes in addition to yoga, Zumba and boxing. King’s Court has a pool, basketball courts, turf field and free babysitting. Visit www.kingscourtnj.com or call (201) 460-0088 for more information.

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Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA is a North Jersey regional publication that reaches people who live and work in and around the Meadowlands (including the Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic County corridor), as well as visitors to our region. The blog edition is updated regularly and the print edition is released six times a year.

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