Benefits of Physical Fitness Initiatives
Exercise reduces weight, lowers risks of heart attack and stroke, helps to
control blood pressure and diabetes, and improves mood. Studies increasingly
show that exercise may also help reduce the occurrence of certain types of cancer.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently
documented another major advantage: exercise improves the health of the nation’s
medical care expenditures.3 According to the CDC, physically active individuals
incur $865 less per year in medical costs than inactive employees.
Dr. Michael Moore, vice president and chief medical director at Nationwide
Insurance in Columbus, maintains that exercise is the most effective tool in
health maintenance. “If you could prescribe exercise in a pill, it would
be the number-one prescribed treatment in the world,” he said. In step
with Dr. Moore’s prescription, nearly one-third of U.S. corporationes
help employees pay for gym memberships, according to an Associated Press report.
Subsidizing gym memberships is just one way organizations promote active lifestyles.
Popular Physical Fitness Initiatives:
- Allow access to on- and off- worksite gyms and recreational activities before,
during, and after work hours.
- Offer and promote participation in after work recreation or leagues.
- Offer cash incentives or decreased insurance costs for participation in
physical activity and/or weight management or maintenance activities.
- Offer shower and/or changing facilities onsite.
- Offer outdoor exercise areas such as fields and trails for staff member
- Offer bicycle racks in safe, convenient, and accessible locations.
- Offer onsite fitness opportunities, such as group classes or personal training.
- Offer an onsite exercise facility.
- Start initiatives that have strong social support systems and incentives,
- Buddy or team physical activity goals
- Initiatives that involve workers and family
- Initiatives to promote physical activity, such as pedometer walking challenges
- Consider discounted or subsidized memberships at local health clubs, recreation
centers, or YMCAs
- Offer flexible work hours to allow for physical activity during the day.
- Support physical activity breaks during the workday, such as stretching
- Host walk-and-talk meetings.
- Map out onsite trails or nearby walking routes and destinations.
- Have employees map out their own biking or walking route to and from work.
- Post motivational signs at elevators and escalators to promote stair usage.
- Offer exercise/physical fitness messages and information to employees.
- Offer or support recreation leagues and other physical activity events onsite
or in the community.
- Start staff member activity clubs such as walking or bicycling clubs.
- Offer onsite child care facilities to facilitate physical activity.
- Sponsor a bike to work day and reward employees who participate.
- Start a box and solicit fitness and health tips.