Setting up a Fitness Plan for your Work Place


All day and all night, through commercials on the TV and radio, flashing billboards on freeways, and advertisements on the side of our screens provided by Google, we are bombarded with health and fitness information. Information selling us something for weight loss and encouraging physical movement to keep us from cardiac and respiratory problems, avoiding diabetes and preventing cancers.
We all know we are supposed to move and eat better, so why don’t we?
The average person gets up in the morning, drinks some coffee and eats something with sugar, hurries into their car to get to a job after a ½ hour commute where they are sitting, to go to a job where they again sit for 8-12 hours, don’t eat decent food because it must be prepared quickly, to get back in that car and fight traffic which is now an hour to get home, then shove something quick into their mouths again, and crawl into bed exhausted thinking, “tomorrow I will go to the gym on the way home,” or “why am I so exhausted and overweight and what can I do about it?”
We spend a third of our lives at our chosen employment. We make friends at work, find partners, and do most of our talking to other humans while at work. It is in our employers best interest for us to be physically and happy emotionally when we are there so we can be productive. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine did a study in 2011 showing that 2.5 hours a week of exercise, increased the productivity of the employee on the job. So why isn’t this encouraged more by employers and what is the best way to do it?

Successful ways for Companies to Set up Fitness Programs

1. Bring in someone from the fitness industry to help employees, don’t just expect your HR Manager to do it. Bringing in someone from the outside also makes it so employees are not embarrassed talking to someone from “work” about their fitness and or weight loss goals.

2. Don’t make the fitness activities all about meeting the CEO or high level management. I had a woman come to me and want to be a runner so she could connect with the CEO who had just done his first marathon. This is a failure waiting to happen on both ends and fitness participation should not be about upward mobility in the company.

3. Be flexible. Some employees will want to run, some play tennis, some golf, some fitness classes. Listen to what they would like and how they want it structured.

4. Get them discounts. Many retail stores would be happy to set up 10-20% discounts for company employees. This is a great way to encourage employees to work out. Nothing says 'I got to work out' like that fancy new pair of running shoes sitting in the corner. Offer reimbursement for fitness expenses monthly. Allow them to spend the money as they wish, on personal trainers, gym memberships, race entries, golf clubs, etc. with receipts.

5. Offer longer lunch hours to exercise. Going for runs in the middle of the day or a 45-minute exercise class wakes people up for their afternoon hours at work. Make sure if you offer showers in the men’s bathroom, the same facilities are in the women’s also so everyone feels included. Make sure whomever you hire to run these offerings can cater to a variety of fitness levels, so important that everyone feels included. Running groups and exercise classes can be offered at work with a limited amount of space and expense.

6. The most important part----don’t make it mandatory. Make it a perk offered because you want happier employees which will make them more productive employees.

And nothing is better than employees that can connect on Monday over talk of “How was your 10k this weekend,” or “Did you get in 18 holes?” This creates working friendships that only make the work environment better and more productive.