Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

It's National Dog Day, Show Your Pet Some Healthy Love!

It’s National Dog Day!  There has been an outpouring of pet love on social media today.  Clearly people love their four legged friends.  Not only are dogs (and cats) wonderful companions, but owning a pet provides more than just sloppy kisses and mounds of fur.  It’s time to bring that relationship full circle and get active with your pet!  Here are just a few benefits of exercise in animals:Family_walk_ThinkstockPhotos-466988813

  • Helps reduce behavior problems such as chewing and excessive barking
  • Improves agility and keeps them limber
  • Reduces digestive problems
  • Improves sleep and decreases restlessness
  • Weight Management

Now that you see your pet’s health benefits from exercise just as your own.  Here are my top 5 things for you to consider and remember when you commit to get fit with your dog!

  1. Exercise Partner – Just like humans, dogs can also become obese.  Not only does walking your pet help to wear them out and burn off some energy, but it will help them maintain their weight as well as your own.  It might even end up that your dog pushes you more than you know.  Fido might keep you more accountable than your coworker does at your corporate fitness center.
  2. Establish a Smart Routine – Whatever type of activity you and your pet enjoy, fit it in at some point throughout the day. Start with short burst of exercise and work your way up.  Just as you should check with a physician prior to starting a workout regimen, your dog should have a check up to.  It’s important for you to know the needs of your dog. 
  3. Swimming – You may have felt a great workout from swimming, less impact on your joints and still gets your heart pumping.  The same goes for dogs.  Consider taking your dog for a swim, whether it’s to fetch a ball or just take a dip.  Larger dogs who may feel the impact of their weight will feel the same relief as you when they get in the water.
  4. Dog Park – Visit your local dog park and make some friends, both you and your pet.  Social wellness is just as important as your physical well-being.  We all know dogs need social interaction for behavior reasons, what about you?
  5. Hydrate – Water is just as important in animals as it is for you.  Make sure your pet is hydrated when increasing activity levels or when it’s hot outside.  What for signs of dehydration such as excessive panting, weakness, and confusion. 

Now get out and get moving after dinner and show your four legged pal some healthy love! 

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Topics: employee health benefits exercise at home healthy living

3 Reasons to Add a Corporate Fitness Center to Your Wellness Program

Business man on ellipticalCosts for care, costs for absenteeism, vendor costs, the cost of doing nothing…there has been a lot of chatter and posturing online recently about this information as it relates to corporate wellness. In case you’re not quite up to speed on all the cost-related information, here’s an infographic that will give you some compelling, high-level numbers and information to digest. As corporate wellness goes, there’s a ton out there on ROI too. Whether it’s accurate is up for debate.

If you’ve read anything we’ve put out over the last several years, you know that NIFS falls into the “do for your employees, not to your employees” camp when it comes to workplace wellness. When you treat your employees well and you provide the right services and amenities for the right reasons, there will be value to the business.

While an onsite fitness center isn’t the right choice for every business, it is an amenity that falls squarely into our “for your employees” philosophy. If you have any heart for taking care of your employees like you take care of your business, here are three reasons you should be strongly considering adding a fitness center to your overall worksite wellness strategy.

#1: Taking Care of Your Talent

Your talented people are what make your business thrive. Technology matters, bricks and mortar play a role (most of the time), and other physical and cultural elements contribute to your success, but at the end of the day, it’s your people who make your business what it is. And you’re counting on them to perform at the top of their game.

Making it easy for your employees to exercise (through a corporate fitness center, for example) is one way to keep your smart and highly valuable employees using their talents for the benefit of your business. Compelling research has shown that adults who exercise reap more than just the physical benefits of movement.

  • This study shows that work-related benefits following a bout of exercise can include improved quality of work and better time management. The study also showed that exercise contributed positively toward an employee’s tolerance of his/her coworkers. And who couldn’t benefit from a more tolerant atmosphere?
  • This study shows that creativity is better following aerobic exercise and for at least a two-hour span after the exercise has been completed.
  • This article points out how we believe regular exercise can positively impact stress. And before you write off stress as a non-issue for the workplace, take a look at this data from an annual poll of American workers regarding workplace stress. (Bonus: you can take our own stress inventory at the end!)

#2: Taking Care of Their Health

The physical health benefits of regular exercise are so well documented that I won’t bore you with study after study here. Let me instead take this opportunity to remind you of how easy it is to support your employees as they search for ways to get in the minimum recommended levels of exercise each day or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week.

What you may not realize is that the health benefits of exercise can still be achieved if the 150 minutes is broken up into very small increments throughout the day. Yes, 10 to 15 minutes of movement two to three times each day is enough. So you can start to see the math add up on allowing flexible schedules for walk breaks, or short group exercise class opportunities, as viable ways to help your crew move more.  

#3: Taking Care of Your Turnover

A corporate fitness center falls squarely under the “Employee Benefits” category, and the link between benefits and turnover has been well studied. Turnover, although regarded by some as a positive for business (fresh ideas, new energy, lose the dead weight, etc.), is still expensive.

  • This Gallup report outlines how to predict employee turnover, and points to pay and benefits as one of the top five predictors for employee turnover.
  • This Forbes article puts the spotlight on how treating employees well by providing them with access to “resources that support well-being and performance” has a positive but difficult-to-quantify impact on employees. The article spotlights the Virgin HealthMiles/Workforce survey, which showed that 87 percent of polled employees give consideration to employer-sponsored health and well-being offerings before they choose to commit to an offer.

If you’ve had enough of the statistics, reports, and research, perhaps you’re ready to dig in on the options for creating a corporate fitness center. Click below to access our three-part series that focuses on mastering the business case for creating a corporate fitness center, scoping out the size of your space and budget, and planning for a successful worksite fitness environment.

Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Topics: corporate wellness employee health benefits corporate fitness centers ROI corporate fitness centers; return on investement productivity

Group Exercise: Important Job Benefit for Employee Health

describe the imageGroup exercise classes are known for their high-energy environments and uplifting tunes. However, employees can gain numerous other benefits, especially if your organization provides on-site group exercise classes. And because people spend more time at work than ever before, it only makes sense to offer worksite wellness programs and onsite group exercise as a benefit to employees.

Stress Reduction and Accountability Increases

One of the benefits of worksite group exercise classes is reduced daily stress. In a world where 12-plus hours of work are shoved into an eight-hour workday, any reduction in stress is a huge help. Not only is stress reduced, but accountability and success rates increase. Who wants to miss a worksite group exercise class when the instructor and your colleagues will know you skipped out?

Mood and Morale Improvement

Not only can worksite exercise programs positively contribute to employee’s weight-loss success, but group programming can improve the mood at the office when employees are pressed to perform and produce. A well-run worksite group exercise class will allow for the sociability that employees may not otherwise receive throughout the day. Classes can also build on an element of friendly competition where participants will work harder in a group than they would push themselves on their own.

Reduced Liability

Last but not least among the benefits of group exercise is an increase in participant safety and organizational liability. Classes that are taught by a certified instructor drastically decrease the likelihood of employee injury and minimize liability for the employer.

Your employer may not offer a corporate wellness program or a corporate fitness center now. But when they realize all of the benefits for their associates and the company, I’m sure they won’t be too far behind the fitness train.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program employee health benefits corporate fitness

Fitting Corporate Fitness into Your Employee Health Benefits

Corporate FitnessEmployee fitness in the workplace is becoming more important to business owners as they look for ways to remain competitive despite the economic climate.  Great news - fitting corporate fitness solutions into your employee health benefits may be easier than you think! 

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), time and cost-conscious exercise options will be among the top trends in fitness for 2010. 

What we love about this predicted number one trend in exercise habits is that it targets both time and cost which are two of the most common reasons reported for not exercising.  Even better though, is that it capitalizes on exercise programs that are both time- and cost- conscious which is great for employers who are looking for corporate fitness solutions to improve employee health.

To build a corporate fitness program with low cost exercise options to your workforce, consider these options:

  • Set aside a small meeting room space as your new corporate fitness center.
  • Consult with experts on space layout, exercise equipment selection, and liability reduction to maximize employee health benefits in your program. 
  • Consider staffing solutions for your corporate fitness center to give your employees the expertise they need to get full health benefits from your fitness center.  
  • Offer group fitness classes to support camaraderie and group accountability.

Remember, you don't have to make an enormous capital investment in exercise equipment to develop a robust and successful robust employee fitness program.  In fact, spending wisely on a few small, key fitness tools and toys may just put you ahead of the employee wellness curve!

There are more ways to build a corporate fitness program.  Share your best practices here and help other organizations get a solid start on their employee fitness program. 

See the full article of 2010 fitness trends predicted by ACE.
Topics: employee health corporate fitness program employee health benefits corporate fitness cost conscious business fitness solutions remain competitive