Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Do Flexible Work Conditions Make for Better Employee Health?

How many times have you told yourself that if you were only allowed some flexibility at work, you could actually utilize the worksite fitness center, participate in a corporate wellness program, or be able to reduce your stress simply by walking outside? It has been found time and time again that worksites that allow flexible arrangements and promote healthier workplaces benefit in more ways than one.

The Ways Flexibility Improves Employee Health

corporate wellness in meetingsFlexible working conditions not only have been found to reduce employee blood pressure and absences due to illness, but can increase job performance, productivity, and overall morale. Additionally, giving employees more control over their schedules has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, sleep duration, sleep quality, alertness at work, and heart rate.

Ask for Some Work Schedule Flexibility

If you are employed by a company that offers flexible schedules, take advantage of it! However, if you don’t have this option, speak with those in charge of scheduling and make a valiant attempt to work something out.

Who wouldn’t want to improve their mental and physical health? If a little flexibility can help you feel better and work more efficiently, it's a win-win proposition.

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Topics: corporate wellness employee health productivity health culture improve absenteeism

Can Cash Tip the Scales Toward Employee Health?

This blog was written by Bethany Garrity. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

There's been some hubbub lately about whether employers can Scale resized 600find their employees' monetary sweet spots when it comes to losing weight. Various articles such as this one tell of efforts to use money as a corporate reward to motivate overweight employees to shed pounds.

But let's face it: If losing weight were really that simple, most people would successfully lose (and keep off) weight without having to be paid to do so. The truth is that weight loss is incredibly complex and most people make the mistake of trying to manage their weight without engaging in regular exercise. The science proves that effective long-term strategies for weight management include dietary balance as well as regular exercise.

If you want your employees to have a healthy body weight, you have to help them focus on exercise. Throwing money at them won't fix it, but revamping workplace policies, establishing a health culture directed by your leadership, and creating opportunities for exercise at work will get them moving in the right direction. NIFS offers a variety of exciting programs that can help.

The benefits of a healthy workforce go far beyond the ability to control healthcare costs and improve absenteeism. Employees who feel better are simply able to do their jobs better.

Topics: employee health overweight employees control healthcare costs corporate rewards health culture improve absenteeism

Family Flu Shots Are Good for Corporate Wellness

FluShotI believe that getting an annual flu shot is the right thing for my boys. I know there’s a lot of controversy out there around vaccinations for kids, but the thought of seeing my kids down for the count for days with an illness that I could have prevented doesn’t sit well with me. And I haven’t found the science against vaccinations to be compelling enough to change my mind. Having said that, I almost reversed my flu-shots-are-the-right-thing-to-do philosophy when I took my kids to a local drugstore to get their shots the other day.

Getting Flu Shots Is Not Always a Smooth Experience

I should have known I was in for a ride when my five-year-old said he wanted his brother, who is two years old, to go first. Truthfully, the two-year-old did pretty well: He cried, but he was still, and he didn’t freak out. The five-year-old, on the other hand, basically had to be strapped down. Not only did I have to hold and brace him, but the RN administering the shot felt it was best to shut the clinic door to help dampen the sound of his bone-chilling screams. Seriously—you would have thought we were cutting off his arm with a blunt instrument. It was pure hysteria. 

Needless to say, he did survive (and so did I), but we might have to find a new neighborhood drugstore. (If you're in the same boat, you can find CVS MinuteClinic locations here, and Walgreens Take Care Clinics here.)

Flu Shots for the Family Help the Kids and the Company, Too

Despite the fact that my son will likely describe his experience as torture, I believe I did a good thing for his health. I’m willing to bet my employer thinks so, too. Of course, it’s smart for businesses to offer flu shots for their employees. According to the CDC, the flu shot is the best defense against the flu, reducing the number of cases by up to 70 percent. Preventing the flu at work helps with decreasing presenteeism and preventing absenteeism; employees are healthier and more productive—that is, of course, unless your employee’s family members come down with the flu. Consider that flu-related absenteeism can range from two to seven days. That is a lot of lost work time caring for sick loved ones.

Support your corporate wellness program—get your family members vaccinated!

Topics: corporate wellness employee health disease prevention productivity improve absenteeism

Functional Capacity in Corporate Fitness Programs, Senior Fitness

Increasing functional capacity through exerciseIn my last post, I explained that functional capacity is exercising in a way that improves the ability to perform activities of daily living. In this post I look at how this concept is being used in senior fitness classes and corporate fitness programs--in place of more traditional but less efficient training.

Senior Fitness Management Now Emphasizing Functional Training

One arena that has begun to understand this dilemma and has sought to eliminate it is senior fitness management. Some of the problems affecting older adults are poor balance, loss of strength, and a decrease in flexibility. As a fitness professional who frequently teaches senior fitness classes at retirement home fitness centers, I’ve noticed a trend in moving away from the typical chair exercise class, which was the norm years ago, to more functional training (training the body in the way in which it typically works).

Entire classes are now designed with the goal of improving balance. Many movements designed to improve strength are now done out of a chair and on the feet because this is how we typically function in everyday life. Along with this, retirement community fitness center management heavily pursues improving residents' flexibility. Since balance, strength while on the feet, and flexibility are all major needs of older adults, fitness professionals have made a move to more directly train in ways that improve these aspects specifically. This move is a perfect example of training to improve functional capacity.

Improving Employee Health Through Functional Training

Functional capacity can also be a synonym for aerobic health or power. Aerobic health or functional capacity is often the main measure used to determine one’s overall health. Numerous diseases that afflict many Americans today can be prevented or even reversed through improving aerobic health.

Many businesses have caught on to this and are pushing to improve their employees' physical health through exercise. This leads to less employee absenteeism, less fatigue on the job, and more productive employees. Since a company’s employees are one of its most valuable assets, many organizations have developed corporate wellness programs to help protect this asset. Because this can improve an employer’s bottom line, many companies are going one step further and building corporate fitness centers for their employees to utilize.

Through group fitness classes at these centers, personal training with staff, or even simply working out on their own, employees are improving the strength and endurance needed for their job as well as their aerobic health, leading to a lower risk of disease and less time lost from work. It is easy to see how this increase in functional capacity benefits both the employee and the employer over the long haul, despite the initial cost of building such centers.

Next: How everyday people can adjust their workouts to improve functional capacity.

Topics: exercise at work employee health healthy workforce muscle toning senior center solutions productivity improve absenteeism