Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

What if: There was more than one class of elite performers at work?

Throughout 2015, we’ll be blogging about our dreams for corporate wellness, fitness, and aging well.  Some of the content will represent a gentle “poking fun” at the industry, but it’s all written to stimulate thought about what really could be if we put our heads together and started mapping out what’s really possible in the realm of individual wellbeing.  We hope you’ll join the conversation by commenting on the blogs, giving us additional ideas about which to write, and/or by finding us out on Twitter at #wellnesswhatif.

ThinkstockPhotos-462481969Businesses need top performers in order to survive.  We need sales staff who are heavy hitters, research staff who are actually rocket scientists, and customer service professionals who can turn any frown upside down.  You know who those folks are in your organization, that top 5% of all performers.  In some cases, they might be unsung heroes, but at a lot of businesses, the best among us are often publically lauded.  They are the elite.

Not everyone can fit into that narrow industry-specific definition of elite.  But maybe, if business leaders opened their minds on what counts as elite, we could have more than one class of top-tier.

What if you didn’t have to exceed your sales quota to be considered among the elite at your worksite?  Don’t get me wrong.  You’d still have to work really hard.  After all, becoming top tier is definitely hard work.  Some would say rising to the top requires strength, agility, grace under stress.

According to a study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center found one way to get in the top 5% is to sweat.  In their analysis of the American Time Use survey, they concluded that only one in 20 Americans engage in vigorous exercise (the kind that makes you sweat) on any given day. 

That’s right, a paltry 5% of us are working hard enough when we workout to actually sweat.

What does this have to do with employee health? 

The way to sustained weight loss is through a healthy diet combined with prolonged cardiovascular exercise (45-60 minutes) at least five days per week.  Employers - if you want a workforce that is at a healthier body weight, you have to (among other things) create an environment that supports and provides opportunities for your employees to workout hard enough to sweat.  You need to build a corporate health culture that supports breaking a sweat in your worksite fitness center or through another avenue of the employee’s choice.

Certainly, there’s more to individual well-being than being physically fit.  But I wonder how many employees hold back on working out because of their environment (lack of access, lack of support).  What if businesses publicly rewarded the exercising (aka sweaty) elite along-side the elite sales force?

Download our whitepaper for tips to incorporate exercise at your worksite wellness program.

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Topics: corporate fitness worksite wellness what if