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8 Amazing Examples Of Corporate Fitness Programs Fostering Employee Health

13 min read
Published on 29 July, 2021

Living in the epoch of a rat race, physical and mental well-being has become a topic of concern for those working in the corporate world. People are so busy with their professional lives that they hardly have time to pay attention to health.

But little do we know that this daily hustle and bustle of work life can decrease an employee's productivity. An individual must lead a healthy lifestyle to be efficient and active at work.

Organizations are vested with the responsibility to support their employees' well-being. Moreover, a company that creates a healthy environment for its employees is more likely to win their hearts.

Keeping that in mind, introducing corporate fitness programs can be a great idea to have a positive impact on employee health.

Most of us have desk jobs where we work maximumly in front of computers. Now imagine sitting in one position in the office with no physical activity for hours.

What would be the consequences?

Our body will start showing signs of inactivity and fatigue. We will need more energy to do any work because of a lack of motivation.

Our work life is mostly sedentary, and this lifestyle takes a toll on our health in the long run.

According to studies,, physical, cognitive, and social health may deteriorate when our lives become more sedentary.

How does Corporate life become Sedentary?

Employees often come up with a common excuse- "I don't have time to work out." Due to work and family commitments, they often fail to include physical activities in their daily routine.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 60% of employees do not get enough exercise.

We spend almost our entire day in the office, sitting in front of the computers. Our desk jobs do not even allow us to move around. Even at home, we are glued to our mobile phones or television for hours, sitting on the couch or bed.

It is a known fact that people nowadays have become highly dependent on electronic gadgets for both work and entertainment purposes. So, our whole life revolves around these gadgets. That's how life becomes sedentary.

A sedentary lifestyle is measured by how much time an employee spends without physical activity. It includes excessive sitting and being inactive for long hours. A sedentary lifestyle turns one into a lousy and fatigued individual.

Thus, the corporate world ensures endless hours of sitting for the employees, which can be further alarming for health. It can cause obesity, increased blood pressure, and excess body fat near the waist.

Walking is a great exercise to keep oneself healthy and fit.

How does an inactive lifestyle affect you?

As mentioned above, most of us have jobs with long hours of desk work. Also, during breaks, employees spend more time doing sedentary activities like playing video games on the phone or watching shows on the computer.

Such a lack of physical activity can affect one's productivity and add stress. And when employees are unproductive, they cannot deliver the desired results. This further hampers the organization's growth.

According to researchers, 52% of young professionals need more time to exercise.

Here are some points that tell us why moving around at work is necessary:

  • Employees who sit for long hours at their workplace with no bodily movement are likely to gain weight and burn fewer calories.
  • Employees lose muscle strength and endurance because they are hardly involved in any physical activity.
  • Physical exercise reduces stress hormones and boosts an individual's mood.
  • Continuous sitting and no physical activity affect employee health and mental well-being. The brain can get clogged, which might hamper >positive thinking.
  • The food we take breaks down into fats and sugar. And that energy needs to be released. Thus, if we exercise or move, our calories are burned, and proper metabolism is maintained.

When employees do not indulge in physical activities, the food breaks down into fat and sugars. And that accumulates in the body, creating metabolic imbalances.

Stay away from sitting for hours. Set a sitting time and take breaks at regular intervals. Try to reduce your sitting time.

What Is A Corporate Fitness Program?

A corporate wellness program is a broad term to imply all company-sponsored wellness activities that engage the employees. These are healthy lifestyle programs for employees to enhance their productivity. These programs are designed for employees to boost their overall health and well-being. They help improve their health and indulge them in wellness activities, whether in a meditation class or a 7-minute workout.

A corporate fitness program is a piece of that broad term that solely covers the physical aspect of wellness. Corporate fitness solutions aim to make employees fit by sponsoring fitness contests and challenges, on-site gyms, organizing workouts, yoga, and weight loss programs, and providing access to fitness trackers, wellness apps, and so on.

The fitness activities can be offered both on-site and virtual. They can come in different forms, but all share the same goal of motivating employees to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Employees and employers alike benefit from these corporate fitness programs. A healthy employee is a productive employee. Thus, physically healthy employees are likely to have better mental health and be more active and efficient at work. Moreover, even employers will reap the benefits in the form of higher employee productivity, lower rates of absenteeism, and healthcare costs.

Things to do before starting a corporate fitness program.

Initiating a corporate fitness program needs some thinking and a proper plan.

1. Do the Research

Doing the homework is necessary before venturing into any initiative. So, do your research well when introducing any corporate exercise program. Know what kind of programs will be feasible and convenient for your workforce. Find the most effective and right one.

2. Please seek Expert Advice

One other important step is to plan the program with a group of experts who can offer their suggestions and advice. Seek to make the program free of any errors.

3. Employee Feedback

Before going forward with a fitness program, try to know your employees' needs and requirements. Take a survey on the employees' likes and dislikes and discuss it with the teams and their managers. Ensure you create a program that will serve their needs and yours too.

4. Awareness

Motivation takes much work to attain, especially with hectic lifestyles. So, to host some fitness program, make sure you spread the word about it first. Employees should know what they are engaging in and what the benefits are. Hold workshops and let everyone know the perks of healthy habits and the cons of a sedentary lifestyle. The more they understand the benefits and risks, the more aware and motivated they will be to take active part in the program.

5. Tools

These days, several corporate fitness companies are also showing up with their wellness platforms and applications. And a corporate fitness program will be most effective with the help of well-structured digital wellness tools or platforms.

In the contemporary era, technology eases every process. So, go for an all-inclusive wellness platform like Vantage Fit, which can conduct customized fitness programs aligned to your requirements. The application is compatible with wearables and mobile devices for monitoring fitness activities like yoga, running, cycling, and swimming. Vantage Fit will enable you to start a fitness contest among your employees and boost workplace camaraderie.

6. Positive Reinforcement

The programs will eventually get monotonous when there is nothing new. You can introduce badges and rewards to keep it going and interesting. Give badges for completing each milestone and rewards for accomplishing tasks. Recognition and appreciation are things that motivate people to enjoy and stick to the program. The presence of a leaderboard and newsfeed helps employees view their performances, encouraging them to achieve more.

7. Ones at Risk the most

When you conduct corporate fitness programs, the first ones to engage will be the employees already leading healthy lifestyles. These individuals are fitness enthusiasts and thus will actively participate in the program. That's a good thing, but the ultimate goal is to motivate and engage the entire workforce, especially the ones with an inactive regimen.

These employees need to be slightly active. Therefore, target them and start with minimal programs that involve desk exercises or a 10-minute walk. Sometimes, people might even feel uncomfortable doing activities in the workplace in front of everyone. You can take help from those wellness platforms, which allow people to take part from anywhere at any time.

8. Wellness Days

Introduce wellness days like Wellness Wednesdays, where you dedicate an entire day to promoting healthy lifestyles amongst your employees. Conduct health-related events like seminars from health experts, host healthy potlucks, quizzes on nutrition, etc., to involve everyone in these once a week to expand their knowledge and be conscious of their‌ daily habits.

Benefits Of Corporate Fitness Programs

Developing fitness as a habit requires a lot of effort. It takes 18- 254 days for a person to form a habit. And fitness motivation is very crucial and difficult to attain.

As we know, due to long hours of sitting and hectic working schedules, employee health is affected. That can hamper productivity in the long run affecting organizational growth as well.

Hence, implementing corporate fitness programs encourages increased employee wellness.

Let us look at how incorporating fitness programs improves the quality of life.

1. Lessens Fatigue and Inactiveness

Participating in fitness activities helps one reduce fatigue and makes one feel less tired, eventually. Your employees won't feel lethargic and will have the energy to do their work. Taking a 15-minute stroll during office breaks can be a part of these programs to boost energy and stay active throughout the day.

2. Reduces Stress

Corporate fitness programs educate employees to perform better on the job, both physically and mentally. Workers spend much time sitting in front of computers.

One of the significant contributors to workplace stress is continuous sitting and no body movement. In addition, employees strain their eyes while looking at a screen for long hours.

Corporate fitness programs offer exercises and tips for employees to reduce stress and muscle spasms at work. Employees are encouraged to perform different exercises, such as arm-stretching or torso rotation, to break the monotony.

3. Improves Performance and Boosts Confidence

According to the study by the National Business Group on Health and the Towers Watson organization, employees in companies with corporate fitness programs have performed better than those companies where there are no fitness programs.

There is increased productivity when a strict fitness regime is implemented. Exercises increase energy levels, improve well-being, and fights lethargy.

Employees feel happier and confident about their work. As a result, they are more efficient and productive at all tasks given to them.

4. Strengthens Teamwork

Teamwork is the epitome of a company's growth. Working in a team helps employees stay motivated and achieve their goals.

When corporate fitness programs are incorporated into a workplace, employees get to know each other and discuss their tasks and health goals. The programs bring the entire workforce to a common platform with a common fitness goal. There is healthy competition that enhances relationships between coworkers, which is necessary for team building.

5. Employee Retention

A healthy and focused employee will increase productivity towards work and create better retention.

When companies introduce fitness programs showing concern for their employee's health, it speaks thousands. The gesture of building a healthy workplace is likely to stir a sense of loyalty in the employees towards the company. They will feel a sense of belonging and be further motivated to participate in the fitness tasks.

When employers care, they earn respect from their employees. This boosts employee retention because no one would leave a workplace where they are being well-cared for.

6. No Sick Days

The main goal of a corporate fitness program is to promote healthy habits among the workforce. When employees are engaged in fitness activities, they are physically and mentally sound. A healthy individual is also the most productive in his field. This implies that there will be fewer chances of health risks leading to almost zero absenteeism.

Employees will not have to apply for sick leaves if they are not falling sick.

7. Lower Insurance Costs

Along with productivity, a healthy employee also helps the organization with its expenses. Companies offer health insurance to their employees for medical care. This insurance mostly covers preventable illnesses.

Thus, employees become conscious when employers decide to build a healthy workplace by introducing fitness programs. They might give up on unhealthy habits and follow a fit lifestyle, further reducing their doctor visits. This lowers the company's expenses on health insurance.

Because if an employee is healthy without any illness, there is no insurance cost incurred. Therefore, a fitness campaign is way more affordable and better for taking care of your staff and resources.

8. Develops Healthy Habits

Corporate fitness programs provide a platform to bring a change to your routine. These programs will encourage one to adopt newer and healthier habits. When a fitness program runs for a month or so, it becomes a part of your daily life. And this can eventually become your lifestyle.

9. Reduces Health Risks

As mentioned, wellness programs boost employee health, productivity, and well-being. The chances of developing severe health risks are down to zero.

10. Takes your Mind off Work

Besides health goals, corporate exercise programs create an environment of fun. They make the workplace healthy and exciting at the same time. Employees will look forward to competing and taking part collectively. They will be enthusiastic, and it will also give them a healthy break off work. In short, it will be a healthy distraction.

What makes Corporate Fitness Programs great?

Corporate fitness programs enrich the company's working cultural wellness. Such fitness programs emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

There are wellness apps and fitness trackers that track not only employees' fitness progress on workdays but every day of the week.

Eight Corporate fitness programs that heighten employee well-being at a workplace.

1. Lunch and Nutritional snacks programs

Promoting healthy eating in the workplace benefits everyone. Since office breaks are for only 30 minutes, most employees do not get time to eat homemade food. Hence, they order fast food.

Eating fast food for a prolonged period can increase cholesterol and sugar and cause increased weight.

Thus, lunch and nutritional snack programs will gain the employees' attention. Such programs will encourage employees to switch their eating habits, i.e., from fast food to healthy snacks.

2. Power Nap

A good nap leaves everyone refreshed. Long hours of work without any breaks make an employee weary and tiresome.

Some top companies like Facebook and Zappos provide dedicated nap time for employees to get a quick afternoon rest.

Employees can take some afternoon rest and then return to work with rejuvenated energy. Incorporating power naps will improve the brain's cognitive function, increase learning, and increase efficiency at work.

3. Fitness challenges

Fitness challenges are introduced to promote healthy lifestyles within your workforce. Employees need more exercise time because of hectic work schedules. There are wellness challenges that encourage employees to engage in different types of workouts.

For example, challenges that motivate employees to walk or do stretching and exercises at regular intervals. These challenges can vary as per convenience. They can be a step challenge, marathon, basic yoga, or even desk exercises. Goals should be set against every challenge to make it interesting and competitive.
At the end of the challenge, you can evaluate their performance. Based on that, you can give out fitness rewards to keep employees motivated in the contest.

Fitness challenges aim to promote wellness habits and motivate coworkers to reach their fitness goals.

4. Fitness Adventure

Nature has the power to take away stress and anxiety. When we are away from the humdrum of city life and go on an adventure, it revitalizes our mind and helps with stress relief.

Companies like Zappos encourage employees to take a break from their desks for a while. A fitness adventure could be a one-hour road trip to a nearby place or a short hike away from city life. The primary focus is to infuse a fun culture into a corporate lifestyle.

Participating in fitness challenges is not only for fun but also for improving health. So, a corporate fitness program can be something other than a full-fledged program. It can even start on a minimal level by encouraging your employees to go on nature walks and get some fresh air.

5. Meditation Classes

Did you ever lose track of your work due to stress?

Staying focused all the time is difficult when you work 9 hours a day, five days a week. A busy work schedule and never-ending to-do list can be filled with worries and anxieties.

Overwork creates a burden and consumes one’s thoughts and mental well-being.

Mindfulness meditation can be valuable in keeping the mind stress-free, particularly in the workplace. Incorporating meditation classes will help one build resilience and teach employees to react calmly when they are stressed and face challenges.

Continuous meditation practice will help employees feel comfortable with the unpleasant thoughts arising from stress. It will also help to regulate their emotions.

6. Behavioral Therapy Sessions

Desk jobs are sedentary and extended hours of inactivity can reduce metabolism and create mental health issues. According to a study conducted by California, Los Angeles, sitting for long periods may pose severe problems for brain areas. Employees feel less focused, and unwanted thoughts erupt.

Introducing behavioral therapy sessions will significantly impact an employee's mental well-being. It will help identify and remove negative thoughts harmful to the brain. The sessions will enhance employees' focus and help them tackle problems.

Also, counseling sessions will help employees vent and clear their minds about the daily stress they are going through. One-on-one sessions prove to be very beneficial for stress management.

7. Office Gym

Not a fitness program, but many companies offer corporate fitness by building their gym and enabling their employees to leverage it. They offer their employees a physical platform to exercise and work out, making it convenient for them.

An office gym even helps employees who are not financially ready to invest in a gym. So, when corporations introduce their gyms and provide free access to their employees, what better way to take advantage of that asset? Thus, no more excuses for getting no time for gym due to location or expense.

8. Weight Management

Obesity and being overweight are two of the most common health concerns these days. With unhealthy food habits and no movement, diseases like diabetes and heart disease are also seeing a rapid rise. In such circumstances, maintaining a balanced weight is crucial.

So, controlling cravings and following a healthy diet with little exercise can greatly benefit our health. You can introduce weight management sessions and contests to convince your employees to take this matter seriously.

The challenges can include counting calories and nutrition with a specific target. Not to mention adding the hydration challenge to it.

Conclusion

Do you spend most of the time sitting and fewer hours in the gym?

I am sure you must have heard about the term couch potato. Well, we often see many of them at our workplace.

Therefore, it has become essential to educate coworkers about a healthy lifestyle by introducing corporate fitness programs. Employers should hold full responsibility for ensuring a healthy working environment and take necessary steps to beat the sedentary lifestyle of employees.

Coming up with an effective fitness program will need some time and a lot of effort. You have to be precise with the areas you want to target and then go forward. But it is an ongoing process. You will learn as you go. You can start one step at a time and see what works for your organization.

You wouldn't want unhealthy employees to work for you that would not bring effective results to the organization. Hence, a happy and healthy employee is a huge asset for an organization than an employee who is stressed out and unhealthy.

This article is written by Anangsha Alomyan who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. Apart from writing, Anangsha plays the piano, acts, raps and does photography. Since childhood, she has been into sports and brought laurels across the country. An adventurer by heart, she loves to explore new routes across the Himalayas. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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