I read the other day that 65% of Americans are obese. That has stuck with me ever since. It is a staggering number. Don’t you think it staggering? This terribly high and sad number forces me to think of all the health problems that are affecting this large percentage of Americans. Those affects are each and every day, and not only to the quality of life of these folks, but also their loved ones and their work place. I know there are numerous factors that have worked together over time that have contributed to this health and obesity epidemic. That is an ongoing discussion in the wellness field and there are many people working together to help this pendulum change. That is a much larger issue than I can even attempt to address in one little post.
I get that it is hard to always make the healthy choice and get in the appropriate amount of exercise and do all the things the magazines, books, podcasts, blogs and online programs tell you to do. Real people have real jobs. Real people have real commutes to get to that job. Real people have families and other commitments to juggle around that job. Real people often juggle more than one job. That makes it really hard to put one more thing on an already packed plate. I get it. That is why I am so appreciative of some of the steps many workplaces are taking to help their employees make healthy choices, get in some exerecise, de-stress from a crazy environment, and enjoy a work environment that places the health of its employees as a priority.
A few years ago I was asked to lead fitness workouts for a group of elementary school teachers after school two days a week. I have lead some lunch and learn talks to groups discussing healthy lunches to bring, tips to bring extra movement to the day for busy workers, quick and healthy breakfasts to have before work and snacks to have at the office for an afternoon pick up. A couple of years ago I began leading workouts at a small law firm. Initially, I lead in total body workouts one day and yoga another day. For the past year we have been focusing on yoga primarily. I have loved watching this group of high stress, type A folks begin barely able to perform a forward fold, progress to strong power yoga flows, perfect poses in vinyasa flows or more restorative stretches, depending on the day. This group now talks about their weekend exercise, they workout during lunch on other days and participate as teams in recent Spartan races. I recently discovered this firm also has a chiropractor come in twice a month for stretching sessions or massages. How smart is this firm? And it is a small firm, not one of the huge giants that you might assume. If this small firm can offer a healthy environment to its employees, then I think there’s no excuse for larger outfits not doing the same.
The benefits of offering wellness to employees is huge and numerous in so many ways. A wellness program can bring employees together, improve morale and make them more productive.
8 Benefits of Bringing Wellness to the Workplace
Work is work. It’s called work for a reason, right? Having something new around the office can keep employees from getting bored. It can be interesting and fun and enjoyable. I think we all know happy workers are more productive workers. Which brings us to the next benefit . . .
Participating in healthy activities and eating well increases employee productivity and performance. It makes our brains more focused, increases energy and keeps folks motivated.
Employees who participate in wellness programs are more satisfied with their jobs than those who don’t. Those who engage are more content, happy people. Getting that endorphin boost with exercise, and forming healthy habits that make people feel good makes people feel happier.
Group activities that involve health and fitness will get you connected not only more to the company, but to fellow employees as well. Employees working together toward a common goal start to form relationships that haven’t been available before the wellness program began.
Lower Healthcare Costs
A workplace that promotes a healthy lifestyle and health care benefits the employees’ whole being. That, in turn, makes it less likely for employees to be unhealthy, sick and suffer more diseases. Healthier employees saves money in the long run. Study after study confirms that workplace wellness programs reduce healthcare costs. Less doctor visits, less pills to take, less medicine.”
Adding more movement and fitness to the day helps improve fitness, internally and externally, and improves total wellbeing. Walking during lunch, getting in a workout at the gym or taking a yoga class during lunch have real benefits. When a person is more fit, they have more energy, have more strength to accomplish tasks, more mobility and flexibility for normal, everday movement required whether at home or at work. If your workplace is offering any type of program or incentive to participate, try it! See the benefits at work and at home.
Changing a daily work routine, even if only in small ways, can also change your health. Focusing on healthy habits, eating healthy foods and exercise, taking time to de-stress all work toward weight loss. When a person begins to focus on eating the right foods, exercising, and taking care of mental health, any extra weight they may have been carrying can shed much quicker than before.
One of the key factors in health and wellness is learning stress management. Working in a high demand, stressful job can be extremely unhealthy. When we are stressed, we are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors which are harmful to our mental health. Activities that encourage walking meetings, mindfulness, social engagement, healthy lifestyles all help employees feel relieved of daily built up stress. Small changes and baby steps or even a 30 minute walk can help reduce stress.
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
An atmosphere that encourages a healthy lifestyle helps workers begin to introduce healthy habits into their everyday life and routine. This new shift in mindset is incredibly beneficial to everyone. This new mindset can also spill over into the home and impact family members and friends. Surrounding oneself with healthy, like minded people makes it much easier to create and keep healhty changes.
I could go on and on with even more benefits but even these give you the picture. I see it as a win/win for the employees and employers. If your workplace has a wellness program in place I surely hope you are participating! If not, why not speak to your employer about all the great benefits? Or, better yet, start your own revolution . . .begin a walking lunch program, promote healthy snacks in the breakroom, forget the donuts at meetings and exchange with fruit, yogart and water. There are so many fun, creative ways to bring some wellness to work. If interested in more, let me know!
For more information on health perks, see this:
Enjoy Your Day!