Pointers for Encouraging Physical Fitness in the Workplace

group exercising

Evidence shows that people under 60 who are otherwise healthy are not at high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. There are no two ways about it: Living with this virus means keeping ourselves as healthy and fit as possible if we want to avoid dealing with severe symptoms like pneumonia. We live in a time when physical health is a must.

If you’re a manager or a business owner, you already have an inherent influence over the people you work with. It is a trust and a privilege you must honor, and part of that is keeping everyone around you as safe and healthy as possible. Here are some simple tips and tricks to encourage physical fitness and being active in the workplace.

Come from a place of encouragement and kindness.

There’s nothing that turns people off of healthy living more than judgment and cruelty. If you must encourage your employees to be more physically active and healthy, it must come from a place of genuine concern and kindness towards them, not because you think they should lose weight. Boundaries are key—and you need to know the right thing to say, when to say it, how to say it, and why you’re saying it in the first place. You need to communicate in ways that don’t shame any of your employees.

If you must plan a team-building activity centered around exercise and fitness, don’t make it mandatory. Make sure that no one is dealing with health issues that may cause them harm. Your company’s human resources (HR) department might be able to assist with that to ensure that you’re not violating your employees’ right to privacy as well.

Hire health and fitness specialists to launch an employee wellness program.

Consider hiring a team like the trainers from Purify4Life who specializes in areas like physical training, sports conditioning, nutritional guidance, weight loss, and others, and partner with them in coming up with an employee wellness program that suits your company’s culture and values.

This program can include new menus and meal plans in your office pantry or cafeteria and team exercise sessions via Zoom every other week. When planning your program, make sure it’s something your company can sustain for a long time and that it’s not too big of a change from your workplace’s routines and rhythms. It’s also important to note that whatever wellness program you come up with must meet the guidelines established in the Affordable Care Act.

Plan a charity event that’s centered on sports or fitness.

Going this route will help you hit two birds with one stone: You’ll be encouraging your employees to engage in some physical activity, and your company can engage in some corporate social responsibility (CSR). This will be especially poignant in the time of COVID-19 since there is so much need around us. We need to know where to look. Some examples include:

  • Fun runs for a cause
  • Charity baseball game
  • Weight loss competition
  • Golf challenge
  • Netball tournament

Now that vaccines are being rolled out across the United States, public activities like this might be on the horizon. Plan as early as you can to give your employees a head start!

Invest in spaces where your employees can move.

treadmill

One of the biggest reasons many employees don’t go to the gym is that they can’t afford to. Sure, they can always work out at home thanks to free YouTube videos, but studies show that it’s more fulfilling to work out with others because morale is higher and support is present.

If your business can afford the expense, consider investing in a space in your office where your employees can go on a treadmill or do some yoga or pilates together. A shower would also be incredibly beneficial. You don’t need the most state-of-the-art gym equipment; even the most basic ones might incentivize your employees to move and work out before or after their shift.

Address health in a holistic way.

And lastly, don’t neglect the other aspects of your employees’ health: Their mental, emotional, and social well-being. It’s one thing to encourage physical fitness and another to care for your team’s entire personhood. Make sure to encourage work-life balance and activities that can also improve the state of their mental health. Encourage healthy relationships among your team members by setting a positive atmosphere at work. As they say: Everything rises and falls with leadership.

Being a business owner or leader in a company is a noble task—and one that involves caring for the general well-being of the people around us. Encourage health in your workplace and let it begin with you.

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