By Trina E. Gray
Health care costs are soaring. Businesses are making cutbacks in our challenged economy. Certainly, this is not good news. Now’s our chance — fitness professionals can be a part of the solution. Our nation needs preventative medicine and inspiration for healthier living. We can deliver.
As fitness professionals, we can kick businesses into shape with simple, smart corporate fitness challenges. In doing so, we will strengthen their bottom line by helping reduce health care costs and employee absenteeism and improve workplace productivity and staff morale. We can strengthen our bottom line with new program revenue and long-term clients. It is a win-win situation. Read on for reasons to get into the corporate wellness game.
The Tangibles and Intangibles
Corporate fitness impacts the workplace, friends, and family. We can support people in living healthy, eating healthy, and talking healthy. As momentum builds, people become excited about making lifestyle changes.
Over the course of six weeks, we can help the average person lose 10 to 12 pounds and 8 to 10 inches. Beyond the numbers, we can inspire people to adopt new habits of better eating and increased physical activity. As a result, employers reap the benefit of a happier team, improved collegiality, better energy and focus at work, and reduced health risks. We can even help change the dialogue around the water cooler – from complaints to camaraderie.
An Ounce of Prevention
Recent research by the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA) shows that 80 percent of health care dollars are spent on diseases that are almost entirely preventable by diet and exercise alone. In response, government and businesses alike are turning their focus to preventative measures.
Motivate the Masses
Only 15 percent of the nation’s workforce reports to being active on a regular basis. However, another 63 percent of our workforce desires to be active, but sites lack of time or resources as a reason not to be fit. We can affect this large majority. We can motivate sedentary people to be active if we make a personal connection and offer motivation.
Proof in the Numbers
A recent study of General Motors employees suggests a staggering reality. Motivating people who are currently inactive to exercise just 20 minutes two days per week was shown to reduce health care costs, including doctor’s visits and prescription costs by $250.00 per year. Most people think that a wellness program needs to be “all or nothing.” But studies continue to show that something is better than nothing! WELCOA research also supports that employers can expect a return on investment of $3.00 for every $1.00 spent.
As fitness professionals, we can help improve the health of our communities by inspiring behavioral change. Yes, we help people lose weight and gain strength, but we make our greatest impact empowering them to make positive changes that fit their lives. We help them find activities and foods that fuel their bodies for success. We offer an opportunity for healthier living.
We must be willing to change our business models and sharpen our skills to thrive. The fitness programming that brought us here, is not what is going to take us into the future. Right now, businesses need help staying lean in our economy and getting fit. We can help. If done well, we can position ourselves as problem solvers and expert advisers.
Trina E. Gray, member of the Todd Durkin MasterMind Group, is the owner of Bay Athletic Club in Alpena, Michigan and creator of the award-winning Corporate Fit Challenge. She was a 2009 Finalist for the IDEA Program Director of the Year. For more information about how to get a Corporate Fit Challenge going in your community, visit www.corporatefitchallenge.com. Connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/turbotrina.