140 million people aged 20 and older are currently employed in the United States and approximately 29% of them are obese. With obesity comes an increased rate of work limitation, alongside other serious health concerns, which reinforces the importance of workplace wellness programs. Here are 3 simple programs that can be implemented in any setting and can drastically improve non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), improve posture and flexibility, as well as decrease the risk for disease.
Workplace health challenges are activities that are gaining popularity because they engage people to become happier, healthier, and more energetic at work. The purpose of challenges is to encourage healthier lifestyle behaviors and they are successful when a supportive, positive climate of fun and camaraderie helps people adopt or maintain a healthy way of living. With little to no capital investment, an employer can increase employee productivity, teamwork, and overall happiness while at work. Fun challenges can be set up on a monthly basis with affordable prizes available for the winners who complete the challenges. The workplace can easily be divided into separate teams, which creates a fun, competitive environment where employees can gain the opportunity to get to know each other better. Some ideas could be overall steps achieved in a month, healthy lunch packing, and healthy recipe competitions or cook-offs.
An employer can host daily recess, where they set a specific time to provide active games for the staff to engage in together. This idea should be promoted and even mandated so that people begin to engage. Once enough people are engaged, the idea will stick and ultimately produce happier, energetic and focused employees. Some ideas for these games would be Frisbee, kickball, ping-pong, jump rope, racket ball, ladder ball, and obstacle courses.
Workplace fitness courses are becoming more and more popular amongst many companies. Various companies will have in-house gyms and can easily outsource personal trainers and fitness professionals to help staff with their health and fitness goals. Even without these resources anyone can host a simple stretching class, walking club, or circuit training for the entire group.