Workplace wellness programs are great ways to get in shape, but what if your employer doesn’t offer one? Here’s how to get the (exercise) ball rolling.
First, talk to your human resources manager and make the case for wellness initiatives with physical activity components. Highlight the U.S. government’s exercise guidelines for adults — to get 150 minutes of cardio per week — and the health benefits of physical fitness.
Also mention the advantages of onsite programs for time-strapped workers who aren’t able to fit the added commute to a gym into their day.
And explain that creating a culture of wellness at work will improve employees’ health, reducing sick days. It might also boost their outlook and job performance, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Steps to Wellness, a guide to implementing physical activity guidelines for the workplace.
Be prepared with a list of possible ideas, such as:
- Partnering with a local fitness center that might be able to send over instructors,
- Starting a bike commuter program,
- Having a “take-the-stairs” initiative,
- And holding walk-and-talk meetings.
This gives co-workers many opportunities to be active. You might even suggest a rewards program to encourage more people to participate, while fostering a sense of teamwork within your company.
Another simple idea is to create a company walking club. Department- or inter-department-based teams can walk together during breaks, lunch and at other approved times, anywhere from twice a week to every day. Routes can vary from circling the office complex to walking to a nearby destination like a salad bar. If leaving company grounds, pre-check the route for safety. Get the club started with a kick-off party and establish a committee to keep walks varied and track participation.
Once you get the ball rolling, let others contribute their ideas, and your worksite wellness program will really take off.
The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University has an online guide for employers called Physical Activity in the Workplace that can help them better understand the importance of worksite wellness and how to get a program started.