Extreme fitness: Inspiring or intimidating?

Headshot100Lately it seems as though everywhere you turn, extreme fitness shows are popping up. NBC’s American Ninja Warrior® just started its eighth season and has a faithful following. Spartan Races® recently debuted on primetime TV as well, targeting fitness buffs and couch potatoes alike.

Flip through Facebook and you’re likely to see a number of friends competing in half or full marathons, or flashing smiles (or grimaces) during obstacle-course races like TOUGH MUDDER® and WARRIOR DASH®. Perhaps they’re even clogging up your feed with their “WOD” (workout of the day) from the local CrossFit® box.

For some, seeing so many people focused on taking it to the max can be inspiring. But it may be intimidating for the many others who need to improve their health but aren’t (or may never be) ready to take fitness to the extreme.

Statistics show that only 20.8 percent of adults 18 and older meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic physical and muscle-strengthening activity.1 According to the Global Wellness Institute’s The Future of Wellness at Work 2016 report, 76 percent of the world’s 3.2 billion workers are struggling or suffering with their physical well-being.2

The CDC reports that more than one-third of all U.S. adults are obese.3 The American Diabetes Association estimates that 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year, and diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.4

For most of us, it can be a challenge to lose weight, eat a healthy diet and fit regular exercise into our busy schedules. At Optum, we believe in making the healthy choice the easy choice. Optum On-Site Services help address employees’ top health and wellness goals, which can be positively impacted by moving more, eating better and being mindful.

Optum On-Site Services address these goals from many angles, including worksite-based fitness centers, registered dietitians, ergonomics, coaching, clinics, employee assistance programs and health promotion.

We engage employees in making healthy changes with support from a highly trained team of professionals. Our on-site staff build trusted relationships and make deep connections with participants of your programs.

For your fitness-specific needs, the Optum On-Site Fitness offering is tailored to your unique needs, and those of your workforce. From fashionable fitness activities to tried-and-true basics, we cater to your team.

We start by understanding your business, your organization’s health risks, your health and wellness strategy to date and your unique culture. Then we work with you to design a customized solution and choose on-site staff who can work most effectively with your employees.

Ready to learn how Optum can positively impact your workforce and get them moving more? Visit optum.com/solutions/prod-nav/fitness-cpl.html.


About the Author:
Grace DeSimone, National Group Fitness Director for Optum

Grace DeSimone is National Group Fitness Director for Optum and was recently named this year’s distinguished recipient of the IDEA Program Director of the Year Award at the 2016 IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in Los Angeles, CA.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey, 1997–2014. cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/earlyrelease201506_07.pdf.

2 Global Wellness Institute. The Future of Wellness at Work 2016. globalwellnessinstitute.org/industry-research/.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult obesity facts. cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Updated Sept. 1, 2016. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.

4 American Diabetes Association. Statistics about diabetes. diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/. Updated April 1, 2016. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.

Leave a Reply