In a recently published National Health Statistics Reports survey1, nearly 31 percent of adults indicated they were obese last year. Yet only 23 percent of adults reported meeting the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion guidelines2 for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
Did you know that the state where you reside may indicate whether you passed or fell short of the national average? If your state is any color other than dark blue as shown in this map, you might wonder how you can help your employees move more. We all know there are benefits to increased physical activity. But finding time for exercise can be a challenge. Now that summer activities are winding down, fall and winter routines are starting to take shape. How can you help your employees fall back in to their fitness routines?
- Start small. Encourage your employees to make small steps to choose the healthier option throughout the day. Place signs throughout the workplace encouraging employees to:
- Park at the rear of the parking lot
- Get off one subway stop further from the office
- Use a slightly further restroom
- Try taking the stairs every other day
- Consider adding more meatless meals to the café menu. Or switch out full-size candy bars for fun-size.
- Celebrate the successes. Selecting a veggie burger over a beef burger deserves a high five. Taking a new group fitness class should be cheered. Squeezing in a 10-minute family walk before bedtime gets a gold star. Don’t let your employees get discouraged for what they didn’t get to do. Remind them to celebrate what they have done.
- Accept the setbacks. Help your employees understand that if they miss a workout, have an unhealthy meal or completely fall off the wagon, all is not lost! What tools can you provide them to help them get started again? It might be a bi-weekly walk meeting, or implementing a series of lunch-and-learns or making quarterly challenges available.
- Walk the walk and talk the talk. Employees are more likely to be more active when they see their managers doing the same. Do members of the senior leadership team belong to the on-site fitness center? Seeing the CEO use the treadmill desk showcases the value they place on getting movement in. Making the healthier options the cheaper options in the cafeteria sends the message you care about your employees.
Learn more about how Optum can help you meet your worksite fitness goals.
About the Author:
Product Director, On-Site Services, Optum
Michelle has been in the fitness field for more than 16 years. She began her career in commercial fitness and transitioned to corporate fitness in 2010. She has served in a variety of support roles throughout her career. Her focus is on arming staff with the tools to help better the lives of those taking part in our programs. In her current role, she supports the sales team and each of our nearly 300 clients. Michelle earned her BA from Rutgers University. In her personal time, she enjoys traveling and being active with her husband, sharing a passion for fitness with their young children.
1Blackwell DL, Clarke TC. State variation in meeting the 2008 federal guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities through leisure-time physical activity among adults aged 18–64: United States 2010–2015. National Health Statistics Reports; no 112. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018. cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr112.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2018.
22008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary. health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx. Accessed July 17, 2018.