tennis shoes, weights and a jump rope sitting on a Manduka yoga mat, illustrating the importance of a culture of health and fitness in the workplaceHow can promoting health and fitness benefit your business? Employees with sedentary jobs are more likely to develop long-term health issues from lack of physical activity during the work week. It’s easy to allow poor habits to take root when you aren’t aware of the negative effects they can have on the body and mind. As an employer, you’ll want to make sure your team has access to resources that promote wellness both inside and outside of the office. Such efforts to help them live well and work well don’t just help to ensure your team members are feeling better physically and mentally — they can make your team more productive overall. Read on for insight into why health and fitness make a difference in the workplace.

The Benefits of Physical Fitness
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. But what counts as moderate physical activity? Surprisingly, many everyday activities can help a person reach that moderate exercise mark, and they don’t require special equipment or access to a gym. For example, going on a walk, doing some spring cleaning or even gardening can count toward a workout. Remember that fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s important to consult a doctor before making any health-related changes.

A major benefit of exercise is the reduced risk of issues such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Being active physically benefits one’s entire body, not just the muscular and cardiovascular systems. By incorporating fitness into a weekly routine, a person is also strengthening their bones and joints. The skeletal system supports the entire body, so working out actually lowers the risk of serious injury and improves a person’s recovery time in the event that they do have an accident.

Mental Health and Immunity
You might be familiar with the physical benefits of staying active, but what about the psychological benefits? When a person works out, their body releases endorphins that help them healthily cope with daily stressors by elevating the mood and reducing anxiety. Studies also show that exercise tires the body and clears one’s mind, improving their overall quality of sleep.

Sufficient rest is essential for all bodily systems, especially the nervous and immune systems. Working out also helps the body fight off viruses and infections, lowering the risk of illness. When a person exercises, their immune cells move more vigorously throughout the body, promoting a lasting presence of those cells hours after the workout’s complete. Together, a healthy amount of sleep and physical activity increase the brain’s cognitive functions, improve productivity and boost immunity throughout the day.

Encouraging Employee Exercise
Health and wellness greatly influence a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, including work-related activities. More importantly, the value a business places on wellness is a reflection of its company culture. So, how do you cultivate a healthy work environment? A strategic benefits package is a good start, but there are other ways to encourage employees to lead a healthy lifestyle. Adopting health-conscious practices in the office is a great way for employers to lead by example and make sure team members have access to the resources they need to start their fitness journey.

We hope the above information has helped to illustrate the many ways employee health and fitness can impact your business. If you have questions on any of the above, or if you’re interested in implementing employee benefits that help your company stand out (and team members remain healthy),  contact BCH. We look forward to hearing from you!