Corporate Fitness is Key to Workplace Wellness Programs
In this week’s HealthYeah Live Video Blog Series, we interviewed Bryce Finck, founder and COO at Stack Health. StackHealth offers a web-based wellness program designed for companies that want to take a proactive step in boosting employee health, happiness, and productivity.
During the interview, we talk about how much sitting is required to make a company function. There’s no short amount of research showing that sitting sedentary at work increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. So, we get into these important sitting disease side effects, but also discuss how sitting isn’t the problem, but being sedentary for long periods of time is.
Our Modern-Day Way of Working is Sedentary
According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. In addition, physically active jobs now make up less than 20 percent of our workforce. All this sitting sedentary has caused huge ramifications on our health. During the interview, we focus on tips to help inspire employees, from the top down to be less sedentary at work. We also explore ways to reduce barriers to exercising at work and making it a key aspect of all workplace wellness programs.
The interview is well-timed with our April Anti-Sedentary Challenge, which is all about turning sedentary time into an opportunity to move more where we live, work, and play. Bryce is passionate about helping companies create corporate fitness and exercise movement cultures, so we focus on eliminating the health challenges of a sedentary workplace.
You can jump into the interview with Bryce anytime below, but we’ve included a summary for quick reference:
Creating a Movement Culture: Start with Individual Education
For Bryce, creating a culture that places priority on corporate fitness is all about starting with the individual. For employers to start with the individual, they obviously must care about their employees beyond the corporate walls.
Focusing on the individual includes placing a priority on education. It’s important to help employees understand how being sedentary at work impacts all aspects of their lives. Simply being overly prescriptive in suggesting corporate fitness or asking people to participate in programs isn’t enough. Some might have a chronic illness or injury, others a disability. Others might hate exercise or feel guilty in focusing on self-care at the office. Some might want to do more, others less. By focusing on the unique needs of the individual first, Bryce then suggests shifting to connecting the benefits of exercise to helping the company accomplish its goals.
Connecting Corporate Fitness to the Bottom Line
Yes, we all want employees to understand the physical benefits of exercise like lower blood pressure and a healthier heart. But, there are also benefits to the company. Research shows that devoting work time to physical activity can lead to higher productivity. There are also cognitive benefits that are important to the individual and the company:
- Improved concentration
- Sharper memory
- Faster learning
- Prolonged mental stamina
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower stress
Bryce mentions how companies should focus on intertwining the goals of individual and the company. But, always start with the individual first and help define what success looks like for all.
Define Exercise, Corporate Fitness, Working Out
For some, the words “exercise”, “fitness”, and “working out” all sound dreadful. Even perceived as a four-letter word. Exercise is not a four-letter word, but to many people, four letter words quickly come to mind when thinking about it. So, during the interview, Bryce explains why it’s important to define or redefine exercise for the individual. A good place to start is simply talking about exercise as movement or physical activity.
The official definition of physical activity by the National Center for Biotechnology Information is “Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.” They define “exercise as a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.”
Work with the individual to see what they are open to considering and what they are capable of performing. As Bryce mentions, for some, championing standing from one’s chair more frequently or performing shoulder shrugs, arm lifts or calf raises might be the answer. For others, they might like a designated gym time, active meetings, or movement breaks. By focusing on the individual, Bryce believes there’s an approach that will work for all. He believes this is possible even for those who are opposed to exercise/corporate fitness/working out in the workplace.
We invite you to listen to the entire interview for more tips!
Bryce’s Favorite Podcast:
Survival, a podcast from Cutler Media, which is part of Parcast Network. The podcast follows different survivor’s visceral and inspiring journeys to fight for life.
Join us next week to discuss why shoulder and upper body conditioning is important with Alex Wirta from Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy.