Many companies are taking great efforts to ensure that they foster health and fitness in the workplace. Some are thinking of new and innovative ways to support employee exercise and overall well-being. Sitting at your desk for eight hours a day isn't exactly the best for your health.
A recent study by the University of South Carolina looked at the effects of sitting all day. Those who sat all day were much more likely to die of heart disease. NPR wrote a great article on the study.
Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, has spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health.
“Let's say you do 30 minutes of walking five days a week (as recommended by federal health officials), and let's say you sleep for eight hours,” Blair says. “Well, that still leaves 15.5 hours” in the day.
So if we know all of this about the risk factors of sitting all day and the health benefits of exercise, what is being done? Many businesses are taking health and fitness to work. This week we interviewed Gus Isacson, Executive Director of the Central Lakeview Merchants Association. He is taking health and fitness into the workplace by conducting board meetings on the run. That's right, board meetings on the run!
Gus meets with the board President weekly, and they go for a run. When I asked him why they started doing this, he explained that he was tired of the President talking about how she never gets to exercise. They started running and are already up to running at least 3 miles a meeting. The meetings last about an hour, consisting of run-walk periods, and are a great way to fit in daily exercise. Gus also meets with the President of their PR agency for weekly runs. Their PR agent, Kim Eberl says, “I love the idea of a run meeting. Not only is it a good workout, but it brings client-agency closer as we share our hobby together. I hope run meetings replace happy hours.”
The co-founder of WalkJogRun, Adam Howitt went on a run meeting with SweatVac's sales manager, Steve Kindred. Running is something they both have in common, and throughout the run they discussed potential SweatVac products we could buy for WalkJogRun. In the end, we ended up purchasing some great race hats for WalkJogRun fans.
There are many other companies working to support fitness in the workplace as well. Lindsey Carnett, CEO of Marketing Maven Public Relations, signed her employees up to meet with a personal trainer twice a week. An account executive within the firm wanted to start a company challenge. Elizabeth Maxim, account executive at Marketing Maven PR explains, “We all have a fitness goal to reach by June, and if any one of us doesn't reach the goal by June, we have to push our trainer's truck around the parking lot with other people in the truck! [My coworker] and I are going to run a half-marathon in June. Having this new challenge is a fun way for all of us to put some more excitement in
Janet Oberholtzer, one of our past guests on the TalkJogRun show, says, “My job as a writer and a speaker requires me to sit more hours of the day than what I would like.” She purchased a LifeSpan treadmill desk to help with the long hours of sitting required with her job. This helps her get moving, while still getting her work done!
Some companies are taking fitness in the workplace quite literally. Ari Kresch, CEO of 1-800-LAW-FIRM had a track built in their office headquarters in Southfield, Michigan. Ari's goal is to conduct meetings around the track and to encourage health and wellness in the firm with an in-house fitness center. The track was only recently installed, and already is used by their over 40 staff members.
Tune into this podcast to learn how Gus makes run meetings work for him. You can play the audio by clicking on the player below. You can also click “Download” below the player, which will work best if you are viewing this page from a mobile device. You may also choose to subscribe in iTunes. Another way to subscribe, is by entering your email address to the right where it says “subscribe.” These podcasts are perfect to listen to during your long runs!
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How are you or your company implementing health and fitness in the workplace? Comment below with your thoughts!