Ask your employees about their New Year's resolutions. If they mention health and fitness, they're not alone. Year after year, people vow to exercise more, to lose weight, and to eat better in the New Year. Just as regularly, however, most abandon their resolutions after a couple of months.
Why not support your team in their health and fitness goals? After all, your company's success depends on your employees' well-being. To get them started, suggest the following clear and simple tips.
1. Be Kind to Yourself to Boost Chances of Success
A resolution is not an all-or-nothing proposition. If we occasionally slip up, we should forgive ourselves and start again.
Encourage employees not to beat themselves up for those extra holiday indulgences. If they're still catching up after holiday travel, advise them to postpone their usual strenuous workouts—and instead to ease back gradually.
Treating ourselves with kindness and compassion is a more effective motivator than succumbing to negativity and shame. If your employees experience self-defeating thoughts, recommend counselling. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are a great resource, so you should consider offering them. In addition, your extended health plan may cover several counselling sessions.
2. Eat Nutritious Food for a Strong Foundation
Let's get real. Most of us could improve our eating habits. If our diet isn’t nutritious, our health and fitness goals will inevitably fall short.
While losing weight is a common objective, improving eating habits isn't about trendy diets, counting calories, or starving ourselves.
It's about eating whole, unprocessed foods regularly and in healthful portions.
Give your team practical ideas. For example, homemade soups and stews are a satisfying, comforting choice for ongoing chilly months.
Also include oily fish, such as fresh salmon, trout, sardines, and herring. These types of fish are abundantly nutritious and are good sources of vitamin D, which most of us lack during the winter.
For some more meal inspiration, check out the 30 Days of Whole Food Challenge by EatingWell.
3. Make Exercise Fun to Keep Motivated
Watch kids run around. They're having fun! Watch adults work out, and it may look like more of a chore than a pleasure.
If your employees view exercise as a burden, they might be approaching it all wrong.
The trick? Choose a type of exercise that's enjoyable. To spark your team's imagination, offer popular activities as examples:
Hike with friends
Get off the bus a stop or two ahead of your destination—and walk there
Bike to work
Take dance classes in salsa, belly dance, or swing
Play outside with your kids (weather permitting)
Launch a workplace wellness program to organize walking groups, fitness classes, fitness challenges, and other motivating offerings. Bonus: With a workplace wellness program, employees will get extra motivation from others who are working toward their own fitness goals.
The more we exercise, the better we feel. Why?
Vigorous aerobic exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins, which inhibit pain and trigger feelings of happiness and well-being in the body. Ultimately, endorphins contribute to a positive outlook on life.
4. Try Fitness Apps for Something Different
For the technology buffs among your employees, fitness apps can motivate them to get moving. Try the following for starters:
PEAR - Personal Fitness Coach Personalized fitness coaching from a database of resources featuring Olympians and world champions.
Runtastic Pro Tracking app for running, jogging, walking, cycling and other fitness activities.
Aaptiv Audio-based fitness classes led by certified personal trainers.
Fitbit Coach Video workouts and audio coaching, with or without a Fitbit.
Asana Rebel Yoga-based fitness workouts for strength and flexibility.
5. Avoid Prolonged Sitting to Improve Overall Health
A sedentary lifestyle is associated with many ill effects, including obesity, heart disease, back pain, and more. With the shift from manual work to office work, however, many people sit all day.
If your employees spend hours at their computers, encourage them to get up and walk around every half an hour. Do so yourself—to set an example and to show that they shouldn't feel guilty for taking such breaks.
Consider providing adjustable standing desks. Employees can alternate between sitting and standing to add more movement to their work days.
For more tips on moving at work, check out: How to Exercise At Work and Take Care of Your Heart.
Boosting your team's wellness would surely benefit them. But don't underestimate the concurrent benefits to your company. If your employees are thriving, physically and mentally, their work will reflect it. If you want more focused and productive employees, help them to take charge of their health and fitness.
Ready to learn more about how employee wellness is good for business?