Estimated reading time: 2 mins
In 2017, our society seems to be both keenly aware of the benefits and the need to stay fit and healthy, but at the same time, completely oblivious or ignorant of it.
You can hardly switch on the TV or read a newspaper or magazine without being warned of the damage mankind is doing to his life expectancy by his lifestyle choices.
A report by USA Today, suggests that obesity and inactivity may soon become the leading cause of cancer in the States – overtaking smoking.
Dr Richard Wender, a physician and chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society (ACS), believes that as the rate of smoking decreases, other unhealthy habits threaten to offset the progress in reducing cancer deaths.
This supports the frightening statistics released last year by New England Journal of Medicine which indicates the number of cancers linked with excess body weight has risen from 5 to 13.
Eight new cancers were added to the list: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovarian, thyroid, multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) and meningioma (a type of central nervous system cancer).
So, what are we doing about it? Well, the good news is that forward thinking businesses are looking at new ways to help their staff get and stay in good shape, which, of course, saves them thousands of dollars in medical insurance claims and sick days.
Walmart, as an example, who is the USA’s largest employer, has recently come under fire for its ‘points based’ system that penalised staff for taking time off for illness, now comes top of the list of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies who provide health and wellness programs for employees.
Walmart’s scheme provides its 1.1 million employees and their families affordable healthcare plans and comprehensive medical insurance. New benefits and resources are offered to staff to help them better manage their wellbeing. A major benefit and contributor to Walmart’s successful scheme is its subsidised fitness center memberships. For a token fee, employees can use the Walmart fitness center and facilities including track, exercise equipment, swimming pool and fitness classes.
Employers benefit from promoting health fitness and wellbeing to their employees.
Here, according to the study by The Health Fitness Revolution team are some of the most frequently felt benefits:
- Healthier, more productive working employees
- Lower stress levels
- Lower turnover / higher employee retention rates
- Fewer sick days
- Lower insurance premiums
- Protection of a company’s greatest asset – the employee
- Higher self-esteem and a greater team-building mentality
Many companies, though, opt for smaller, bite sized schemes such as offering staff step counters. Not only can a simple scheme like this promote improved fitness, competition between co-workers and departments offers a sense of comradery.
The take up of cycle to work schemes in the UK, where employees are able to purchase new bikes, which are ideally suited to commuters, have become increasingly popular.
Discounted gym memberships or onsite gyms are popular, too, with many staff using facilities before and after work and even during their lunch break.
Other employees, provide Yoga and/or mediation classes in the office.
It all helps to keep staff fit and healthy, worthwhile and invested in.