It’s never too late for us to focus on developing and maintaining a fit and healthy workforce.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, regular physical activity can help control body weight, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, improve brain function and moods, and strengthen bones and muscles.  Unless you work at a gym, are an athlete, or serve in the military, chances are some of your workforce is not as physically fit as others. 

So, what are you doing about it?  Depending on the size of the company, there are many things that can help employees become and remain stronger and healthier.  Luckily, in my experience working at a hospital, there were many services offered to the employees; things such as annual health fairs for employees and the public for various screenings, including cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose checks, and other health risk assessments.  There was also a cardiac center, where employees could use the equipment during times that patients were not present.  Our registered dietician conducted healthy food classes for employees, as well as patients that had experienced heart problems. 

If you are considering establishing a fitness program for your employees, first of all, you should conduct a survey to see how many are interested in participating.  Next, select a wellness committee to assume various duties, such as furnishing healthy snacks, and contacting outside health care personnel to present workshops.  You may already have an employee that is certified to teach First Aid Classes and C.P.R.  Search within your company to see which personnel can assume leadership roles by making it fun for all participants. 

Yoga, even 10-minute breaks at the workplace, can help a person escape from the stress of work.  Stress management “coaches” can teach techniques to relax and decompress from the strains both at work and home.  

Other ways to help your employees become more active, especially those whose jobs are sitting at a desk all day, are encouraging them to walk to discuss something with a coworker, rather than using email; take the stairs rather than elevator, and stand while talking on the phone.  Workers can get more exercise also by parking farther away from the building, getting off the bus earlier than the regular stop, and participating on a company sports team.  Get a group of workers together to take a lunch walk. 

Does your company encourage smoking cessation?  If not, this is a good time to start.  How about having contests between departments to bring healthy snacks every once in a while, rather than cookies, cakes, and all the good stuff?  Things such as fruit, nuts, cereals, yogurt, healthy muffins, and vegetables are much better for us all.  See which group comes up with the best ideas.

Workplace safety is a very important aspect of success in every workplace.  Does your workforce know what to do in case of an emergency?  Are there eyewash stations, and first aid supplies within the range of areas where they may be needed?  If not, now’s the time to get started on encouraging cooperation among workers to get healthy and stay that way, and be prepared in case of an emergency.