How to Motivate Employees to Exercise

Exercise is essential to maintaining good health, a balanced mood and overall well-being, and its role in our lives becomes more important as we grow older. It can be quite difficult for most employees to throw fitness into the mix while trying to tend to their work and home lives. However, there are a few things you can do to encourage your employees to exercise.

Gym Discounts

An easy way to nudge employees to exercise is to partner with a local gym or fitness center, ideally one close to your workplace. Simply contact prospective gyms via email, phone or physical mail letting the manager or owner know you'd like to refer your employees to their business in exchange for giving them a discount on membership fees. Not only will the gym you partner with increase its revenue, but you'll provide an extra incentive for your employees to start exercising regularly.

On-Site Health Center

Having a health center complete with exercise equipment, healthy snacks and drinks, and workout motivation songs would be the ultimate way to help your employees get active, says Top Fitness Magazine. It will take a significant amount of investment and a good deal of planning, but the benefits that you can potentially gain, including increased employee loyalty, less sick days taken and a discount on your company health insurance plan, may make this venture worth it.

Encourage Exercise Groups

If your company doesn't have the ability to develop an onsite gym for your employees, you can encourage them to join exercise groups instead. For instance, you could form a walking group that employees can join for a stroll during lunch hour, or start a weekend company volleyball team that meets at a nearby park. Such options will cost you little to no money, but they will still get more of your employees to exercise and get fit.

Workspace Flexibility

One very easy way to get employees to exercise is by allowing them flexibility when it comes to their workspace. For example, letting your human resources manager sit on her balance ball instead of in her desk chair will help her strengthen and stabilize her core muscles, which is important to good health. Similarly, allowing your accountant to keep and use resistance tubes in his cubicle will allow him to get stronger and more toned during his break time. Forbes notes that many studies have concluded that exercise during the working hours helps reduce stress, and improve productivity as well as creativity.

Implementing Contests

Holding friendly contests can encourage your employees to exercise, as long as they are tactfully done and the prizes provide an attractive incentive for them to participate. Set a reasonable timeline for the contest, such as 90 days or four months, and have employees write their beginning weight on slips that you keep in a private area; there's no need to have them broadcast their weights publicly. At the end of the contest have everyone re-weigh themselves, hand in their results and you can then announce the total number of pounds that the winners lost, rather than their new weights.