Lunchtime Wellness Programs: Four Steps to Help Make an Exercise Series Successful

Posted by on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 with Comments Off on Lunchtime Wellness Programs: Four Steps to Help Make an Exercise Series Successful Comments

With the explosion of workplace wellness programs, more offices than ever are beginning to offer a once or twice-weekly lunchtime exercise option for interested employees. Many companies are quickly learning that for busy professionals to actually have time to work out, they need to do it either before work or during their lunch hour. And offering a lunchtime wellness series can have astounding results. Employees who exercise over their lunch hour – even if it’s just a quick thirty-minute power walk – are more energized. Their work days are more productive, they’re less stressed, and are in a better mood. And best of all, they’re less likely to get sick – which is a great benefit to the companies for which they work.

But offering a lunchtime workout series on its own isn’t going to maximize participation – which is obviously the goal of creating a healthier mindset within your company culture. So if you want to start a lunchtime exercise program at your company, where do you even start? We’ve compiled the four best practices to consider to get a successful program underway.

lunchtime wellness series

Offering low impact options is a great way to get more people involved.
Photo Credit: Flickr user sazztastical

Find a real expert

It’s natural for people to be more interested in a fitness program that has a recognizable expert leading the class. And while you probably don’t want to splurge for a celebrity fitness trainer, finding someone reputable from your area isn’t an overly difficult charge. The key in this step is to find someone who specializes in the type of program you’re bringing into the office – and make sure their information is easy for employees to look up online. Then your staff can read up about the instructor and get excited about participating in the program. This also gives employees something tangible to share with each other – which can encourage more people to participate in the program.

Be selective about the class type

It’s important to keep in mind that your employees are taking time out of the middle of their work day to participate in a fitness program. It’s probably wise to choose activities that can be modified for a variety of activity levels and aren’t as likely to leave your staff dripping with sweat when they get back to their desks. Pilates, yoga, and power walking are all great choices to get people moving, feeling fit and more energized – without feeling like they need to shower for the rest of the day.

Time is an issue

The lunch hour isn’t very long – so being cognizant of time is also a factor. By coordinating with the instructor, you can pack an effective workout into 30 minutes – which still gives your staff time to change and eat before heading back to their desks. Since it’s a relatively short workout, this is also a great way to draw in employees who might be a little more wary of a longer training session. And getting more employees to participate can help them to see the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle outside of the office – which will benefit both your staff and the company’s bottom line in the future.

Promote, promote, promote

Setting up your lunchtime fitness program is only half the challenge – you also need to get people to attend! The best way to do that is by building excitement and making the series something that your staff is talking about. Use all of the marketing tools available to you – use a series of emails to share information about the program, its benefits, and the instructor. Send out calendar invites to get the events on everyone’s calendar. Put up small posters on office bulletin boards. You could even offer some kind of incentive to get involved – like healthy snacks or a monthly catered lunch for those who participate. By making the program fun and getting your employees excited, you’ll see better engagement and help build that healthy-minded office culture.

The bottom line

Bringing a lunchtime fitness series to your office once or twice a week isn’t a hard thing to do – and the money is well spent. Studies show that employees who take the time to exercise are more engaged at work, more efficient, and cost the company less health care dollars. Offering an internal series can also improve staff morale and create stronger partnerships between employees. Expanding your lunchtime health series by adding a catered lunch for employees who participate in the program is a great way to continue to encourage a healthier mindset – and a healthier workplace. And whenever you need a great corporate catering option, is here to help – both with delicious food and easy ordering options!

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