Let Your Benefits Contribute to Better Fitness

While improving fitness seems like a pursuit separate from your working life, your workplace can contribute to your efforts to get into better shape. Whether you work for a smaller employer that can only do the basics or a big company offering top-shelf benefits, you’ll usually find at least some employer-supported perks that help with fitness efforts – even some that, on the surface, don’t appear to be about fitness. Here are some examples.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). EAPs are designed to provide support for you in a wide range of ways, often by putting you in touch with human beings who can coach you, direct you to resources and more. Offerings might include programs addressing smoking cessation, nutrition, weight management, exercise and more.

Time management. Surveys show that one of the main causes of employee stress is the sense that they just don’t have the “time” to get everything done. EAPs offer employees a multitude of convenience services that save them time by helping with dependent care services, contractors, health providers, volunteer opportunities, educational courses, summer camps and more.

Mental health services. We think of mind and body as two separate things, but mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. In fact, poor physical fitness often results from mental health issues, such as stress, eating disorders, substance use disorder, depression and anxiety. EAPs are a great resource for addressing such challenges, and some employers provide mental health services beyond EAP options.

The little things. While you might not be aware of it, many employer-sponsored benefit programs include gym discounts, wellness incentives and other features that might not seem like major benefits but that can contribute to your pursuit of improved fitness.

Fit at work. Obviously, if you work for a company with the resources to have onsite fitness facilities, health coaches and such, take advantage of them. But if you work for an employer with fewer resources, you still often can find support for your fitness goals. Ask permission to start a lunchtime walking group, sign up a team to participate in a fundraising run or get information on a corporate challenge event in your area. Whatever you do, the first step is simply letting your employer know that you’d like to make improving your fitness a work-based activity. Aware that they’ll be rewarded with healthier, happier employees, most employers will find a way to support you.

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