Workplace programs to encourage exercise can help employees get moving, new research finds.
Home Depot employees who enrolled in a "Move to Improve" class that
stressed the importance of exercise for good health were twice as likely to meet physical activity guidelines as workers who did not participate in the class.
Experts say the programs are win-win situations: the employees get
healthier and the companies save on medical costs.
Fewer than half of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise - at least 30 minutes five times per week.
But new research finds that workplace programs can help employees become more physically fit.
A study of nearly 1500 Home Depot employees finds that those participating in a workplace program to encourage exercise substantially boosted their workout routines.
People in the program - called "Move to Improve" - received information on the benefits of exercise and assistance in setting personal goals for physical activity.
Workers increased their exercise routines slowly - adding just an extra 10 minutes each time.
They also received bonus pointers, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking farther away.
The employees supported each other and received T-shirts for meeting their goals.
After 12 weeks, 51% of those in the program were meeting the government's exercise guidelines, compared to just 25% of employees not in the program.
Studies show people who are physically fit have lower rates of diabetes & heart disease - saving the companies big money in the long run.
Source: published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by
researchers at the University of Georgia