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Business Tips: Fit employees

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Employee Fitness: It's Just Good Business

(ARA) -- The fact that fit and healthy employees save companies money is well documented. Specifically, they have less illness, lower absenteeism, less turnover, a better attitude toward their jobs and better relationships with co-workers. So, it's not surprising that investing time and energy in establishing an employee fitness program is worth the payoff.

While state-of-the-art corporate health club facilities are the ideal, smaller companies can find creative ways to promote exercise and well being among employees. The impetus can come from either the board room or the work force.

For example, dance-fitness, yoga and/or martial arts instructors can be contracted to teach classes on site in a conference room or cafeteria. Walking and running clubs can be formed by posting sign-up sheets on hallway or break room bulletin boards. Company-sponsored softball, basketball and/or volleyball teams can participate in community recreation leagues, which, incidentally, is a great way to promote physical activity among employees and raise local awareness of your business at the same time.

"There are plenty of creative options," notes fitness expert Judi Sheppard Missett, founder of Jazzercise. "Many Jazzercise instructors have been recruited to lead lunchtime classes at large corporations, and the companies offer employees an incentive to participate by negotiating a discount on class fees or offering to pay a percentage of the cost."

Perhaps your human resources director can coordinate a discount on membership fees at a nearby health club. Installing bicycle racks at your building and initiating a reward program for those who pedal to work is another idea.

"To be successful, you must offer employees a variety of exercise ideas or options at a variety of times," adds Missett. "Then, give them an incentive to follow through, whether it's a discount on classes or club membership, a reward for consistent participation, or more flexible hours that allow time for exercise.

"To generate interest and build momentum, launch a quarterly wellness newsletter that discusses exercise opportunities for employees as well as general health issues. Consider offering on-site smoking cessation and nutrition seminars."

The best employee fitness programs, Missett adds, are those designed by the employees themselves. She suggests forming a fitness committee to seek input from co-workers and act as a liaison to upper management, to work with external organizations to bring in special speakers, instructors, equipment, etc., and to organize and implement specific exercise programs.

Founded by Missett in the late 1960s, Jazzercise is the leading international dance fitness organization with more than 4,700 franchises worldwide. For program information, access the Jazzercise Class Locator System at or call 1(800) FIT-IS-IT.

For more information, contact Kenny Harvey, Jazzercise Public Relations Director, at (760) 434-2101.

Courtesy of Article Resource Association,

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