Many companies and organizations are invested in the health and wellness of their employees. It is a known fact that healthy employees who engage in fitness and other wellness activities perform better in the workplace.
The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism states:
“For many companies, health costs use up 50 percent or more of their corporate profits. In fact, the indirect costs of poor health, such as an absence from work and reduced work productivity, can result in two or three times the amount of direct medical costs.” website
A comprehensive analysis of 42 published studies of worksite health promotion programs showed that companies that implemented an effective wellness program realized significant cost reductions and financial gains, including:
· An average of 28 percent reduction in sick days
· An average of 26 percent reduction in health costs
· An average of 30 percent reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management claims
· An average $5.93 to $1 savings-to-cost ratio.
For example, Lockheed-Martin offers employees cash bonuses from $100 to $600 for practices such as completing a well-being assessment or enrolling family members into their Health Fund Program. Also, as part of their LM Healthworks plan, participating employees are given free pedometers to measure their steps as part of a fitness challenge, with raffle prizes awaiting top participation.
As a former public employee, I had options for signing up with a local health club at a discounted rate as an incentive to stay well. Now retired, I still have my low monthly fee for a lifetime gym membership.
This is great for employees who are fortunate to have these benefits. But what if your company or organization does not offer wellness programs or other incentives? External rewards are nice, but what kinds of motivation does it take to keep you fit and well?
Apps and Tools
Have you ever thought about using apps and/or wearable fitness tools to measure and help keep track of your fitness progress? Most apps are free and can provide great information customized for you. A plethora of activity trackers has entered the fitness market in the last couple of years. Here are just a few of some I have used or have been recommended.
Weight Management Apps
If you are managing your weight, there are many options for counting your calories. Weight loss programs like Nutri-system, Weight Watchers and Medi-fast have free, built-in mobile apps you can use to track your weight, count your calories and meals, and log your exercise regimen. I have personally used both Medi-fast’s and Nutri-system’s apps and find both to be very effective. Nutri-system’s can be easily accessed from a mobile device and your computer.
For those who do not follow a weight loss program and still want to count calories, there are many to choose from. I use “Calorie Counter” by Fat Secret which contains an exhaustive food list and serves as an ideal food diary. It is very easy to set up and keep track. For low-tech options, keeping a hand written food journal also works for many people.
Just like calorie counters, there are a wide variety of workout apps available. I have personally used “7 Minute Workout,” and “Map My Ride (Run, Walk, Fitness)” to assist with my workouts. The “Map My Fitness” apps work with your mobile phone to track your workout in miles, calories burned, route taken, to name a few. You can link your finished workout to your social network if you wish.
Most free weight management and workout apps can be upgraded for a fee. The information written here is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of every app or tool available. For more information on apps, visit Fitness Magazine
General Health and Medical Apps
Your health provider may have a mobile app designed to keep track of your entire medical and wellness history. Kaiser Permanente provides this type of app to members. Your gym membership may have an app dedicated to its brand and products, like “My24,”by 24-Hour Fitness Centers. These apps provide quick access to help keep you on track and motivated.
The latest trend in fitness has been the wearable fitness tracker. These are activity and sleep monitors that track user movements and activity levels to provide information on metrics including step count, calories burned, distance traveled, and number of hours of light and deep sleep via mobile technology. More notable are Fitbit, Misfit Wearables, and Jawbone.
If your employer or insurance company provides you with a fitness tracker, use it. Prices vary from under $50 to over $250. For more in-depth information, read this article.
For those who are low-tech or just not interested in using a mobile device to track your fitness, a good old-fashioned scale at home or at your gym, paired with an inexpensive pedometer will work just fine. A small notebook can be used as a simple food/workout journal.
If you are interested in trying out a free app or paying for a wearable fitness tool, conduct your own research and reviews for the ones that are right for you.
ALWAYS check with your physician when starting a new fitness regimen. And keep up the good work!