Break A Sweat Between Nine and Five

Posted on March 1, 2011

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By Inga Breede

The only kind of physical activity I normally get while at work is when I take a stroll to the washroom, a coffee shop, or a great shoe sale (the last two also costing me anywhere from $4 to $150). This is quite the opposite on the weekends, when I am usually quite active in sports activities and spend as much time outdoors as possible. However, two days out of seven just isn’t enough. Perhaps you’re like me, where going to the gym during the weekday never seems like an option because of the travel time and the sweat factor (or is that just a woman thing?). And by the time I get home, I’m too tired to get myself on a treadmill. Let’s face it, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day is quite draining, both physically and mentally.

So, I decided to talk to a couple of people involved in corporate fitness programs to learn more about the activities they offer/participate in and the benefits. The first is Sue Pridham, a representative of Trifit, an organization that introduces fitness and health programs in corporate environments.

Q:  What types of programs do you offer to Canadian corporations?

A: Tri Fit provides a wide range of fitness and wellness programs. We tailor programs to fit the organization’s strategic goals, physical space/facilities, type of work and work environment, employee needs and interests and budget.

Some of the more popular ways to introduce fitness and wellness at work include:

  • Walking programs
  • Lunch n learn seminars
  • Health fairs
  • Wellness intranet site with access to wellness information
  • Stretch breaks
  • Yoga/Pilates classes (showerless workouts)
  • Team participation in community running, walking and cycling events
  • Fitness subsidies including subsidy for sport and recreation activities

Q:  What are the benefits of having a fitness program in the workplace?

A:

  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Decreases Employee Turnover
  • Reduces Cardiovascular risk
  • Increases company morale and teamwork

I also spoke to Dave Lee, an employee of Dell Canada who participates in a fitness program organized by a third-party and available to all Dell employees.

Q:  Which programs do you take part in? Can you describe what a typical session is like?

A: I take part in the yoga classes which run three times a week. Yoga is accessible to all fitness levels and this is such an easy fit into my busy schedule. There is no need to get in my car and drive to the gym, I can simply get up from my chair and walk to the class in under 30 seconds. Classes take part during the lunch hour and typically begin with 10 minutes of relaxation and 50 minutes of yoga stretches. I had a desire to get back in shape and this required little effort with no driving to the gym. I was tired and stressed and I wanted to do something different.

Q:  Has this program encouraged a healthier lifestyle, in and outside the office?

A: Since joining yoga, I have increased the amount of physical activity including walking at lunch, jogging, weekend bike rides with my wife and purchasing a home gym and weight set. Yoga has been proven to increase flexibility which really helps when you spend most of your day sitting in an office chair staring at a monitor. It also relieves a lot of stress I deal with in the work day. As soon as I return to my desk from a yoga class, I feel relaxed and re-energized, which allows me to get through the rest of the day. In the end, the company benefits from having a healthy workforce, as it drives productivity and increases company morale.

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