“The first wealth is health” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Busy entrepreneurs tend to be very focused on the vital signs of their businesses, often neglecting their own health and the connection between personal and professional fitness. Without a clean bill of health, many entrepreneurs cannot secure the necessary insurance to back their business. Further, if employees are unfit, it becomes more expensive to provide health care coverage. Productivity decreases and absenteeism increases. All this contributes negatively to the bottom line.

The nation’s workforce is becoming increasingly unhealthy. Root causes range from influences at the workplace to the home: sedentary jobs, lack of activity, too much time driving and sitting, smoking, oversized food portions, increased computer, TV and electronic game time, just to name a few. These unhealthy lifestyles raise the risk for Type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, stress, heart disease, and a myriad of other health problems.

If your employees engage in unhealthy behaviors, your costs of doing business will increase. Health care and worker’s compensation premiums will increase as overall productivity declines. Other costs that employers often bear include prescription drugs, surgeries, therapies, and other medical treatments. Absenteeism adds to the hidden costs of unhealthy lifestyles. Employees take more and more time off to deal with these potentially debilitating illnesses leaving companies stretched to meet productivity targets.

How can a business owner make a difference? Lead by example. Begin by getting a full physical. Determine your current fitness level, and work with a primary care physician and fitness coach to help you develop a program to help you reach your goals. For your employees, use a health risk assessment (HRA), which is a systematic approach to collecting information from individuals that identifies risk factors. You can then provide individualized feedback and link the person with programs to help promote a healthier lifestyle to help prevent disease. Increase employees’ awareness and take action. Provide educational programs, use your buying power to get discounted group memberships at a gym, or create team building opportunities with healthy group competitions for reaching certain fitness milestones per team.

For example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) developed the Workforce Health Promotion (WHP) for its own employees, focused on these four pillars: physical activity, nutritious eating, preventive health, and making healthy choices. They’ve developed walking trails, discount fitness center membership programs for employees, and food policies which suggest healthier foods at company-sponsored meetings and events. The CDC even provides tips on program design, toolkits, policies and quick resources.

Your Consulting2Win coach can help you choose the right solution for you to be on your way to a more productive, fit workforce, improved productivity and reduced overall costs – moving your business toward physical, and fiscal, fitness.

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Ralph White
Business Coach, Author, Artist & CEO
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