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									Fitness….Getting The Company on Board
By Jeffrey S. Harrison, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACE-CES
Personal Training Director
Pottstown Health Club

          The word “fitness” has many different meanings depending on which
context the word is being used. In business, being “fiscally fit” is used to
describe a company or individual that is doing very well financially. Mental
fitness is having a keen sense of the environment and the well developed
process of interpreting external stimuli. However, physical condition or well being
is usually what comes to mind when the word fitness is discussed. The definition
of the word fitness in this context is indeed described as being physically fit, or
the state of being physically fit. Yet in our search for fitness, our society has
completely lost or forgotten the true meaning of the word.
          As of January 2004, the ADA (American Dietetic Association) lists and
registers over 3,000+ diet plans and programs that are available to the American
public. Dieting has become such a household word that there is not one person
that can say they do not know nor have heard of anyone who has or is currently
on a diet, including themselves. Clearly the focus of being fit in America is
focused on weight and weight loss. The quest for true physical fitness has been
lost in the shuffle of exercising primarily for aesthetics or ideal body weight. The
unfortunate story here is that 3,000+ diets in the long run do not work; never
have, never will. After all, current statistics keep telling us that as a nation, we
are fatter then ever and obesity is a full fledge public health crisis. As an
employer, you are not unaffected by this phenomenon.
          It is estimated that obesity costs American businesses $12.7 billion,
according to the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Furthermore,
obesity is associated with 39 million lost work days and 239 million restricted
activity days. Time lost. Productivity lost. Money lost. The answer to this
problem has been a hot topic for several years, and still many people can not
come to terms that the solution is as simple as move more and eat less. Well
balanced nutrition is too deep a subject to be discussed in this article. Physical
fitness however is something that can begin today and can cost almost nothing to
          Physical fitness is not something reserved just for those who compete at
the professional or amateur levels of athletics. It is not something reserved just
for those in uniform. Improved health and quality of life is what being physically
fit is all about. It is about having the energy and "umph" to face the day to day
challenges and obstacles. Physical fitness is a way of life that everyone needs to
adapt, and it does not mean spending two hours in a gym or exercising every
day. Getting physically fit begins by taking a step and choosing to do something
more than just sitting on the backside. It could be as easy as starting to walk
more, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or extra playtime with the family.

Jeffrey S. Harrison | Certified Personal Trainer | fitjeff27@comcast.net | 610.952.5928
For those who want to get more involved, they could join a health club, hire the
services of a personal trainer, or join a social, but physically active club. The
really nice side effect of physical fitness is healthy changes in body composition
that are much more permanent than any “quick fix” can promise. Even those with
sedentary lifestyles and habits who begin to improve their physical fitness
modestly will see dramatic changes in their energy levels, their alertness, their
confidence, and their overall well being. As an employer, these are the qualities
you want in those that work for you. Technology has been great in making once
large tasks even easier and more convenient. Unfortunately, it is we as a society
whom is paying the ultimate price.
        The commitment to becoming physically fit is the first step for the rest of
your life. It is never too late nor is there never enough time. Following are some
low-cost ways for you and your company to promote physical fitness and begin
taking that first step.

    1) Offer voluntary health risk appraisals through health plans and health
    2) Require vendors to include healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending
    3) Provide nutritional information for cafeteria selections.
    4) Offer on site classes related to nutrition and exercise.
    5) Encourage the use of stairs and parking the car further away.
    6) Distribute health education materials.
    7) Develop fitness groups or clubs such as lunchtime walks, pick-up
        basketball games, or after work bike rides.
    8) Partner with local businesses to compete in a sort of corporate fitness
    9) Offer incentives such as early days or extended weekends for those who
        regularly participate in programs offered.
    10) Track, record, and reward the progress of the team at the water cooler or
        employee lounge.

    To quote a phrase overheard sometime ago, “A team is only as strong as its
weakest link.” .Employers should encourage participation in physical fitness
programs among all workers, not just to those they think need it most. It begins
with that first step and ends wherever the finish line may be. Get them on board
and be proud of the team that is out there on the field for you.

Jeffrey S. Harrison | Certified Personal Trainer | fitjeff27@comcast.net | 610.952.5928

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