Why You Need to Promote Nutrition & Fitness In Your Workplace Wellness Program

Employees aren’t cogs in a machine—they’re human beings, fit with all of the complexities and dimensions that come with that title. So, if you want to help them perform their best at work, you need to support them in multiple dimensions of their life, including their nutrition and fitness.

Promoting health and wellness in the workplace helps improve employee engagement, productivity, and stress management. But what many people miss is that health is not just the absence of illness or injury. Rather, it’s the state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. 

Healthy eating and exercise are two critical components of helping employees achieve this level of wellbeing. If you’re serious about improving the health of your organizations and its workers, then it’s time to start incorporating nutrition and fitness into your workplace wellness program.

Let’s start with why it’s so important.

What are the benefits of fitness & nutrition support in the workplace?

When we improve our diet and exercise, we also improve multiple dimensions of our life. From physical health, mental health, and workplace productivity, a healthier lifestyle leads to healthier individuals who will bring the best versions of themselves to work.

Physical benefits

The list of physical advantages of active, healthy individuals is long. According to the World Health Organization, some of the most important ones include: 

  • Increased energy levels
  • Controlled blood pressure
  • Better blood flow circulation
  • Strengthened bones and muscles
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and other illnesses

Mental benefits

HR and corporate benefits leaders play an important role in supporting employees with their mental health, and incorporating fitness and nutrition into their wellness strategies can help them create an even larger impact. According to the National Institute of Health, individuals who regularly exercise and eat well have shown:

  • Reduced levels of stress and anxiety
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved memory
  • Boosted mood

Workplace benefits

Supporting employees with their fitness and nutrition offers direct benefits to workplace function, too. Research and surveys from SHRM and John’s Hopkins University link physical wellness in the workplace to:

  • Higher engagement and morale
  • Less employee turnover
  • Fewer days missed at work
  • Lower annual healthcare costs

So, what can you do to integrate fitness & nutrition into your workplace wellness program?

HR and corporate benefits teams have several options to help employees achieve greater health and wellbeing through healthy exercise and eating habits. Use these strategies to unlock the potential of your organization and its workers with the power of fitness and nutrition.

Promote healthy eating habits

Healthy food helps boost our mood, fuel our bodies, and improve our productivity. But often, the food that gets eaten most is the food that is most accessible, and many times that means sugary office snacks or company-sponsored pizza parties. 

If you want to help your employees improve their health and wellbeing, make healthier food options more readily available. Prioritize fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain options, and lean protein sources in your organization’s kitchen, vending machines, and break rooms. Hosting nutritional seminars that offer education on making healthy food decisions goes a long way, too.

Of course, cake, pizza, and other junk food will still have a place on special occasions. But by providing employees more opportunities to make smarter choices with healthier options, you’re empowering them to make better decisions that will improve their health and wellbeing.

Offer access to fitness facilities and/or activities

Want to promote health and wellness in the workplace? Make it as easy as possible for employees to get active! Consider offering direct access to or financial incentives for fitness opportunities. These could look like stipends for gym memberships, on-site or virtual fitness classes, or even money towards services like Class Pass to give employees a broad range of exercise opportunities.

Host a wellness challenge at work

Not everyone sees the fun in fitness and healthy eating decisions. But opinions can change when there’s competition and incentives involved. Workplace wellness challenges are an effective way to galvanize your teams around a friendly competition that promotes movement, health, and teamwork. 

Workplace wellness challenges can take on many different forms, making them flexible enough for any organization. Popular health and fitness challenges can center around daily step counts, water intake, and even sleep. If you decide to organize one, make sure to keep things simple and measurable. Also, a valuable incentive for winning doesn’t hurt, either!

Connect employees to certified life coaches

Oftentimes, poor nutrition and fitness habits are linked to other emotional and behavioral challenges we hold onto. By offering employees support via a certified life coach, you can help them address the challenges that prevent them from living a healthier lifestyle.  

For example, Carebridge’s EAP solution grants employees access to certified life coaches who can help with a range of fitness and nutritional topics, including making referrals for eating disorder treatment programs, providing counseling for emotional eating or body image issues, and much more.

Offer standing desks

Sitting for long stretches of time is detrimental to our health and wellness. In fact, one landmark study by the Mayo Clinic showed that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking 

You can uplift your employees by (literally) helping them stand taller with a standing desk. These ergonomic solutions can help them avoid hours of sitting, and thereby avoid the harmful consequences that result from a sedentary lifestyle. 

Bonus: This can also support those with hidden disabilities and bring more inclusivity to your workplace!

Woman works at a standing desk while using a walking pad.

Encourage active meetings

For many professionals, meetings make up a large portion of our working day. That means a large part of many of our days are spent sedentary, locked in conversations that require lots of sitting and listening. However, that reality can change if you start looking at meetings as an opportunity to get moving!

Active meetings include walking, standing, or for the ultra adventurous, plank meetings. As a bonus, movement doesn’t just improve our physical health, it also helps get our creative juices flowing, leading to more creative ideas and inspiration in your conversations.

Promote Nutrition and Fitness at Work the Carebridge Way

Ready to take the health of your organization and its employees to new levels? Our comprehensive EAP solution gives multidimensional teams the complete support they need. Reach out to us to learn more: Get a Quote.