Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Employee wellness training: New guidelines

Even during a financial crisis, investing in human capital through employee wellness is good business, say industry experts.

Soaring employee health care costs are a clear risk to growth, profitability and competitiveness. For those reasons, organizations looking to cut costs should not start by eliminating employee wellness, according to Jay Seifert, LoneStart Wellness co-founder in a recent MarketWatch article.

"Tumultuous times call for stabilizing influences, and wellness is such an influence," says Seifert. "Now is not the time to put workplace wellness and employee health on the back burner. In fact, now is exactly the time to begin to realize the financial and other benefits of a sustainable workplace wellness program."

Depending on the size of your organization, employee wellness programs are relatively simple and cost-effective to set up. Studies show that for every dollar spent implementing an employee wellness program, employers see an average reduction of $2.45 in medical claims.

Along with group wellness activities, offer employee wellness training to educate workers on the importance of living healthy lives. Use the latest set of wellness guidelines from the government to help get your wellness training off the ground and running.

With two and a half hours each week of moderate aerobic physical activity adults can gain substantial health benefits, according to the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This first-ever set of guidelines is designed so people can work physical fitness in their day-to-day routines with activities they enjoy.

"It's important for all Americans to be active, and the guidelines are a roadmap to include physical activity in their daily routine," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "The evidence is clear--regular physical activity over months and years produces long-term health benefits and reduces the risk of many diseases. The more physically active you are, the more health benefits you gain."

The guidelines advise adults to perform two and a half hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity. For more extensive health benefits, double the amount of activity performed each week.

Examples of moderate intensity aerobic activities include walking briskly, water aerobics, ballroom dancing and general gardening. Examples of vigorous intensity aerobic activities include racewalking, jogging or running, swimming laps, jumping rope and hiking uphill.

Incorporate these guidelines into your employee wellness training and educate employees on the importance of physical activity to offset rising health care costs with healthier, happier employees.

For the complete guidelines visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Related posts:

New study: Positive work environments = healthy employees

De-stress at work and encourage innovation

Employee wellness programs gone wild

No comments:

Brought to you by