VOL. 7 | NO. 21 | Saturday, May 17, 2014
Editorial: Wellness Programs Can Play Key Role in City
Corporate wellness plans have come a long way in the last 20 years.
So has the idea of fitness and exercise in a city whose population is part of a region consistently near the top of national rankings for some significant health problems.
By now, most of us have experience in a workplace with requirements for some kind of physical activity or exercise that is tied to health insurance plans.
What such incentives seems to miss though as they drift away from the honor system to something more verifiable is credit beyond the work place, after or before the work day, for the kind of exercise and wellness habits that become a part of someone’s lifestyle.
Admittedly wellness practices in the workplace are an act in progress with national models rapidly becoming the norm in which companies pick one just as they pick a health insurance provider.
The best wellness programs are those that lead to more than a discount on premiums. They lead to a lifestyle change that is a choice and not a new part of the workplace routine.
To that end, those who manage workplaces should work toward another contribution to the cause that is a next step in healthier workplaces – more realistic workloads that take into account time away from the desk.
It is legitimate to ask whether workplace wellness programs really work as a group of employees take on a prescribed physical activity on company time and find themselves taking home work to finish because while the day’s work schedule made time for the activity the clock kept ticking on a daily workload that remained the same.
That is the case for so many of us in these days when our productivity at work is managed and analyzed in ways that affect pay and whether we keep the job that may offer time to exercise but doesn’t recognize the impact of that time for exercise in the workload.
Wellness is not just a physical act or routine. It is also a state of mind.
Someone doing the most simple activity like walking isn’t getting much benefit from it if they are stressing out about the work they should be doing and have to complete by the end of the day because they had to stop that to take a mandated walk or other activity.
We think workplace wellness programs should work as a gateway to regular exercise that goes beyond the workday schedule and the workplace.
This is a community where that kind of gateway offers exercise and fitness routines that take advantage of a local transformation of the area into bike lanes and walking trails and greenlines.
Workplace wellness programs can offer an introduction to these relatively new parts of our community to even more citizens.
And more use of these facilities has the effect of not just transforming bodies but also transforming those areas continually by our presence there.