Working out from Nine to Five

Mon Feb 9, 2009 8:39am EST
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The workplace can be the best place to boost employee health and well-being, experts say.

And corporate fitness programs can help employers to strike that delicate balance between competition and team spirit that makes the business world go 'round.

Sixty-five percent of the adult population in the United States can be reached through worksites, which makes them ideal settings to implement strategies for reducing overweight and obesity, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report.

And to that access add amicable rivalry, the mother's milk of capitalism, and you've got game.

"The corporate environment is a natural for friendly competition," said Dr. Rod K. Dishman, who headed a study about an employee exercise program at eight Home Depot home improvement stores in the United States and Canada.

The researchers tracked the daily activity of employees in the 12-week program. For extra motivation they split the workers into small teams and each got a group exercise goal. More than half of the workers met their minimum goals, according to study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"It's human nature to keep commitments to others when we'd let ourselves down," Dishman, of the University of Georgia at Athens, said in an interview. "Having the support of a group probably played a large role."

MANDATORY EXERCISE BREAK   Continued...

 
<p>A yoga class in an undated photo. REUTERS/Handout</p>