If you asked, the majority of your employees would say they would like to get more exercise. But many would add it’s hard to find the time.

Fitting in fitness benefits not only your employees, but you, the employer. Why?

Ann Wyatt, with HealthFitness, lays out the facts in her blog, “8 ways to help your employees find time for fitness.”

  • Physical inactivity and its adverse health effects are comparable to that of smoking and obesity.
  • Sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950.
  • More than 80 percent of American adults do not meet the recommended amounts of physical activity.
  • Not only does being physically active boost the health of your employees, but it’s good for your business as well. Research shows that workers who exercise during the day reported a 15 percent boost in performance, a happier mood and increased ability to meet deadlines.

So, how can you help you employees find time for fitness. Wyatt offers these suggestions:

Leadership support. At one of our technology client sites, a focus group shared that a key barrier to participation was an underlying perception that if they were seen working out, they will be seen as slackers and not working. We helped change that perception by recruiting C-suite leadership to work out while on the clock, opening the door for employees to see that fitness was a priority all of the way up the ladder.

Offer a variety of fitness options. To appeal to the range of ages and diversity of employees at a leading biotech company, HealthFitness offers a variety of 15 group exercise classes each week—from strength training to Pilates to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes.

Extend hours of corporate fitness center. At one of our manufacturing client sites, the staff has extended the hours of the fitness center early and late to accommodate different work shifts. At another site, employees at a high-tech company work a variety of hours throughout the day. To meet the needs of this diverse group of employees, the fitness center is open 24/7 and is staffed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Step up to better health. An eight-week walking program at a leading car manufacturing company encourages participants to use pedometers to track steps taken on the production line, in the lunchroom, during breaks, off campus and at home.

Take a hike at work. Walking trails give employees the opportunity to exercise at work. At one of our client sites, the trails are clearly marked and measured so employees can keep up with how far they walk. Employees can walk a shorter route during breaks and take a longer walk during lunch.

Encourage at-desk workouts. To inspire employees at a biotech client site to sit less and move more, HealthFitness staff host 15-minute energy breaks in conference rooms where employees learn workouts do to at their desks.

Provide a virtual fitness trainer. To reach employees who are not comfortable going to the gym—or exercising with their co-workers—HealthFitness staff at one of our high-tech client sites create and post short videos with exercise tips on the company’s intranet site.