Working Out at Work.
Working Out at Work
Making Fitness Convenient continued...
Not all companies can afford a full-service fitness center, but
that doesn't mean they're not providing some fitness options. At Ripon College
in Ripon, Wisconsin, Elaine Coll, professor emeritus of physical education,
organized a faculty-staff noontime workout called "Ultimate Fitness."
The idea originally started with a volleyball coach who began the program for
physical education students. When the coach moved away, a number of faculty and
staff who had been "auditing" the program were left, well, a bit less
So Coll stepped up to the plate. She leads Ripon faculty and
staff in an exercise routine that includes a 5-minute warm-up and then a
circuit of ten to 12 stations, each of which focuses on an upper- or lower-body
exercise or an aerobic exercise. After each station, the workers run one lap
around the gym to the next station, and so on, until all stations have been
visited. This is followed by a 10-minute stretch-and-cool-down period.
All this goes on to some "really ghastly music," says
Coll, "but we have a great time."
Participation Is Key
Workplace exercise and health programs may seem like a great
benefit, but do they really work? Apparently the jury's still out.
According to Roy Shephard, PhD, professor emeritus of applied
physiology on the University of Toronto's faculty of physical education and
health, work-site exercise and health programs are widely believed to be a way
to keep employees healthy, thereby increasing a company's productivity while
controlling health insurance costs.
Participation in work-site wellness programs can yield a
variety of health benefits, Shephard writes in a February 1999 article, "Do
Work-Site Exercise and Health Programs Work?" (published in the journal
The Physician and Sportsmedicine): The potential benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Increased cardiovascular health
- Increased muscle strength
- Increased flexibility
- Improved mood
- Lower medical insurance claims
But Shephard, who is also a past president of the ACSM, also
reports that "few, if any, programs have delivered all of the expected
benefits." The reason, according to his research, is that most employees
don't join them.
That certainly doesn't seem to be the case at CDW Computer
Centers, however, where about 1,000 of the company's main-campus 1,800
employees (there are another 900 in other locations) take advantage of CDW's
on-site fitness center.