Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Working Out at Work.

Working Out at Work

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.

"Our co-workers love it," says Friedson. "It gives them the opportunity to get together in a relaxed setting." An added bonus, says Friedson, is that working out is becoming "contagious."

Friedson is well aware that company-sponsored fitness programs are thought to contain medical costs by keeping employees healthy and fit, but he himself has no measurable figures to back that up. It doesn't really matter to him though. "We're really more interested in keeping our co-workers engaged, motivated, and happy. We don't focus on whether we're saving a dollar or two per person on sick time."

1|2
Reviewed on October 04, 2002

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
 
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
 
man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article