May: National Employee Health and Fitness Month

The month of May has been designated National Employee Health and Fitness Month as part of a nationwide effort to foster health and fitness in the workplace. Two organizations,National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF) andACTIVE Life, are responsible for the creation of this month dedicated to generating healthy lifestyles and activities in the workplace on a more sustainable, ongoing basis.

Benefits of Physical Activity for Employees

According to, physical activity is important at every age. Among adults in the workplace it helps to reduce risks of various health conditions including: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Aging adults in the workplace also enjoy the benefits of better coordination (fewer risks of falls) and improved cognitive functions.

Physical activity in the early afternoon can also help to get the blood flowing to the brain leading employees to be more productive rather than suffering the afternoon mental slowdown so many employees experience.

How Can Employers Observe Employee Health and Fitness Month?

There are many ways employers can help observe this important month. Consider starting employer wellness and fitness programs for employees. Offer incentives that encourage employees to ride their bicycles to work. Offer on-site fitness centers or free or discounted gym memberships as employee perks. Promote physical activity during employee breaks with Ping-Pong tables, basketball goals, or racquetball facilities, etc.

Look for team building activities that get employees involved and up and moving around that you can incorporate into meetings during the month of May. Look for ways to make it fun and to avoid having it feel like “forced exercises” to your employees.

The key is to find methods for promoting Employer Health and Fitness Month that work with your company culture. The more easily it works with the people who work for your company day and in day out, the more likely it is that your employees will take advantage of the fitness opportunities you offer them.

Employer Benefits for Honoring Employee Health and Fitness Month

When you have healthier employees, your entire business benefits. Businesses that participate in worksite wellness programs, for instance, enjoy

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Enhanced employee productivity
  • Fewer illnesses
  • Reduced rates of injuries
  • Improved health care costs
  • Employees who participate in employer sponsored wellness programs experience the following:
  • Improved self-images
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Lower stress
  • Improved stamina
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Enhanced physical fitness

Those benefits are passed along to the employer and often lead to lower employee turnover rates and other cost-saving benefits to employers. Your goal should be to create a sustainable level of physical activity among employees to help promote a young, active, forward thinking, and forward moving image for your business.

Despite your best efforts to promote health, safety, and activity in the workplace, accidents and illnesses happen sometimes. When workplace accidents, illnesses, and injuries occur, you need the assurance of workers’ compensation insurance to protect your employees and your business.