You might think of your job and your health as two separate parts of your life that are loosely related. However, exercise and job performance are closely linked. Activity levels impact every sphere of your life, and prioritizing fitness and health can have a positive impact on how you function at work.

Many business owners are reaping the benefits of encouraging employees to make time for exercise, and you can experience them, too. For instance, you will pay less in health insurance when you have healthier employees and your employees will be more productive than if they were more sedentary. Not sure how to introduce the conversation to encourage employees to exercise? Start with a focus of, “I want to improve your life” or “I know you are working hard here. Let’s make sure you are doing what you need to do for yourself, too. That’s better for all of us.”

The benefits don’t apply only to employers, however. The impact of exercise is most potent for the person participating. When you exercise, you’ll feel better and your job will be more enjoyable because you are feeling more energetic and productive. You will quickly realize that the days you get up early before work to exercise are better than the days you sleep in.

Exercise is also a stress reducer, and for those in high-stress jobs, it can make a big difference. Working out with others is a great idea, too. You will build camaraderie and get a chance to connect with someone socially before you get down to business. And don’t forget the future: if you want to be active 20 or 30 years from now, you should start by being active now.

As a small business owner, you can have a big impact on your employees’ health. First, consider providing a time during the workday for your employees to exercise. For instance, you can provide flexible hours with time to go to the gym. Give perks for biking or walking to work. You can also hold “walking meetings” when you need to brainstorm with someone one-on-one, which boosts creativity and gets your blood flowing.

You can also change the mentality in your office when it comes to food. Give the vending machines and the candy jar a boot from the break room. Instead, set out a basket of fresh fruits or some healthy trail mix with nuts. When it’s time to get your team together for a lunch meeting, skip ordering pizza and pick up Chipotle or at least pile that pizza high with vegetables.

You can make a big impact on your own job and those of your employees by making their health a priority. Take time to set a couple of goals for the health of your team, such as switching out snacks or putting up a poster about good health in your break room. Small steps will add up to big results and your staff will be healthier and more productive.

Brad Durham
Owner and Full Time Trainer

Brad Durham is the owner and one of the full-time trainers at B-FIT CrossFit. He has a passion for making people’s lives better by allowing them to be more active and building relationships with others with similar goals. He is a certified L1 CrossFit Trainer and CrossFit Kids Trainer, who continues to grow the fitness community in St. Joseph. His focus includes encouraging business owners in the region to create a healthy work environment for their employees. For more information about B-FIT CrossFit, visit http://www.bfitcrossfit.com/.