Employee Wellness: Fiscal Fitness Through Physical Exercise

By Donna Marsh 

How much can a workplace wellness program save your company? Plenty.

From 2002-08, Johnson & Johnson saw a return of $2.71 for every $1 spent on company wellness initiatives. A recent study was conducted by two doctors at a single employer. They studied 185 random participants in this controlled study. Fifty-seven percent of participants classified as high risk to the employer with regard to their blood pressure, body fat, anxiety levels and other measures, were reduced to low risk over the course of the six-month program. Medical claim costs were also reduced by $1,421 per participant compared with the previous year. The control group showed no improvements. What was the bottom line? The company yielded a $6 return for every $1 invested in the program.

Results like these are being repeated over and over again. In 2001, a medical center began a wellness program for its employees and reduced its lost work days by 80 percent over a six-year period. Cost savings, calculated by multiplying the reduction in lost work days by average pay rates, totaled $1.5 million. Meanwhile, workers’ comp insurance premiums declined by 50 percent.

That’s great, but what does it mean for those of us who don’t own a big company?

When insurance premiums go down and fewer claims are made, it helps everyone. When the risk of paying claims is lower, we all benefit from reduced insurance premiums. Insurance companies don’t want to pay claims. That’s why we now often see insurance companies offering incentives to employers and policy holders for participating in healthy behaviors. They understand the benefit is not only to those living healthier lifestyles, it is also to their advantage as a business.

And so the cycle continues. Healthier people create healthier working environments, healthier businesses and healthier economies — and that’s pretty great for everybody!

At Ultima Fitness, we work hand in hand with businesses and organizations throughout our community to promote the benefits of having a wellness program in place for every business. Our wellness center — the Wellness Center at Ultima Fitness — is preparing to open and will be an integral part of our employee wellness programming.

Whether you already have a wellness program in place or need assistance to begin a grassroots effort within your company, we can help. If your employer is not on board, gather some work friends together and let us help you put a program together with group personal training or boot camp.

For more on how to participate in our Employee Wellness Program, or to find out more about the Wellness Center at Ultima Fitness, call me at (561) 795-2823 or e-mail donna@ultimafitness.com.

Donna Marsh is membership services director at Ultima Fitness, located at 12799 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington.