You see your colleagues every day, share thoughts and ideas, and make snack runs for the gang, so why not tap into this powerful resource to encourage fitness on the job? Office fitness support groups can be fantastic for co-workers to help support and encourage each other, and the daily interaction can keep members accountable for exercise and diet. Not all work environments are friendly to inter-office workout groups but more companies are recognizing the value of healthy employees that exercise regularly, so talk to your supervisor before starting a program. Once you get the okay, here are some ideas to help your office workout group get up and running!
Announce and Publicize
Create an eye-catching announcement to post around the office and print it on brightly colored paper. Put your announcement up in prominent positions - around the water cooler, on the doors of the restrooms, and in the snack room. Make sure the message is clear and that readers will understand the goals and aims of the group. The instructions should be clearly understood, whether you are holding a brief meeting to kick things off or simply want interested parties to email you. Contact information is especially important - if people are interested but can't figure out whom to contact, they quickly forget about it.
Talk it up!
After you have put together your announcement, printed and posted it, now it's time for the promotion. Bring it up when you're talking with co-workers and ask if they are interested in it. Find out why or why not, and then let them know that the first meeting is all about identifying individual needs and figuring out the format that will work best for everyone. If your supervisor is interested in participating, let that be one of your selling points! You may want to include that information on your flyers and challenge your colleagues to match the boss's example. If your company or group has a newsletter, insert a brief item about the fitness group and invite all interested parties. You may be surprised at the response.
Make it fun for everyone
An office fitness group is primarily about supporting and encouraging each other in individual exercise goals, but it should never be overly intense or competitive. There is enough competition in a typical office without adding to it - participating in an extracurricular group with co-workers should build rapport with one another rather than pitting one against the other. Incorporate some fun challenges into your group plan to keep the mood light. Offer appropriate prizes for the member who racks up the most exercise time in a week, like pedometers and other fitness accessories. The prizes should not be overly expensive but avoid rewards that contradict the goals of the group: fast food gift certificates, candy bars, and high-fat foods do not fit in with a group that aims for more fitness! Some companies that are forward-thinking run long-term competitions that reward healthy employees with tickets to movies or plays, dinner for two to a healthy restaurant, or even a brief vacation at a picturesque nearby location. Brainstorm ideas with your group and come up with what fits the overall group best.
Keep the group on track
To make an office fitness group work, you have to be committed to the goals of fitness and health. When co-workers meet in social settings the talk can quickly go from fitness-related to work issues and gossip. Your group will probably need a nominal leader to keep discussions on track and simply manage the group's activities, and you will probably be chosen if you initiated the group. The leader essentially directs the group and oversees meetings, but the job can be shared between two or more people in order to prevent the burden from falling on just one person. Some groups actually work out together while others simply hold each other accountable for time spent exercising - whichever direction your group chooses, you should meet about once a week to get the maximum benefit from each other's encouragement.
Participate in the worthy cause
There are thousands of fund-raising efforts that frequently rely on the efforts of corporate organizations to provide financing for charitable causes. Office teams can participate in fitness challenges and raise support from within the company that then goes to support the work of non-profit organizations. One of the most famous of these is the Race Against Breast Cancer, which brings thousands of participants from all over the United States to different events that challenge the mind and body. This is a fantastic way to get fit and do good at the same time, and definitely worthwhile for office groups to look into
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