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3 Fresh Workplace Fitness Challenges for American Heart Month

February 11, 2019

4 min read

Treat your employees to health, happiness, and other rewards.


Half of Americans have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a smoking addiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These are the top three risk factors for heart disease.

As a business owner, you could boost your employees’ morale and health with workplace fitness challenges during American Heart Month.

Let’s dive in to see how it’s done.

Why American Heart Month Matters

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but it is largely preventable.

American Heart Month takes place every February, and it aims to spread awareness about fighting heart disease with:

  • Increased physical activity.
  • Better eating habits.
  • Smoking cessation techniques.


Benefits of Company-Wide Challenges

Morale Boost
Give your employees a nice change of pace with friendly, team-building competition.

Up and Moving
A study published in the JAMA Network Open journal says a sedentary lifestyle may have health effects worse than:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

When you encourage your employees to get active, you help them improve their physical health.

Recruitment and Retention
You show how much you care when you make a fitness challenge part of your workplace wellness program.

According to Forbes, health and wellness packages are a deciding factor for where 87% of new hires apply, and 67% of employees enjoy their jobs more and recommend their employers when a wellness program is offered.

The Fitness Challenges

Challenge 1: Walking/Mileage
Have your employees measure their daily walking and/or running mileage for three months.

Employees can easily track their progress with devices such as:

  • Cell phones
  • Fitbits
  • Fitness watches

It makes sense to have your staff form teams. This will keep them accountable and encourage them to keep pursuing the challenge.

Fresh Twists

  • Randomly shuffle teams midway through the challenge, but have individuals keep their miles.
  • After a few weeks, take the top mileage leaders and turn them into captains. Build new teams around these captains.

Challenge 2: Weight Loss
After the holiday intake of cookies, ham, and chocolate, your employees might want to lose weight and improve their eating habits. These are two of the top three New Year’s resolutions, according to an Inc. study.

Help your employees reach their goals by setting up a workplace weight loss challenge. First, establish dates for the contest. At minimum, it should last three months.

Next, decide whether the challenge winners will be decided by total weight loss or percentage of weight loss. Let’s say Trevor in accounting loses 15 pounds. You could count his 15 pounds lost, or you could consider that Trevor weighed 200 pounds and lost 7.5% of his body weight during the contest.

Depending on the size of your business, you may want to offer multiple weigh-in dates. Keep the employees’ results on a spreadsheet, and offer an optional mid-way weigh-in for extra results tracking.

Express very clearly that your employees shouldn’t try to win by starving themselves or taking dangerous supplements. To counteract these unhealthy practices, share links to positive weight loss blogs.

Fresh Twists

  • Do a body fat percentage challenge. This will require more measurement work than a weight loss contest.
  • Offer the winners nice prizes, such as:
    • Bonus pay.
    • Extra time off.
    • High-quality workout gear.

Challenge 3: Company 5K

A company 5K requires more organization than the other two challenges, but it might lead to more employee anticipation and participation. Plus, a 5K gives non-employees the opportunity to get involved.

Your best bet is to work with a race organizer in your area because you’ll need to figure out a lot of things, including:

  • A race theme and name.
  • Registration process and dates.
  • Sponsors if you’re not funding all the race expenses yourself.
  • Race shirts, bibs, and medals.
  • Marketing, including email and social media promotion.

If you hold the race outside, you’ll need to work with city officials on road closures, security, and emergency personnel. This will be an extra expense.

If you live in a state that experiences harsh winters, you might want to hold the 5K at an indoor track.

When you promote the event, let the public know that it’s not just for runners. Invite walkers and families to join the fun.

Fresh Twists

  • Set up wacky (but safe) obstacles like:
    • A race theme and name.
    • Registration process and dates.
    • Sponsors if you’re not funding all the race expenses yourself.
    • Race shirts, bibs, and medals.
    • Marketing, including email and social media promotion.

  • If you host the 5K outside of American Heart Month, hold it at the end of the company weight loss challenge.

Healthy employees are happy employees, but is your business insurance in good shape? We’re not doctors, but we want to offer you a coverage check-up.

Talk to A1 Insurance and Financial Services LLC to create a strong business insurance plan that helps protect your employees and assets.

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