fitness culture

How to Inspire a Fitness Culture in Your Office

Nearly 80% of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week. The Department of Health and Human Services says 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity plus muscle-strengthening activity each week is the right amount.

Everyone wants to be their best version of themselves, right? As leaders, it’s our job to guide our offices to success. Healthy minds, healthy bodies, and a healthy bottom line are the goals.

Creating a culture where people feel valued and appreciated every day means keeping an eye on health.

Click here for some tips on inspiring a fitness culture in your office.

Effective Leadership Lies in a Fitness Culture

The leaders most likely to treat others well are those who live well themselves. They show employees that self-care, personal health, and lifestyle are acceptable. Not only that, they contribute to personal and professional success.

It’s a fancy way of saying that exercise encourages good feelings. Healthy, active people take fewer sick days. They are more productive and bring more energy to the workplace.

On a pragmatic level, encourage employees to exercise at work for better productivity. People return from workouts refreshed and better focused on their jobs.

Physical and mental care are buffers against the typical stress of the office.

Invest in Well-being

Ask your employees! Survey relentlessly to assess their interest and gauge intent. Try to understand the incentives they value.

This will allow you to focus on the fitness initiatives of greatest interest and impact. You should support wellness programs, health insurance, and other tools.

Your fitness culture should subsidize costs and comp time for activities like:

  • Health info and education
  • Health club membership
  • Health screenings and wellness activities
  • Quit Smoking/Weight Loss and targeted programs
  • Wellness coaching
  • Diet, nutrition and healthy food options
  • Physical fitness programs and classes
  • Team participation in marathons, swimathons, etc.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. Hang a fingerboard on the wall for pull-ups, let people use yoga balls instead of chairs. Instead of morning standup meetings, try a morning stretch.

Now Get Moving!

Little efforts like providing pedometers and rewarding milestones pay off. 10,000 steps 10 days in a row? That’s worth celebrating!

Encourage walking meetings. Move the printers an extra step away from the desks. Walk up a flight of stairs rather than waiting for the elevator.

Encourage commuters to use bikes, scooters, and skateboards to travel to and from work.

Create some friendly competition to get everyone excited about your fitness program! In order to have buy-in from your entire staff, invite them to join you! They’re more likely to be engaged when they see you leading the pack.

Workers who spend 30 to 60 minutes exercising at lunch reported an average performance boost of 15%. You can expect better time management skills, focus and ability to meet deadlines too!

Don’t Fear Fun

Make physical activity inclusive and part of your workplace culture through team-building activities. Lunchtime Quidditch (brooms, balls, and hoops in the courtyard) or Zombie Challenge? No problem.

The company softball or bowling teams are old standbys. How about kickball, dodgeball or even hula-hooping?

Team-building activities like a 5k fun walk/run are fun, especially if you train together. How about weekly office challenges with you as the challenger or the leader! Planks, anyone?


Leaders face stressful personal and business challenges every day. It’s a killer.

Chronic health problems caused by stress are well documented. The demands of an always-on workplace take a toll on physical and mental health. The strain of social isolation and burnout can mean heart attacks, strokes or worse.

According to death statistics by the CDC, the top three killers in the United States are:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases like emphysema

Collectively, these diseases killed 1,384,813 Americans in 2017. Stress leads to more issues of well-being in the workplace than any other cause.

Exercise is an effective barrier against the physical damage of stress. But a fitness culture can’t just start and stop with an office meditation or yoga class.

Leaders who build cultures of well-being identify stressful aspects of work. They work with their team to reduce or end those stressors. Leaders who inspire a workplace culture of fitness lead balanced lives, and help guide others to do the same.

Clear Communication and Promotion

Employees need to know what options are available to them. More importantly, they need to know leadership cares about their well-being. A fitness culture doesn’t happen without reinforcement.

Create a communication plan and timeline that lays out the program (and incentives!) with different methods to communicate the information to employees. Rewards and celebrations are especially important.

Ensure relevance and avoid information overload with targeted communications. Should a notice about prenatal yoga go to the same people who need info about lowering cholesterol? Target your wellness communications to the relevant employee demographics and interest groups.

Open up a dialogue and conversation throughout the organization about fitness. Discuss topics like nutrition and work/life balance too. Keep thoughts of well-being top of mind and foster a sense of togetherness. Facilitate a stress-reducing exchange of success stories and support.


Getting healthy and celebrating results encourages the type of change needed to begin a fitness program encourage a real shift in employee culture. However, sustaining a fitness culture requires leadership inspiration. Leaders need to model and reward behavior changes.

Activities that are new, challenging, and fun might be difficult to sustain in the long run. Programs must include incentives in order to drive long-term engagement.

Lead a fitness culture focused on of well-being with a well-developed wellness program. It is far more beneficial than simply hoping employee health will improve. These strategies will help your organization create sustainable, positive change in employees’ well-being.

Comments or questions? Contact us today to talk about the fitness culture in your office.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *