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8 Ways to Observe Global Employee Health and Fitness Month This May

February 21, 2024

Each May, Global Employee Health and Fitness Month offers employers the opportunity to consider the way they approach employee well-being and discuss strategies they can implement for a healthier workforce. Learn more about the observance and ways you can incorporate it into your corporate wellness practices.


What Is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month?

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is an international and national observance of health and fitness in the workplace, created by the National Association for Health and Fitness.

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month follows a loose structure with three parts designed to educate employees and encourage healthy living.

  1. Healthy Moments are individual actions or choices that contribute to a healthier lifestyle, such as trying new healthy foods, completing health screenings, or choosing to park farther away and incorporate more physical activity into their day.
  2. Healthy Groups are small groups of employees who encourage one another to participate in healthy behaviors year-round, long after Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is over. Healthy Groups may share healthy eating recipes, plan daily walking meetings during breaks, and take turns bringing in healthy snacks to share.
  3. The Culminating Project is an event or multiple events that encourage a healthy lifestyle within the organization or greater community. Project ideas include adapting wellness programs that use wellness points to increase participation, purchasing equipment for a small company gym, or scheduling family-friendly worksite health promotion activities


Why Observe Global Employee Health and Fitness Month?

Whether you want to kick off new wellness initiatives or complement your existing program, this international event can infuse a sense of excitement into your approach and provide some guidance on how to approach employee well-being.

Research has found time and again that workforce wellness has a strong impact on the health of your employees and your company.

By encouraging employees to pursue healthier lives, the average company experiences a 26% reduction in insurance costs and a 32% reduction in workers' compensation and disability claims. Wellness initiatives also function as recruiting tools, attracting top talent who expect a person-first workplace.

Successful companies recognize that employees are the most important capital. When businesses participate in initiatives that promote health, like Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, they support their employees in improving their overall well-being.

As a result, employees may experience lower stress levels, more energy, improved physical fitness, a lower risk of heart disease, and overall improved physical health.


RELATED: Workforce Wellness: Benefits and 4 Ways to Get Started


8 Ways to Celebrate + Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy lifestyles don't happen by accident but with action. When you intentionally promote healthy living within the workplace, your employees feel more empowered to make choices that benefit their fitness and well-being.


1. Organize Wellness Challenges

Wellness challenges one of the most engaging and sustainable approaches to supporting employee health. Using a platform like Terryberry, you can design challenges that focus on specific areas of wellness.

You can use wellness challenges to motivate employees to drink more water, stretch more frequently, or opt for healthier snack options-- the only limit is your creativity.


2. Create an Outdoor Workspace

Simply working in the presence of nature can boost productivity by 6% and creativity by 15%, as well as provide an overall increase in cognitive performance.

This is why Google's London headquarters will feature a rooftop garden and greenspace. Apple's headquarters in California include acres of green space, native trees, and walking trails. Even the Silver Spring, Maryland, municipality provided employees and local students with outdoor workspaces during the summer.

If you don't have the budget for new landscaping or a covered workspace, a few picnic tables can act as a great motivator for employees to eat lunch outside and soak up a little sunshine.



3. Collaborate With Your Local Health Advocates

Local for-profit and nonprofit organizations may be interested in sharing how their programs and services can promote a healthy lifestyle. Schedule a Wellness Wednesday and ask these health advocates to set up a table or booth.

  • public health departments
  • local governments
  • hospital systems
  • local gyms
  • health food stores
  • mental health professionals

You may be able to collaborate with these organizations and individuals to provide employees with discounted services such as reduced-cost gym memberships or healthy food subscriptions.


4. Create a Peer Mentoring Program

Encourage employees to share their talents and knowledge with a voluntary peer mentoring program. People with knowledge regarding certain aspects of healthy living are often passionate about educating others, and a work-sponsored mentoring program is the perfect platform.

Schedule opportunities for mentors to share health and fitness insights such as:

  • how to meal plan healthy dinners for your family
  • meditation and mindfulness practices
  • the benefits and basics of yoga
  • building muscle using just your body weight

Mentors can meet with colleagues in a 1-on-1 or group setting. Introverted professionals may prefer to share insight via a weekly wellness newsletter.


5. Say It With Snacks

The office breakroom has a reputation for encouraging unhealthy eating habits, with spreads of donuts and treats for every birthday. Sponsor healthy eating choices by providing a variety of fruit, low-sugar granola bars, nuts, and high-protein snacks.


6. Send Deskercise Suggestions

Once a week, send an email with suggestions of quick exercises employees can perform at their desks or workspace. Include helpful videos and resources. You may even offer to send movement reminders throughout the workday for employees who would appreciate the extra support.


7. Condition for a Cause

Appeal to individual altruism by pairing physical fitness with corporate volunteerism. Schedule fitness events with a charitable or environmental focus, such as charity fitness marathons, tree planting events, or playing basketball with students at the local Boys and Girls Club.


8. Lead By Example

Employers who truly want healthy employees don't just talk the talk-- they walk the walk. Leadership should be transparent and vocal about their commitment to healthy living. Ask managers to join Healthy Groups and block off time in their calendar for wellness activities, such as taking a mental health day or committing to a 30-minute walk after lunch.


Change Starts Now

Now is the perfect time to highlight the benefits that wellness and fitness programs offer your employees. Start planning your wellness initiatives now so you're ready for May!

Schedule a demo to learn how Terryberry can partner with your organization to run health challenges that keep your workforce healthy and happy.