0 Comments | Apr 20, 2010

The Missing Wellness Link: FUN

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Wellness. Why do eyes glaze over and people suddenly have to be somewhere else when you bring up the topic?

Because it isn’t fun! Nobody wants to hear exhortations to get more exercise and eat healthier. Folks know it already. And there’s only one reason they’re not living a healthier lifestyle right now: they’re not ready to commit.

As someone who has made difficult, even painful lifestyle adjustments for the sake of health and wellness, I’m here to testify that positive lifestyle change only occurs when people decide they’re ready for a positive lifestyle change. While the wellness message from management might be just the nudge a few people are looking for, it likely won’t be the voice of inspiration for most of your staff. Personal sacrifice accompanies personal commitment, and not much else substitutes effectively when it comes to making positive lifestyle and health changes.

But that doesn’t mean your wellness program is doomed to fail. An easy and inexpensive way to ramp up your effectiveness is to make wellness more fun.

Here are four quick tips to help your employees get more active—and become healthier, more productive, better rested, and more excited about working for you. They’re really not that expensive, and they’re each designed to bring back the fun factor:

  1. Have an active sports league for each season of the year. While sports injuries do occur on occasion, their extent, duration, and cost are nowhere near those resulting from diseases associated with stress. And you’ll be surprised who comes out of the woodwork for softball season!
  2. Introduce functional fitness. The idea positions fitness as a sport, and employees compete with themselves for better performance on a daily basis. There’s a ton of high-quality, empirically based fitness information available at It’s amazing what a little bit of competition will do to motivate higher levels of performance, and the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve set a new personal record is fantastic intrinsic incentive.
  3. Make sure employees take all of their time off. Stress is widely recognized as a cause of micro-inflammation, which leads to a host of serious and costly maladies. And just having your folks take all of their vacation time is among the simplest—and cheapest—methods to reduce stress-induced employment costs, absenteeism, health care costs, and turnover.
  4. Help staff make the most of their time off with a Vacation Wellness™ membership benefit. Give them access to premium fun-in-the-sun destinations at deeply discounted prices, and you won’t have to twist anyone’s arm to get them started on some serious productivity-enhancing rest and relaxation.

Wellness doesn’t need to be all work and no play. If you make a commitment to adding some enjoyment to your wellness program, you might be surprised at who becomes a regular at your wellness events.