SAN DIEGO, May 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Time and again, research has shown that exercise may hold the key to better physical and mental health. Yet, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most Americans don't exercise enough!
But, what if you could earn rewards for going to the gym, eating healthier foods, or making other health improvements? Employers have learned that a little extra incentive can go a long way toward motivating people to make important lifestyle changes that can enhance health. A recent workforce survey of 800 large and midsize employers, conducted by the consulting firm Aon Hewitt, found that 79 percent use rewards, such as gift cards, cash or lower insurance premiums, to encourage employees to exercise, participate in company health challenges, stop smoking or make other life changes that improve health.
Is your employer among those offering valuable wellness programs? If so, now is the time to get involved! During Global Employee Health & Fitness Month in May, Healthyroads urges employees to take advantage of the wellness programs and incentives that their employers may be offering.
"Employer health improvement programs are there for the taking," said George DeVries, CEO and chairman of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). "These kinds of no-cost or low-cost programs can help employees understand their health risks, stop smoking, reduce stress, increase exercise and improve nutrition. All employees have to do is take the first step and start participating."
Here are six ways that participation in your employer wellness program can pay off for you and your family:
- Arms you with knowledge about your health risk factors. No one wants to be surprised by a sudden health emergency. Most employers offer a free health risk assessment that can reveal areas of potential concern, and can help you understand the kinds of health improvement programs that can most benefit your health. For example, if you have risk factors for heart disease, you may want to take part in wellness programs that can help you better manage your diet, stress, blood pressure and weight. Many employers even offer financial incentives for employees who participate in a health risk assessment. So, understanding your health risks can pay off in more ways than one.
- Saves you money on gym memberships or exercise programs. Joining a gym can cost the average family hundreds of dollars each year. Fortunately, many employers today offer discounted memberships to local gyms to encourage employees to exercise. Others offer exercise rewards programs that let employees earn points toward cash, discounts or gift cards every time they exercise.
- Motivates individuals to reach their goals. Many companies organize group challenges or activities to encourage employees to exercise, lose weight or do other healthy activities together. Research shows that working with others toward a goal can help individuals stay motivated longer and reach their goals more easily than trying to go it alone. Company challenges – such as walking or weight loss challenges that offer prizes or recognition – inspire employees to get involved and be winners.
- Provides easy tracking of health accomplishments. Most wellness plans today utilize technology to help you design, customize and track your exercise program, meal plans or stress management. Wireless pedometers or body monitors can record your exercise, while mobile apps and online tools, such as educational classes and challenge updates, help you easily keep track of your progress.
- Offers health coaching at no cost. If you've struggled with smoking, weight or health issues before, you know it can be tough to stay motivated on your own. Many wellness programs offer access to a personal health coach to help you set goals, discuss problems and remain motivated. By scheduling regular telephone calls with a health coach, employees can create personalized exercise, nutrition, stop smoking or stress reduction plans that meet their individual needs.
- Encourages your spouse to participate. Many wellness programs today allow and encourage spouses to participate. Success at reaching goals can be that much greater when you and your spouse are working together to eat healthier and to exercise more. There's nothing like a little rivalry to inspire you to be better. Spousal challenges are fun and can bring the whole family closer together.
"An active and health-conscious lifestyle pays off in many ways," added DeVries. "Employee Health and Fitness Month is a great time to kick off your own health improvement program."
Healthyroads, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH), offers a wide range of population health solutions, including: the award-winning Healthyroads® telephone-based lifestyle and health coaching programs, member engagement promotion programs, program management, health risk assessments, biometric screenings, claims analytics, risk stratification, outreach, incentive management programs, competitive group challenges, worksite wellness programs and/or an integrated online wellness portal, Healthyroads.com. Healthyroads offers these programs to more than 5.7 million members nationally. For more information about Healthyroads programs, visit ASHCompanies.com or call (800) 848-3555. Follow us on Twitter at @Healthyroads, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Healthyroads, on Instagram @Healthyroads, on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/healthyroads/ and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/healthyroads.
ABOUT AMERICAN SPECIALTY HEALTH
American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) is a national health services organization that provides fitness and exercise programs, population health solutions and specialty health care programs for health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with offices in Dallas, TX, Indianapolis, IN and Columbia, SC, ASH has more than 1,000 employees and administers services for more than 32 million members nationwide. Additional products offered through ASH and its subsidiaries include Silver&Fit®, FitnessCoach™, Active&Fit®, ExerciseRewardsTM and others. Established in 1987, ASH is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more information about ASH, visit www.ASHCompanies.com or call 800-848-3555. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter at @ASHCompanies.
CONTACT: American Specialty Health Lisa Freeman 800.848.3555, ext. 3722 Direct: 310-390-3070 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source:American Specialty Health