Exercise and wellness programs are no longer seen solely at your neighborhood gym. These programs are also beginning to boom in the workplace and at medical centers, hospitals and fitness centers. The increasing costs of treatment for preventable diseases has led to this recent surge in programming. Many entities now offer exercise programs ranging from basic weightlifting classes to boot camp-style training and yoga. The wellness component includes weight management, healthy eating and stress-reduction skills.
Although many companies offer a wellness program as part of their benefits package, exercise programs are a bit different. Exercise programs provide direct guidance and supervision of a well-designed exercise regime, usually implemented by a certified professional. While some companies may provide lunchtime yoga classes, others may offer group training for an upcoming obstacle course or 5K race. Medical centers and hospitals typically offer programs on a contract basis or in consideration of a doctor's recommendation. A community center may recruit the general public to join a regular exercise program to increase the awareness of the importance of physical activity.
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Wellness programs are a bit more common in the workplace and in the medical setting. Wellness programs may range from a few monthly meetings to a full-scale working department within a company, school or hospital system. Organizations that recognize the importance of employee wellness hire trained professionals to design and implement various classes on health, nutrition, weight loss and stress management. Communities may hold free, monthly events, which are open to the public. These events often include health professionals who conduct wellness exams, including blood pressure and cholesterol screenings and weight consultations.
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Employers and medical professionals are beginning to recognize the link between health and proficiency on the job. To provide employees with an optimal work environment that will encourage work output, many employers provide free exercise and wellness programs to their employees. Many organizations offer perks and incentives for regular attendance at these programs. Some organizations may contract with local fitness centers and medical facilities for consulting services and programming.
What's Included: Exercise Programs
Exercise programs may differ based on who is providing the service, but they generally include group fitness classes, boot camps, various aerobics, cycle classes and strength-training sessions. Smaller companies may only be able to provide programs that require little to no equipment such as yoga or boot camps held outdoors at a local park. Medical systems and fitness centers can provide clients with a more comprehensive program because of the accessibility to equipment and resources.
What's Included: Wellness Programs
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Wellness programs are typically easier to develop and implement. Even a small organization has the ability to offer a comprehensive wellness program. Because limited equipment is needed, wellness programs rely more on education and other resources. These might include a guest speaker from the local farmers market or local fitness center and classes on weight management and stress reduction. Registered dieticians and other professionals may volunteer their time to present. Periodically, medical staff conduct health screenings. If a wellness program is implemented within a medical or hospital system, the quality and nature of the program will be more comprehensive.
Wellness programs are typically more common than exercise programs. Wellness programs are easier to develop and require less time and money to implement. Although wellness programs are very extensive in nature, large quantities of equipment are not needed. Exercise programs are a bit more time consuming to develop and produce. A certified professional must monitor the progress of clients, ensuring that no one is injured. The equipment needed to sustain a large-scale exercise program is costly and requires space for working out. Similarly, wellness and exercise programs focus on the health and well-being of the individual. Both programs promote longevity and a continued healthy lifestyle.
- Arizona State University School of Nutrition and Health Promotion: Exercise and Wellness Programs
- United State Department of Labor: Fact Sheet: The Affordable Care Act & Wellness Programs
- South Shore Hospital: Rehabilitation Services Community Exercise Programs
- American Diabetes Association: On-the-job Exercise Programs May Pay Off
A Texas native currently living in Florida, Hannah Morgan has a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science and a Master of Health Education. She is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. Her writing contributions focus primarily on preventive health and fitness related topics.