Written by Toni Sperlbaum
When you think of the term “wellness program”, the first thing that often comes to mind when it comes to programming are diet and exercise. More and more, however, we are seeing a more whole-person wellness movement in the field which includes not only diet and exercise, but many other factors such as financial wellness, stress management, ergonomics, spiritual wellness, and much more.
September is National Yoga Month, which means it’s the perfect time to offer onsite yoga classes at your facility or at least provide local resources and information to your members. Luckily, yoga hits two birds with one stone. Many yogis see their practice as their own personal escape, connecting deeply to their core values and philosophy. It also combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and stress relief. Seventy seven percent of people report regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and those who participate in yoga report reducing stress levels.
Outside of the mental benefits, no one can deny that yoga is a better workout than seems to those who haven’t done it before! Not only does it improve flexibility, strength, and muscle tone, one 2011 study showed that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care in adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain. What this means for your health plan is less doctor or physical therapy visits! It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve respiration and energy, and reduce cardiovascular disease. It’s really a win-win.
If you’re not a big fan of yoga, or feel you are unable to host a class onsite for whatever reason, I encourage you to put out a Deep Breathing, Meditation, at-home yoga challenge to your members, or even a Lunch & Learn seminar regarding some of these topics. As you can see from the few benefits I sited above (there are many more!), mental and emotional wellness are just as important as diet and exercise. That makes healthier, happier, more productive, and lower cost employees.