6 Ways Sports Help Improve Employee Wellness

employee wellness programs

Sporting events draw people in. The Super Bowl, for example, attracts more than 111 million viewers worldwide every year. The FIFA World Cup outperformed this in 2018 with a whopping 3.572 billion global audience.

Despite this, many corporate events rarely have sports incorporated in them. It’s time that this changed.

Aside from encouraging participation, sports also enhance company activities, so that the link between physical activity and workplace productivity is maximized.

A company event can only be considered successful if it achieves its primary goals, and for most corporate gatherings, these goals include enhancing camaraderie and teamwork. But there is one more thing that these events help foster: employee wellness.

Not sure how sports can help your employees become healthier? Below are six benefits workers get from participating in sports events:

Stress reduction

Exercise is considered one of the most effective ways to deal with stress. This is an idea that research from the Harvard Medical School supports.

Based on their studies, exercise – aerobic exercise, to be more precise — helps maintain and improve a person’s mental well being. While looking for a neuro chemical basis for this, scientists determined that exercise helps reduce stress hormone levels, particularly cortisol and adrenaline. It was also found to stimulate the production of endorphins, hormones that aid in pain relief and elevate one’s mood.

In the workplace, this translates to fewer working days lost to work-related stress and anxiety. So, if you wish to look after your employees’ health, consider organizing a sports initiative. Not only does it offer a welcome break from the hustle-and-bustle of daily work, but it also helps your staff blow off steam.

Enhanced happiness

You might be asking yourself: What is the value of keeping my employees happy?

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Aside from the fact that happy employees help foster a positive work environment, they also work 12 percent more productively compared to those who aren’t.

Based on a study from the University of Warwick, happier workers tend to use time more efficiently. This means that they can increase their pace while completing their tasks without having to sacrifice the quality of their output.

Some factors that affect worker happiness include:

  • Comfortable working conditions;
  • Adequate remuneration; and
  • Benefits, in addition to a sufficient salary.

But these are just the obvious ones. One more thing that companies tend to overlook is genuine care for employee health.

That said, this should go beyond providing subsidies for health insurance. Companies should also consider helping their people avoid a sedentary lifestyle by organizing sporting events (e.g., annual tournaments, team building events, etc.) that encourage them to engage in physical activities more often.

Increased motivation

Another thing that comes from feeling happier and less stressed at work is increased motivation. In fact, a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal revealed that employees who are satisfied at work are twice as productive and five times more likely to complete a task before leaving work.

Sports is an excellent way to boost employee motivation. Aside from helping them stay physically active, regular corporate sporting events also give colleagues something fun to look forward to. It also has the added perk of improving teamwork and communication that help people become more successful.

Improved posture

When working eight to ten hours daily, a person’s posture is often compromised. This is especially true for those in a traditional office setup where they stay seated at their desks while hunched in front of their computers throughout the day.

Your posture affects more than your muscles and skeleton. According to experts, a person’s body posture makes various adjustments to other organ functions. It also results in:

  • Headaches (i.e., cervicogenic headaches)
  • Digestive problems
  • Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Sleep issues
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When your employees engage in sports, they get to stretch their bodies and prevent their posture from deteriorating.

Mental clarity

Aside from its benefits to workers’ physical fitness, exercise and sports also help improve mental clarity and focus.

Based on research published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, people who engage in sports and physical activities regularly exhibit consistent mental clarity and energy regardless of the amount of work they are given. In fact, it was found that systemic physical activities help rejuvenate the mind, which means that a busy worker’s thought process will stay free of distractions if they engage in sports every once in a while.

Better sleep

Sports and other forms of physical activities also help foster good quality sleep. When employees engage in sports, they fall asleep faster and deeper. And with good sleep comes a better mental outlook upon waking up.

Just remember not to schedule sports and other strenuous physical activities too late in the day as evening exercises tend to leave people too energized to fall asleep.

Why go with sports?

While there are plenty of options to choose from, team building and other corporate activities will always be better with sports. Consider the reasons listed in this article to determine whether incorporating sports in your corporate events is the right choice.

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