The way we work out is changing. Technology makes it possible to watch movies, order meals, even rent bikes on our own terms, and people increasingly expect their fitness options to be just as easy. Enter on-demand, virtual fitness.
The demand for virtual fitness is booming. In the United States alone, the virtual fitness market is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2022. Whether people are too intimidated to go to the gym, have difficulty finding time in their schedules to attend a class, or have difficulty finding classes that fit their needs — virtual fitness makes it easy for them to engage over time.
Employers are increasingly realizing the value of investing in employee health and the benefits of keeping employees physically active. Lack of physical activity contributes to numerous health risks, which can lead to increased healthcare costs and lost productivity. Physical activity has also been found to have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. For example, it’s been estimated that employees who are in poor health are twice as likely as their healthier coworkers to be disengaged from work.
On-demand, virtual fitness is an option that can be more affordable than establishing an on-site gym, and with 35 percent of employees working remotely, on-demand fitness allows employers to offer the workouts to more employees.
Keys to success for employers
As would-be fitness fanatics increasingly turn to apps to help tone their abs, what should employers know to ensure success? Here are a few tips.
1. Make it personal. It’s a simple concept: People will be more likely to exercise if they find a workout that appeals to them. The best on-demand options offer classes for a wide range of interests — from cycling to yoga to kickboxing, to mom-and-baby fitness or simple stretching.
2. Make it flexible. People come in all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. Make sure classes work even if your employees aren’t super fit. Even better, look for something that offers users a natural progression from wherever they start to higher levels of fitness.
3. Make it accessible. The whole point of virtual fitness is that people can take part anytime and anywhere. Look for programming that makes classes available online from a desktop or laptop computer and on both Android and iOS-based smartphones or tablets. This allows employers to make fitness available during lunchtime in the break room, while also giving employees access to short exercises they can do during a break at their desks or even on the road.
4. Make it trackable. Virtual fitness programming can be integrated into your benefits portal to allow for tracking of wellness incentive points. This encourages employees to track their progress and to create a virtual community that encourages the success of all its members.
Today’s workforce is tech savvy, and that dynamic is only going to become more prevalent. Using mobile devices or apps to give employees what they need to balance life and work will continue to be a smart move for employers.