There is no question that consistent physical activity has several health benefits, including improved physical and mental health, protection against chronic disease and overall enhanced quality of life. There is also no question that a lack of physical activity is associated with higher health care costs and utilization. With many Americans not getting the recommended levels of daily physical activity, this is troublesome to say the least—and all of the more reason why fitness should be a part of any successful health plan.

If a healthier workforce adds up to lowered claims costs, it should come as no surprise that employers and health insurance carriers alike are providing employees and subscribers incentives to get active. But with 2015 marking a shift away from one-size-fits-all workouts to flexible fitness plans, it’s important to make sure the incentives are just as flexible.

Check out some of the current trends in fitness and see how you can motivate your workforce to get moving for better health.

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – A HIIT workout alternates intense efforts with moderate efforts. Intervals typically last anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes, while the entire session can take as little as 20 minutes up to one hour. HIIT workouts can include indoor cycling, elliptical cross training, aerobic drills and strength training intervals, and can be adapted to fit many regular workout programs with minimal advance preparation.
  • Online Fitness Programs – With more people trying to find work-life balance, it is no surprise that home and on-the-go workouts have become increasingly popular. Online classes, which can be downloaded or streamed via subscription services like DailyBurn and Ballet Beautiful, allow participants to choose the intensity, level, duration and purpose of each workout—all with little to no equipment. It is a totally customized plan that can fit into any schedule, and most classes can be viewed on a phone, tablet, laptop or TV.
  • Wearable Technology – Though not a fitness program, wearable technology like Fitbit, Jawbone and others are playing an increasingly important role in peoples’ day-to-day routines. Moreover, the data this technology generates not only motivates and informs the users—it gives companies a way to reward its employees for staying active with incentives like discounts on health insurance premiums and merchandise.

Whether it is with a points-based rewards system or complimentary fitness trackers, companies are making it easier than ever for employees to adopt active lifestyles. For employees, this means improved health—both physically and financially. For employers, this means lowered claims costs and a healthier, happier workforce. Some examples include MyFitnessPal and Strava apps that allow users to track food or their exercise efforts.

For 40 years, McGohan Brabender has been simplifying the delivery of health benefits by managing risks and reducing costs. We are passionate about what we do, and we have the tools and experience to guide you through the chaos of health benefits management.