Newly published research in the American Journal of Health Promotion has confirmed that two separate studies that looked at how employer-sponsored fitness centers helped make employees happier and healthier resulted in unintuitive results. While those employees who used the provided fitness centers the most did become the most healthy, a consistent improvement in mental health was not always shown. The research, conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers, concluded that when it came to well being, fitness center users were often physically healthier than their colleagues yet not necessarily much happier.
The second study, which investigated motivational factors behind an employee’s desire to stick with a “health intervention” or regimen, found several features leading to longer commitment periods. These included: adding a pedometer to the workout; applying an Internet-based approach; making the workout experience more social and comfortable; and making sure health interventions were described as being no longer than six months in duration. Unfortunately, even with all the studies confirming decreased anxiety, “post-workout highs,” and increased endorphin secretion with regular exercise, there is apparently no guarantee that encouraging employees to work out will improve workplace morale.