Every organization leader in America should sign the CEO Pledge for Physical Activity, says IHRSA President & CEO Liz Clark, and she hopes IHRSA members will lead by example.
“I am proud to sign the CEO Pledge because I believe it’s the right thing to do for the IHRSA team, IHRSA members, our communities, and our nation,” says Liz. “I encourage every IHRSA member, partner, and vendor to join me, and I look forward to IHRSA promoting the pledge to industry stakeholders throughout 2023.”
The Pledge, launched in late October, is a signature initiative of the Physical Activity Alliance, which counts IHRSA, ACE, ACSM, California Fitness Alliance, Move to Live More, Myzone, and NASM among its board members.
The goal of the Pledge is to impact at least 10 million American workers and fundamentally transform the workplace culture of the nation—from a culture that exacerbates the inactivity crisis to a culture that embraces physical activity and healthy movement.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) about 110,000 deaths could be prevented if U.S. adults increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by even 10 minutes per day. Inactivity is also costly—inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.
“Today’s workforce faces an unprecedented mix of challenges, and organizations are struggling to keep and attract talent,” explains CEO Pledge spokesperson, Jack Groppel, Ph.D., a co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. ”By signing the Pledge, senior leaders are not only sending a powerful message about workplace culture, but also providing employees with invaluable benefits that are particularly relevant to today’s workforce, including improved mental health, improved physical health, increased capacity for productivity, enhanced creativity, and reduced sedentary behavior.”
All Leaders Should Promote Physical Activity & Healthy Lifestyles
The Pledge is not just for CEOs. Executive directors, presidents, managing directors, deans, and other organization leaders are also encouraged to sign.
The benefits of increased physical activity are significant and impactful. Exercise prevents excessive weight gain or helps control weight loss, instantly improves mood, boosts energy, and helps to prevent and manage many health conditions, including:
- high blood pressure,
- depression and anxiety,
- metabolic syndrome,
- type 2 diabetes, and more.
Those who sign the Pledge make it an obligation to advance physical activity and improve overall health and wellness. Specifically, the Pledge reads::
“In support of our organization, our employees, our families, and our communities, I pledge to adopt strategies that will provide equitable opportunities for physical activity and healthy movement before, during or after the workday and to enhance my own health and wellness by engaging in regular physical activity.”
Once signed, there are three components to fulfilling the CEO Pledge for Physical Activity:
- Adopt at least three strategies that will provide equitable opportunities for physical activity and healthy movement before, during, or after the workday.
- Personally engage in regular physical activity—whatever works for the signer.
- Sign up to be part of Active People, Healthy Nation. This CDC initiative aims to help 27 million Americans become more active by 2027. The Pledge signer is welcome to designate a representative to sign up for Active People, Healthy Nation.
When it comes to developing or launching strategies to create a supportive work environment and culture for physical activity, there’s three significant categories to explore:
- Environment: establishing various programs that include physical activity or to learn about healthy living. For example, hosting on-site virtual fitness classes, installing secure bike racks, investing in “active office” furniture such as stand up desks, and organizing activity challenges.
- Staff Policy: instituting new policies and offering incentives or reimbursement for those choosing to be physically active and engaging in healthy lifestyles. Reimbursing staff for purchasing exercise equipment, awarding gift certificates to those who hit physical activity goals, and subsidizing fitness facility membership costs.
- Systems: promoting more movement and providing knowledge and the means to be active. Sending notifications, or nudges, for employees to be active, providing education on healthy living and reducing sedentary behavior, provide wearable fitness trackers for employees to see real time results and track their progress.
We call on all leaders to sign the Pledge and use the social media toolkit to easily promote it to their peers. What’re you waiting for? Let’s practice what we preach.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.