Sitting Is the New Smoking Get Your Team Moving.
By Larry Mogelonsky
Friday, 24th October 2014

A healthy staff means a healthy business, the numbers show that healthy, more active employees have lower health claims, are more productive, take less sick days per year and are less likely to quit.

While there’s lots of data to support these claims, getting into an exercise groove is still quite intimidating. I’m of the belief that physical activity and proper nutrition can not only improve energy levels during office hours, but also elevate mood, brainpower and overall life satisfaction.

To help elucidate what hotels can do to help their employees get on the right track, I’ve recruited Martha Switzer (right), CEO and Co-Founder of Sprout At Work, a company that is at the forefront of self-directed employee fitness programs.

You use the line ‘sitting is the new smoking’. What does it mean?
People are spending more and more hours in front of their computers and it’s killing them. Over the past couple of years, prolonged sitting has emerged as a new health issue. Stats reveal that hours of uninterrupted sitting can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other conditions. This has sent a clear message to corporations that, for their employees, sitting is the new smoking.

What are your thoughts on ‘activity balance’ in a hotel environment?
Sitting all day is harmful no matter how fit and active you are. Activity balance means that you have to track nutrition, lifestyle, stress-management and lifestyle-related activities which are all essential to optimal wellness. And the healthier we are, the more productive and happier we are " both at work and at home.

For many of the group meetings that are held at hotels, delegates can spend upwards of eight hours in the confines of a meeting room. What can hotels do?
Try walking meetings! A few of the things we endorse are stretch breaks, squat breaks, quick bursts of activity, deep breathing exercises to re-oxygenate the brain and fun ice breakers. Additionally, having water, fruit and other healthy snacks available are better for energy levels and keep employees alert longer.

What can hotels do to empower individuals to achieve their wellness goals?
Hotels can help employees achieve their wellness goals regardless of what stage they are at. If an employee is only considering making a healthy change, a hotel can definitely help them get started in a fun and engaging way. It’s all about baby steps. For those more active employees, a hotel can help them with goal setting, tracking, social recognition and encouragement to ensure that they stick with it over time.

Do you have any measurable results?
Today’s employees tend to work more and are less active. For employers, this means higher costs through more sick days, lower productivity and turnover. We track trended data from corporations who have embraced our fitness programs. The results are impressive:

  • 88% of employees were more physically active
  • 85% were more satisfied with their workplace culture

Why should I as a hotel manager care about exercise programs?
A healthy employee is a happy employee, and a more productive one. A commitment to wellness has a positive effect on employee satisfaction, and helps with everything from recruitment to retention.

What more could you add?
The whole approach to corporate wellness is currently being revolutionized on a global basis. The key is that a hotel must integrate and measure wellness directly within the workplace and motivate employees to drive a culture that prioritizes their health and well-being. You have to keep it simple, engaging and results-oriented.


In a marketing career that spans 30+ years, Larry has accumulated a wealth of experiences: from shampoo and toothpaste; salty snacks to disposable diapers; and luxury resorts to real estate. His expertise and personal thumbprint can be seen in marketing strategies and communications throughout North America. Prior to his consulting and advertising agency career, Larry gained business training/insight through a seven-year stint in marketing for Procter & Gamble and two years with PepsiCo. Joining Bozell Advertising, then Palmer Bonner, as an Account Director, Larry found himself as Management Supervisor for the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts as well as several service-sector businesses. It was here that Larry recognized the opportunity to apply the familiar strategic marketing disciplines honed in the package goods industry, that are often somewhat foreign to service industries.

In 2013, Larry was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds” by HSMAI. Twenty-three years ago, Larry formed LMA Communications Inc., with the specific goal of directing service industries in their quest for business enhancements through marketing differentiation. Services are provided in five primary disciplines: Internet, advertising, social media, public relations and consulting. Hiring exclusively at the entry level, the Company prides itself in its training programs for young employees. - See more at: www.lma.ca

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