Prioritize Employee Health: 5 Apps for CEOs to Improve Workplace Fitness

Large corporations and CEOs are increasingly worried about the effects of employees’ physical fitness on workplace productivity. According to NPR, obesity costs American employers over $73 billion per year. Overweight and obese workers tend to take more sick days, visit the doctor more frequently and have a greater difficulty efficiently performing their jobs. To be proactive about employee health, some chief executives create incentive programs for fitness. Incorporating fitness apps into your workers’ everyday life can boost workplace health. Employees are browsing on cell phones anyway, why not make that time worth it.

Runtastic Pedometer

A 2004 study by researchers at Arizona State University found that people who walked more than 10,000 steps per day were considered “active” and lower risk of obesity-related illnesses. Downloading the Runtastic Pedometer (available for Blackberry, iPhone or Android devices) is a great way to track your steps. This app uses the phone's own sensors to keep track of every step you take. For example, the Blackberry Z10 has a built-in accelerometer that allows Runtastic to monitor your steps whether you're texting a friend or simply have your phone in your pocket. The app simply runs in the background without compromising your phone's performance. Plus, Runtastic has user-friendly graphical displays so you can track your progress and hit 10,000 steps each day. Consider rolling out a workplace-wide challenge to see who can maintain 10,000 steps the most days in a row.

Pocket Trainer

Unless your workplace provides fantastic gym benefits, many employees have never worked with a personal trainer. Enter the Pocket Trainer app, available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry devices. Choose from more than 400 exercises, each with a video demonstration by a certified personal trainer. This app is a great way for employees new to fitness to get active without risking injuries.

BMI Calculator

Sometimes it’s simply helpful for employees to learn more about their health status. Body mass index, or BMI, is used to determine whether an individual is overweight or obese. Simply enter your height, weight, and sex into the free BMI Calculator, available for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone. The app gives you an indication whether you’re maintaining a healthy weight. Although BMI is widely used by health professionals, it may not be an accurate reflection of health for very muscular individuals, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pocket Yoga

Yoga isn’t just about finding inner serenity. The Mayo Clinic reports practicing yoga may improve strength and flexibility, lower blood pressure and reduce stress. With the Pocket Yoga app, available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android, perfect yoga poses are just a tap away. The app offers full yoga classes tailored to your experience level. Its comprehensive dictionary of poses is a great way to improve your technique and work new muscle groups. Some employers offer a spare room for morning or mid-day yoga sessions, which leave workers feeling relaxed and ready to work more efficiently.

FitDeck Bodyweight

For some workers, making a trek to the gym just isn’t going to happen. The FitDeck Bodyweight app, available for iPhone and Blackberry, provides 50 exercises that can be done without any extra equipment. Some exercises target the whole body, while others are specific to individual muscle groups. Each exercise includes suggestions for three difficulty levels, making this a great app for beginners as well as fitness gurus. The best part? Simply shut your office door or find a private space, and you can burn extra calories on your lunch break.