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Your Team Needs a Workout ... Now

A healthy, fit workforce can yield better teamwork, smarter decisions, & higher productivity. Use these ideas to take the first step.
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For many Americans, health and fitness are at (or near) the top of the list of New Year's resolutions. But a couple weeks into January, those fitness goals are already duking it out with a pile of work and dinner plans for many people.

As a co-founder of a fitness startup that is dedicated to revolutionizing the gym, I work hard to make sure fitness and wellness are part of my company culture--regardless of the time of year. You should, too, no matter what industry you're in. Here's why.

1. Clear Heads Make the Best Decisions

Every Friday, my co-founder and I go for a run together. As two marathoners, this is an easy addition to our weekly workouts, but the important part is why we do it: Once we are on out on the road, moving our legs with our hearts pumping, our minds start to clear.

Whether it is that technological problem that seemed impossible to solve, the new market strategy, or difficult user interface challenge, we tackle our decisions with clear minds outside the office walls. A rush of endorphins, some fresh air—or, if you stay inside, the great music of a spin class—all can lead to an “Aha” moment.

2. Community Workouts Build Community

A start-up is only as good its people—but if its people don't work together as a team, you may be bypassing a foundation for success. How do you build that cohesive unit? At FITiST, we believe a team that works out together stays together. The sweat, energy, and laughter that come from our group workouts create a true team bond. And the happy hour beer is so much sweeter after.

Note: If you want people to challenge their comfort zones, go ahead and choose workouts that not everyone is good at: Some of our more humbling favorites have included Zumba classes, jumping rope, and military style boot camps.

3. Active = Healthier = More Productive

As entrepreneurs, we all spend too many hours in front of the computer. For better or worse, our lives (and those of our employees) revolve around the businesses we build—and taking care of ourselves can fall to the bottom of the list. With a never-ending list of to-dos, how can we make time to be active?

There are good financial reasons to put a priority on employee fitness. For every $1 a company puts into corporate wellness programs, $3 is saved through decreased sick days, increased worker productivity and employee retention, according to the National Business Group on Health.

So if my first two arguments have not convinced you to get moving, take a cue from all the best-in-class companies that make health a priority. Whether employees are working out at Under Armour's on-campus training center, playing a pick-up game of soccer on the perfectly groomed fields at Nike's Oregon headquarters, or taking a class with other Qualcomm employees at any of the company's 11 fitness centers, these companies make it clear that health and wellness go hand in hand with creativity and innovation.

So pick a class, get outside, put a group run on the calendar: Just get moving. You won't regret it—and neither ill your employees.

Readers: If your start-up is in either NYC or L.A., feel free to email me and I will personally arrange that first group workout for you within our FITiST network.

Last updated: Jan 11, 2012

CAROLINE LIMPERT | Columnist | Co-Founder, FITiST

Caroline Limpert is the co-founder of FITiST, the first one-stop membership and bookings platform for specialty fitness studios in NYC and LA. Before FITiST, she helped build new businesses for NY-based VC firm Tricera Partners.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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