Now for the bad news: Americans’ exercise habits are falling into the typical cold weather downward spiral. The percentage of adults exercising frequently declined to 51.6% in October, from 54.9% in September -- and down from the 2012 high of 55.3% in July. This seasonal slump happens every year -- including 2012, when Americans appear to be exercising more than ever.
That more Americans are exercising frequently in 2012 is a positive indicator. One that may point to progress, but leaders -- especially those in the workplaces -- should take note of and action on Americans’ winter healthy habit hiatus.
Poor health -- including an unhealthy weight and the related chronic conditions like high blood pressure that can result from a lack of exercise, not to mention over-consumption (cue the office holiday party) -- reduces Americans’ quality of life and costs workplaces billions of dollars. In fact, Gallup has found that unhealthy workers miss an additional 450 million days of work each year compared with healthy workers -- costing the U.S. an estimated $153 billion annually in lost productivity. Healthy employees are less likely to miss work and are more engaged when they are there, which is why it is important for employers to encourage workers to maintain healthy habits, especially over the fall and winter months.
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