Health & Wellness Goes Beyond Nutrition & Exercise … and It’s a Growth Industry

from Laurie McCartney

Health & Wellness Goes Beyond Nutrition & Exercise … and It’s a Growth Industry

There is a shift toward more interest around health and wellness in our society, which is serving as an opportunity to make the future of work more beneficial for both employees and employers. Finding ways to better serve employees by making them healthier and happier — whether it’s with flexible work hours, mental health services, on-site fitness classes or expanded healthcare offerings — helps produce better work results and leads to company-wide success. 

It makes sense that when people are healthier — both mentally and physically — they’re able to give their best at work. Also, we’ve found that when companies show genuine compassion toward their employees’ overall wellness, it helps build trust, reduce employee turnover and create stronger teams.

Along with the greater emphasis Individuals and organizations are placing on health and overall wellness is the growing realization that health is more than just nutrition and exercise regimens; it requires addressing movement, nutrition, mental and emotional well-being, regeneration, and recovery — which Ascend has made the focus of our new wellness curriculum. Stress and anxiety are becoming an epidemic that is affecting individuals’ overall health and can’t always be resolved with a healthier diet and exercise alone. In fact, 91% of Gen Z-ers have reported physical or psychological issues due to stress, so it’s becoming very clear that we have to address people’s mental state in order to help them achieve better health. 

And this landscape has also fostered business opportunity. As younger generations invest more in their health than ever while simultaneously moving away from the traditional work model in favor of entrepreneurship, wellness coaching has emerged as a viable option. Wellness coaches can create for themselves a flexible and purpose-driven career, and our increasingly health-focused population gains a customized, holistic approach to cultivating a better quality of life.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine has been the leader in training fitness professionals for 35 years and has created a variety of courses on corrective exercise, nutrition, weight loss, performance and more. But we realized the importance of digging deeper to address true wellness, which is why we launched a course for the growing number of wellness coaches. Our trainers and coaches saw that many individuals struggle with maintaining a proper exercise and nutrition regime, which then leads to increased stress levels and an overall poor physical and mental state. Addressing overall wellness by making changes to sleep patterns, recovery protocols and other aspects of one’s health can help combat these problems.

Companies should prioritize the health and wellness of their teams, and ensure they’re providing employees with the wellness benefits that mean the most to them. Whether it’s an informal team meeting where everyone can voice their opinions or a more formal survey, it’s important to incorporate employee feedback into a company’s health and wellness offerings to ensure it’s effective. Since mental and emotional wellness is becoming more important to employees, getting creative to find perks and initiatives that boost these aspects of wellness to provide as options to employees is beneficial and helps build trust in an organization. For example, at NASM, we offer a variety of fitness and wellness-related perks, like an on-site gym and online fitness and meditation classes. We are also encouraging human resources professionals to educate themselves about wellness through courses like our wellness coaching certification, so they can better understand how to support their employees.

Laurie McCartney is president of Ascend Learning’s Fitness and Wellness segment, where she oversees the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), ActiveIQ and ClubConnect. Through its certification programs and continuing education services, Ascend Learning’s Fitness and Wellness brands have educated more than 1,400,000 fitness professionals who are transforming lives in more than 100 countries.

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