By Shawn Slevin
Swim Strong Foundation
I’m sure you know that a healthy employee is a more productive employee. The research is clear: healthy employees lower costs, improve workplace safety and improve productivity. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure and helps prevent chronic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. And regular exercise also improves mental acuity by improving concentration, enhancing creativity, sharpening memory and lowering stress.
Swimming is great exercise and one of the most beneficial activities people can do, regardless of age. It is a total-body, low-impact work that has cardio-pulmonary and skeletal-friendly benefits. As a self-paced, total-body workout, people of all ages and physical abilities can benefit from swimming.
“There’s no question that a healthier workforce correlates to a more productive and efficient workforce,” according to Henry Petrie, president of Benefits Optimization LLC. “From a hard dollar cost perspective, one major study of a 25,000 person population that went on for seven years showed that on average, an overweight employee (BMI>30) had about a $250 more in actual health care claims cost than employees with a healthy weight (BMI>26). Significantly overweight employees represented nearly $500 per month in additional cost.”
In addition to the physical and mental benefits of swimming, those who embrace swimming at a competitive level also learn skills that transcend the pool to benefit them in life and business. Competitive swimming requires a laser-like focus that helps to build skills such as self-discipline, goal setting, commitment, teamwork, perseverance, resiliency, organizational and leadership skills.
Some of the lessons I learned as a competitive swimmer that have helped me in business:
• Good results come over time with training, practice and patience;
• You can achieve great results if you can harness the motivational power of a team;
• Creating clear goals helps motivate you to achieve them;
• Nothing comes easily and you need to be nimble with multiple backup plans to achieve the results you want; and
• If everyone individually does their best, the team benefits by a better result.
For these reasons and more, your company should embrace swimming as a core component of your wellness program. Learn more at swimstrongfoundation.org.