Office wellness programs cited as path to happy, healthy workers

In a world of quick fixes—where the words “lose weight fast” bring up millions of hits in a search engine—Carol Frazey wants diet-frenzied people to slow down and think of one thing: consistency.

“Everyone is making it so complicated,” said Frazey, founder and owner of Fit School Inc. in Bellingham. “I want people to know they can live a normal life just by making tiny changes.”

Frazey publishes a weekly newsletter covering nutrition and exercise for families and grade-school children. But this summer, after seeing a chance to create a workplace-based wellness program, she expanded her company.

Fit School now offers workshops to help small-business owners and employees develop diet and workout regimens.

“I just thought that was the next component,” Frazey said. “There’s a need for wellness in the workplace. It doesn’t need to be hardcore exercise, just educating them.”

When workers are healthy, they are usually happy, according to a January 2012 survey released by the Principal Financial Group.

They are also more productive.

Two-fifths of workers among a survey group of more than 1,500 U.S. employees and retirees agreed that having a wellness program encouraged them to work harder and perform better at their jobs.

Among the survey group, 52 percent said they had more energy at work after participating in a wellness program. Another 35 percent said they had missed fewer days due to illness.

Frazey said she understands the difficulty some business owners have finding time for their employees to exercise during a busy work day.

“It is difficult to justify taking an hour out of the day,” Frazey said. “I understand that’s hard for them to justify that expense of time.”

To make the case that exercise is worth the time, Frazey said she personalizes her wellness regimens.

She can cater workout routines to fit a company’s need and schedule. She can also work one-on-one with employees to develop specific exercise or diet goals.

A healthier lifestyle, along with a company that actively supports workplace wellness, can help employees feel better and more engaged with their jobs, Frazey said. In turn, business owners with healthy workers are more likely to see drops in sick days and medical insurance costs, she said.

Her consultations are designed to help clients set realistic wellness goals and focus on the long-term benefits of exercise instead of relying on “quick fix” fitness plans. Consistency is the key, she said.

Frazey first got involved in health and wellness when she was a grade-school teacher and began noticing higher instances of obesity among young people. She said she began realizing her students needed good, factual information on nutrition and the value of exercise.

In addition to teaching, Frazey has also worked in the health care industry. She has a bachelor’s in elementary education, and a master’s in kinesiology, which is the study of human movement.

Now, as she works to spread wellness principles in the workplace, Frazey said she wants to show business owners and employees that exercise does not need to be sacrificed for the sake of a career. By following a consistent routine, workers can turn a sedentary office life into one that is both healthier and happier.

“We just need to make our work environment more active and teach people with full-time jobs that you need to make that a component of it,” she said.

Contact Evan Marczynski at or call 360-647-8805. 

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