Employers vs Barriers to Exercise


a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera


Mary Beth Basu, CHC, RDN, LDN
Account Executive

Time: 2 min


What can employers do to help employees overcome barriers to health?  In my last two posts, I broke down member-reported barriers to care and healthy eating, and what employers can do to help their employees live happier healthier lives. Today, I’m going to dive into the top three barriers our members report when it comes to physical exercise: time, energy and motivation.

What can you do about employees time?

Approximately half of Pack Health members report time as a barrier to exercise. With employees spending over a third of their week at work, employers have ample opportunity to address this barrier. One way to reduce this barrier is with flexible schedule policies. This allows employees to exercise before, during, or after their workday, based on personal preference.

Another way to help employees find time for exercise is by encouraging walking meetings and exercise breaks. It’s worth noting that exercise breaks don’t have to take up too much time to be effective. Short bursts of activity are just as effective as 30+ minute sessions, and can actually improve focus and creativity!

Exercise and energy

In addition to time barriers, 58% of Pack Health members expressed a lack of energy as a barrier to exercise. The good news here: brief exercise breaks combined with adequate sleep can actually improve energy levels. To get employees on the right track, consider incorporating benefits like digital health coaching to help employees master goal setting, time management, and self-monitoring skills. These skills are the key to breaking the cycle and achieving sustainable results.

Motivation, Motivation, Motivation

Another common barrier to exercise is individual motivation, with 54% of members reporting a lack of motivation as a barrier to exercise. Environmental, structural, and communication changes can increase motivation by supporting a culture of wellness within the workplace. Environmental changes such as lighting and artwork in stairways can make exercise a more enjoyable experience. Structural and communication changes such as designated walking paths and posted signage near elevators to encourage stair use can provide a visual reminder that triggers exercise throughout the day. Design structural changes by creating walking paths, and including their route and distance along the way to provide opportunities for employees to move more. Finally, activities can be planned, such as organizing a team for a charity walk, to mobilize the team spirit and get people moving outside of the daily grind.

Stay Tuned for More!

We have a few more member-reported barriers to dig into, and I’m excited to share more practical tips to employers to minimize these barriers for employees. My next post will be on Medication Adherence – subscribe to our Perspectives series to learn more!