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Posted: January 16, 2014

No biz is too small for on-site fitness

Small business owners are often known for running themselves ragged and working long hours. They may not have the time, never mind the inclination, to keep fit. But just like large companies with their own on-site fitness facilities, any small business – be it with one employee or 100 – can reap great benefits by having a healthy work force.


The pluses are just too good to turn down – greater productivity, reduced employee absence, and reduced turnover.


Even a sole proprietor who works from home can keep fit. They don’t have to join a gym, hire a personal trainer, or take fitness classes. Believe it or not, you can have your very own home gym for less than $200, and all you need is 200 square feet of space. The required equipment is as follows:


• Work bench – $100
• 2-3 sets of dumbbells – $50
• Stability ball – $15
• Exercise mat – $25.


Likewise, if you’re running a small business in an office building, chances are you can also have an on-site facility with minimal cost and trouble. For example, a decent fitness facility can be established for under $10,000, and that cost will be more than offset by reduced absenteeism, as well as reduced costs for short-term and long-term disability.


Think about that.


I have found that most offices have unused room and space; all you need for a fitness area is 1,000 square feet. Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga is a huge organization with a staff of 4,700 people and over 1 million square feet of space, but it also has an on-site fitness facility – that never closes – and it occupies only 1,700 square feet.


Remember that anyone can benefit from a daily 30-minute workout, and it can be as simple as a brisk walk or jog on a treadmill while you read a report. This is why a growing number of organizations have treadmills that allow people to read or work while on the machine.


You might want help figuring out a good workout routine. Fees to hire a trainer for short, long-term or a one-off training session vary greatly based on the trainers level of experience and qualifications. You can find a trainer at a local recreation centre or even at some of the known gym chains for a one-off session for anywhere between $25 to $60. But you need to be careful, as you’re more then likely to get an inexperienced trainer. Qualified and experienced career trainers even for a one-off charge anywhere between $75 to $150 per hour.


According to the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute only one-fifth of small businesses in Canada currently offer fitness or physical activities for their people. There is no reason why small business can’t do a better job of having healthy, fit employees.


In the long run, it’s a sound investment.


Michael Amernic is a personal trainer with corporate clients who also offers individual training for business people. He can be reached at