And so it begins. With a resounding commitment from our staff of 20, we embark on the 2017 HTK Fitness Challenge we are calling Come2Play. It kicks off this month, and we are doubling down on fitness classes, food diaries, group fitness challenges and health awareness. Like they say, we are putting our money where our purpose is.

To recap, this all began last August with a 120-Day Challenge. We teamed up with XMT-3 Training, and owner Eric Franklin. If we were to be true to our purpose of creating a healthy world, we had to become a culture of wellness right here at HTK. It was a slam-dunk. Sixteen out of twenty staff members participated in the group workouts, many seeing positive results after four months.

So, why, do we invest in this?

It makes sense. Plus, the most recent Becker’s Hospital Review just published the findings of a Humana study on the success of workplace wellness programs. One number that impressed me from the study was that 91 percent of employees participating in wellness programs have improved their fitness while 89 percent said participation has improved their overall happiness and well-being. Another impressive stat: some 67 percent of employees said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals. These findings are incredible and affirming. This stuff is working and we are seeing it happen right here.

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The Humana study also talks about increased productivity and how exercise made readily available helps with stress management. The more oxygen pumping to the brain, the more creative you feel. The better you feel, the more productive you are. The better food you eat, the more stamina you have.

Do I have to go on?

Here’s even more good stuff. Chris Crowley, wellness guru and author of Younger Next Year says eating “brain food” makes him a better presenter.

The investment we made in our team’s wellness last year resulted in a very engaged group. This year, we plan to have better defined goals, both personal and company-wide. We are doing health assessments with a nurse so everyone will know their “numbers.” From there, they will make solid goals with our trainer, Eric, who will check in one-on-one every month. We are also placing more emphasis on mental wellness this year. We may offer a meditation class, improv workshops and other stress management opportunities.

We’re celebrating this new culture of wellness.

Not only is it creating productive, well employees, but outside of these walls, our staff is participating in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. They are walking and kayaking and skiing. They are becoming engaged in speaking groups and political initiatives and leadership programs.

Watch out world, here comes HTK, and we’re ready to create a much, much healthier world.