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Even during the economic slowdown, corporate fitness and wellness programs survived relatively unscathed as more employers realize that an investment now in these programs could pay off later.
Most of the corporate requests for proposals for fitness management services these days go to a handful of larger companies that specialize in this space, says Mike Flanagan, CEO and president of Chicago-based LifeStart Wellness Network, itself one of the larger corporate fitness management companies with 21 corporate clients. Other companies include Proactive Partners, Plus One Health Management (based in New York), HealthFitness Corp. (based in Minneapolis), Advantage Health (based in Bloomington, MN), L&T Health and Fitness (based in Falls Church, VA) and Club One (based in San Francisco).
But, Flanagan says, opportunity still exists for fitness companies large and small that are looking at expansion in underserved corporate markets. High Impact Health & Fitness Services, Leominster, MA, is one such smaller company. Stephen Holt, president of the corporate fitness and wellness company, says High Impact Health & Fitness Services, which has six clients, has seen more interest in wellness programming among his corporate clients, all of whom want to reduce their companies’ health care costs.
“We identify the major employee health risks and develop comprehensive strategies to reduce these health concerns, thus potentially driving down their health care utilization,” Holt says.
Some individual club operators who already offer corporate fitness programs also are reporting an upward trend in that part of their business.
“Participation has maintained healthy growth since the recession of 2008, and [we are] looking forward to future exponential growth,” says Michael Smith, director of Weston Fitness, a health club that caters to the corporate market in downtown Philadelphia. “Our corporate wellness initiative is based on developing long-term win/win partnerships to increase the overall health and wellness of Philadelphia. With fostering a health-conscious environment, both Weston Fitness and the partnering companies benefit financially. Companies are beginning to understand that investing in prevention is less expensive than spending on the cure.”