Would You Work Out if You Were Paid?

Flickr photo by Tobyotter
If you've ever moaned that you working out is such a chore it feels like a job, you might be onto something.

Word has it a third of U.S. companies either currently offer or are planning to offer financial incentives to get their staff working out.

A healthy workforce is a happy workforce, right?

But the question is: if you can't motivate people to do it for themselves, will dangling cash in front of them make a difference?


Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, told the AP it's probably a "waste of time." 

Grim, but the studies back that up. Most have found little weight loss in the employees and a cost to benefit ratio that's lacking.

But when groups like the AARP rate the "best employers," employer-funded exercise programs are often one of the criteria.

So what's the problem? Maybe because obese and overweight people hate going to the gym not because they're lazy but because they feel uncomfortable.

And maybe all the financial benefits in the world don't counteract birthday cakes in the break room and a soda machine in the lobby. Also hurting American employees? The sheer amount of time we spend at our desks, sedentary.

So how about leaving the pay the way it is -- and cutting workers loose a little earlier to run around the backyard with their kids, maybe hit the gym before the daycare closes?

Would you prefer extra free time or extra pay?


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