Employee Wellness Programs for Physical Activity can Reduce Healthcare Costs ​​

Victoria Davis

Promoting physical activity amongst your employees is so important.

But, why?

Creating a safe and supporting environment for your employees to prioritize their physical activity is important for creating a company culture that encourages wellness.

Your inactive employees could also be costing you and your health plan thousands of dollars per year compared to their more active counterparts.

In this post, we will examine the financial impact of physical inactivity on health plans and companies, and what you can do about it.

Let’s Start with the Facts

Percent of Healthcare Costs of Common Risk Factors

Promoting Physical Activity Saves Lives

  • Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death globally.
  • Many chronic diseases share common behavioral risk factors such as tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, obesity, and alcohol use. 
  • Up to 80% of heart diseases, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating those shared risk factors, according to estimations.
  • When it comes to fitness, only 23% of US adults meet the federal physical activity guidelines.

Promoting Physical Activity Saves Money

  • Physical inactivity is directly responsible for $333 billion in health care costs
  • 70% of the $3 trillion we spend on healthcare is due to unhealthy lifestyles.   
  • Eating the wrong kinds of foods, not moving around enough, using tobacco, or having other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors all contribute to the money spent on unnecessary healthcare costs.

Simplifying the Numbers

According to the CDC*, “Each inactive employee costs his/her employer, on average, an additional $1,313 dollars per year over more physically active employees.

But, we are going to show you how you can help your employees by providing solutions to help support them and become physically active.

*In this study, inactive employees were those who completed between 0 and 150 minutes of activity per week, whereas active employees completed more than 150 minutes per week.

As we expand to risk factors that are attributed to unhealthy behavior, the increase in health care expenditures is even more staggering. 

So, how can you determine ROI of health and fitness benefits?

We’ve created a formula that will help you calculate ROI when making a decision to invest in health and fitness benefits.

This formula combines data from publicly available research and the costs associated with each inactive employee, the number of physically inactive employees in the population, and how many we believe we can move to become more physically active. 

Introducing, the Sworkit Formula for Health (and in our case, Fitness) Benefits for ROI:

[AFR] x ([NPE] x [AIP] x [APPTA] x [APPC]) = [Financial Risk Reduction]

AFR = Additional Financial Risk of inactive employee vs active $1,313*
NPE = Number of Participating Employees
AIP = Average Inactive Population (27%)**
APPC = Average Participants Per Company (35%)***
APTA = Average Participants that Transition to Active (73%)***

Example Financial Risk Reduction for a company with 100 employess
$1,313 x 1000 x 27% x 35% x 73% = $90,577.31

Average ROI for Sworkit = 3.5:1

***Proprietary to Sworkit, as reported by our company usage data

Why is Physical Activity so important in saving lives and money?

  • It can serve as both a preventative and a rehabilitative function for reducing the impact of musculoskeletal conditions
  • It can dramatically improve your ability to maintain a healthy weight and maintain lean body mass
  • Physical activity, in addition to modest weight loss, have been shown to lower Type 2 diabetes risk by up to 58% in high-risk populations
  • Regular exercise can reduce the risk of stroke by 25-30%
  • It can reduce symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, which matters since 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in any given year. –

Why should companies and health systems get involved in individual wellness?

The more hybrid the workplace becomes (people wanting to work remotely), the more people will not only want, but will require access to fitness benefits like this to stay fit, healthy, and happy. 

New trends and data show that employees are now picking jobs that pay for and provide wellness benefits. Now, it makes more sense than ever to invest in customizable wellness solutions, especially pertaining to fitness.

Additionally, when leadership begins to utilize wellness tools and view wellness as a necessity, it not only becomes a part of the culture from the top down, it impacts everyone’s lifestyle, which in turn positively impacts ROI.

Happier, healthier employees = more energy, increased productivity, fewer sick days, and less turnover overall!

What does a digital health solution like Sworkit offer?

Sworkit’s home workout program helps you fit a solid, targeted workout into whatever free time you have available. Simply choose the kind of routine you want—strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching—and enter the number of minutes you have. Sworkit provides an efficient, video-guided, precision-timed workout.

Providing access to a digital-physical activity program like Sworkit can greatly reduce common barriers to exercise, such as environment, cost, time, accessibility, and motivation. Investing in the creation of sustainable, convenient exercise habits is critical to our longevity.

Sworkit also believes it is important that as organizations, we take care of those in our communities and we want to help create encouraging environments for all to find a love for movement. 

Sworkit fitness challenges increase engagement in physical activity by 25% on average!

This is because Sworkit Fitness Challenges are:

  • Accessible for every level of fitness experience.
  • A way to create healthy, supporting competition for isolated or remote workers to feel connected.
  • They’re incredibly fun!

Click here to see some client case studies that show the positive impact of company-wide, data-centered, fitness challenges.

Opportunities for Self-Insured Companies and Health Plan Systems to Partner with Sworkit

At Sworkit, we build opportunities and offer corporate fitness solutions for both existing Health Plans and Self-Insured Providers.

In 2021, we launched an initiative called, Sworkit Health which is an opportunity for Sworkit to have an even more direct impact on Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Diseases. Working closely with partners and expanding the research of our own programs will ensure even greater reach for our vision and mission to make the world a significantly healthier place for all generations.

Learn more about Sworkit Health Offerings

Ready to save your company money and help your employees?

Book a demo at, and we’ll talk to you soon!



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