Incorporate Health-Focused Team-Building Activities
One of the best ways to tie health and fitness into meetings is through team-building activities. While planners can always offer yoga sessions and other programs at the meeting venue, they can also take the opportunity to explore some of the surrounding attractions in the area, from herbal classes at a nearby farm to food labs where attendees work with a local chef to create a healthy dish. Group hikes can present an invigorating challenge as well, giving attendees a chance to see some of the region’s natural highlights.
“Some people may be intimidated at the idea of hikes, but it’s more approachable with peers because you can pair off with somebody at your ability level,” said Mahoney.
Take the Meeting Outdoors
By choosing a scenic outdoor venue, planners can add a refreshing backdrop to their event while giving attendees easy access to engaging group activities. In Dupage County just outside Chicago, Illinois, many corporate groups take their events to the beautiful 26,000-acre Forest Preserve District, which regularly hosts seminars, conferences, luncheons and receptions.
“Our Forest Preserve is a big part of our health and wellness initiatives,” said Roach. “We really encourage meeting groups to get outside the traditional meeting space and take advantage of the preserve.”
There are numerous meeting spaces available throughout the property, such as the Mayslake Peabody Estate, the Maple Meadow Grill and Pub, and various picnic shelters. Groups can hold their meetings or after-hours receptions at one of these charming venues and then immediately enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking and archery.
Include a Program on Health and Fitness
Groups may not always have the flexibility to leave the meeting space for an active excursion, so planners might consider bringing in a health expert to lead a discussion on topics like stress management, meditation, work/life balance, goal setting and making healthy meals on a busy schedule.
“Everyone has challenges with nutrition, so it’s nice to break up a conference with a program on health and wellness,” said Aldana. “It shows you really care about attendees and their health.”
The program could also include a brief demonstration of chair yoga or other low-intensity exercises that get the blood flowing after sitting for long stretches of time.
“Some of these meetings are so heavy,” said Aldana. “By four o’clock, everyone is just fried, so you need something to freshen it up a little bit.”