You Worry More About Your VO2 Max Than Your 401(K)

Best jobs for the health-conscious

Aug 3, 2011
Outside Magazine

   Photo: EC Campbell/Flickr

Given that healthy employees are good for business (fewer sick days, lower insurance costs), it’s no surprise that the companies on our list provide robust health and wellness programs. Many offer free massages and on-site fitness facilities (including classes and trainers) or subsidize gym memberships and race fees. But at some of these places, staying fit sounds like part of the job description. Running outfitter Brooks Sports (#40) is located on Seattle’s multiuse Burke-Gilman Trail; during warmer months, departments organize Friday runs that start at 3:30 p.m. and end with theme parties. At Boa Technology (#4), which designs and builds lacing systems used in snowboard bindings and other footwear, company president Mark Soderberg, a two-time national mountain-biking champ, leads a group called MOAB—Motivated Associates of Boa—which meets weekly to inspire members to reach their health and fitness goals. At training-equipment maker TRX (#12), lunch-hour group workouts in the company’s fitness center—with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay—are common. According to senior director of marketing Alison Ross,“It’s normal to sit at your desk dripping with sweat.”

Some companies on our list go to great lengths to accommodate workers-in-training—an employee at Livestrong (#41) adjusted his hours so he could get in some pre-marathon runs before dark—and even nudge them along. Natural-foods brand Kashi (#11) offers ­employees health-insurance discounts for competing in sports leagues and a $400 stipend to spend on “natural healthy-lifestyle” products like a surfboard or cooking classes. If that sounds impressive, get this: Chesapeake Energy Corporation (#23) doles out $300 a year for regularly exercising, another $300 for participating in wellness activities (e.g., healthy eating and sports participation), and up to $500 for maintaining a healthy body weight. Last year it paid out more than $4.3 million as part of its ­Living Well incentive.