With the obesity problem in America reaching epidemic proportions, companies are now discovering the benefits of offering a wellness program for their employees. Fit employees take fewer sick days and require less health care coverage.

Here are a few tips to keep up with PT in the civilian sector.

For prior military personnel, finding a company that provides the time and resources to maintain a fitness program is now easier than ever. Large facilities with over 50 employees may actually have a fitness center located in their building. With smaller organizations a fitness plan can still be achieved through on-site activities and programs. Availability of walking and jogging trails can provide a good outlet for an after-hour’s workout. With the rising cost of gasoline, bicycle commuting is now becoming more popular. Most local fitness clubs offer membership discounts for large groups and most companies are now offering lower insurance rates for their employees who attend.

Having a work-out buddy or a group of people that regularly meets at the gym will encourage others to participate. Organizing an intramural softball or basketball team for weekly games is a great way to stay in shape while increasing employee bonding and teamwork.

Going directly into the fitness industry and becoming a military fitness trainer like former Navy SEAL Stew Smith did is an option as well. Stew has written numerous articles and published books like “The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness.” He has advice for the beginner on how to get into the fitness industry and the best certifications and training to help you on your way.

The biggest obstacle to starting and maintaining a fitness program is finding the time. A pilot program for civilian employees at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) in Washington, D.C., is now offering an on-the-clock fitness program for up to three hours a week. If successful, this program could be adopted by bases around the country and indeed could spread to companies outside the military. For now, many employees take what’s called a working lunch at their desk and use their lunch hour to get in a quick workout during the day. Having a fitness club close enough to provide this opportunity with shower facilities is a must unless your co-workers don’t mind the aroma of a hard workout.

As a prior military member your dedication to physical fitness is a model for civilian employees to follow. If you find yourself in an organization that is in need of a fitness program, your previous military experience will be valuable in helping to get one started. Be creative and encourage others to participate as you achieve your fitness goals.