Like most parents currently stuck at home with energetic kids climbing the walls, Megan Fesinmeyer, a senior manager of business analysis and info at Amgen, needed a way for the whole family to burn energy without access to in-person sports and fitness classes. That was especially true for her daughter, who needs to keep up with school physical education requirements while staying home during the pandemic.
She found the solution when Amgen provided its global staff with access to Wellbeats, a virtual wellness service that offers everything from fitness and cooking classes to mindfulness exercises. “My 6th grader has to log 30 minutes of exercise daily for her remote-learning PE class,” she says. “I set her up with a Hip-Hop Dance class in the living room. It worked perfectly!”
Fesinmeyer is not the only person at Amgen looking for new ways to balance physical and mental health during the pandemic. Between work and family demands, and the unique stress of living through unprecedented global changes, physical activity and wellness are important for adapting to the new normal of life at home.
Taking time for work breaks—whether it’s a short stretching session, a high-intensity fitness class, or a mindfulness practice—can help maintain both physical and mental health. That’s why Amgen has always supported and encouraged staff wellness, including providing on-site gyms and fitness classes at many sites around the world. Wellbeats was previously offered as a benefit to Amgen’s remote workers. After access to the service was expanded to all staff globally, the response has been enthusiastic, with more than 4,000 downloads in the first week alone.
What can people do on Wellbeats? More than you might expect. Opening the app on a smartphone, streaming TV or web browser reveals a huge mix of activities. “Get a taste of salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton,” notes the description for Zumba Group 1. A 50-minute workout called Metabolic Mayhem received a 4.7 out of 5 rating by nearly 2,000 users. And Jab it Out empowers users to take a 20-minute kickboxing class for a full body workout at their own pace.
“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to offer Wellbeats to our global staff population during this challenging and uncertain time,” says Amanda McComb, a senior associate in Global Benefits at Amgen. “Not only does the program offer hundreds of on-demand virtual fitness classes that can be done in the comfort of your own home, but it also offers classes for managing anxiety, mindfulness, mini stretch breaks, nutrition education and even various channels that offer age-appropriate activities for children.”
Mark Kingsriter, fitness director and class instructor for Wellbeats, explains that the service is designed to help people get active and feel successful regardless of their age or where they are in their fitness journey. “I want to empower people to enhance their lives,” he says. “Our goal at Wellbeats is to help people build confidence and find success as they take steps toward their health goals.”
Mark Kingsriter, fitness director for Wellbeats, teaches a wide range of classes for all ages to help people get started and stay active on their fitness journeys.
As a parent himself, and a family class instructor, Kingsriter has advice for people hoping to keep their kids engaged in fitness at home. “If you are willing to be silly and have fun with kids, it makes it even more engaging,” he says. “Especially right now, this can be a great way to connect as a family and release tension.”
With classes covering everything from yoga to kickboxing, there are activities and intensity levels for everyone. There’s even a social component, with challenges that staff can take on with their colleagues while working toward specific goals around fitness, nutrition and mindfulness practices.
Isabelle Gallouin, a supply chain manager for Amgen Singapore Manufacturing (ASM), started using Wellbeats when she became a remote worker in 2018. The variety and quality of the classes kept her coming back for more, and she recommends that new users start by experimenting with different types of classes to see what they like best.
“I really enjoy the diversity of the offerings,” Gallouin says. “I can pick a strenuous workout or a more chilled yoga class depending on my energy level and mood. Many classes do not require any equipment and can be adapted to different fitness levels.”
As Amgen staff continue to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, taking time for personal wellness is helping foster much-needed balance. Whether it’s Wellbeats, a favorite streaming service or simply scheduling time for daily walks, focusing on health and wellness is important for managing stress, connecting with family and finding moments of fun with coworkers.
After using the service, Fesinmeyer asked her kids what they thought of their new PE classes. “She said it was a really fun way to get exercise,” she says. “And my second-grader recommends the class called Dance Party.”
Amgen staff member Megan Fesinmeyer says her daughters enjoy taking dance classes through Wellbeats as a way to stay active and meet school PE requirements while they’re home from school.
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