Wellness Champion

The Ultimate Glossary For Corporate Wellness Managers

Written by Allie

Whether you are new to the world of corporate wellness and wellness in the workplace, or have been running a program for several years, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the health industry jargon. To help you better plan and promote your wellness program, we compiled a collection of the most common and important terms you may encounter regarding benefits, physical fitness, exercise, and other areas of wellness.

Review the essential terms below, and bookmark this handy glossary for when you need a refresher!


Body Image: the subjective mental image of your own body, including what you feel and believe about your own appearance.

Financial Wellness: the process of learning to successfully manage finances and plan for the future. To be financially well, you should have control over day-to-day finances and be on track to meet financial goals, be able to weather a financial shock, and have the freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.

Fitness: a complex set of qualities that people have or achieve relating to their ability to perform physical activity.

Health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Health Literacy: the degree to which people can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Mindfulness: a mental state of active, focused attention on the present moment.

Sleep hygiene: the practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.

Wellness: an active process of being aware of, and making choices toward, a life that is balanced and successful physically, mentally, and socially. The National Wellness Institute defines wellness through six interconnected dimensions: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and occupational.

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity (MIPA) includes activities that require more effort than usual, and noticeably accelerate the heart rate.

About Exercise

Duration: the length of time in which an activity or exercise is performed, typically measured in minutes.

Energy Balance: the relationship between calories taken into the body through food and drink, and calories being used by the body for daily energy requirements. Also known as “energy in, energy out.”

Exercise: any physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and with the purpose of improving or maintaining physical fitness.

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity (MIPA): activities that require a moderate amount of effort and noticeably accelerate the heart rate. Examples include brisk walking, dancing, housework, yoga, or playing with children.

Progression: increasing the intensity, duration, frequency, or amount of activity or exercise as the body adapts to a given activity pattern

Repetitions: the number of times a person lifts a weight or performs a specific move in muscle-strengthening activities.

Sedentary: a type of lifestyle with little or no physical activity. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitting or lying down while working or socializing.

Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity (VIPA): activities that require a large amount of effort, causes rapid breathing, and substantially accelerates the heart rate. Examples include running, fast cycling, hiking, competitive sports, or carrying heavy loads.

Wellness benefits are perks and benefits offered to employees, including cash rewards, gym memberships, premium discounts, and other incentives in order improve and maintain positive health.


Absenteeism: the average number of sick days or disability days per employee in a given time period.

Activity Rewards: a common wellness benefit in which employers offer a cash reward or other incentive when employees complete health and wellness activities, such as exercise, gym visits, or annual exams.

Agents and Brokers: a trained insurance professional who can help you enroll in a health insurance plan. Agents may work for a single health insurance company; brokers may represent several companies.

Biometric screening: a general health check that can identify significant health risks, with metrics including cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, height, weight, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI).

Deductible: the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your health insurer pays its share.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): an employee benefit program that assists employees with personal or mental health issues, and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being.

Flexible Spending Account: an FSA is a payroll-tax-free spending account designed for qualified medical or dental expenses. There are no eligibility requirements to enroll, though funds typically must be used within one calendar year.

Gym Reimbursement: a common wellness benefit that reimburses a portion of expenses associated with wellness and fitness activities, such as a gym membership or the cost of specialized classes.

Health Risk Assessment (HRA): an individual questionnaire to help assess your current health status and help plan for future improvements.

Health Savings Account (HSA): an HSA is a tax-free savings account for qualified medical expenses. It is used alongside a high-deductible health insurance policy. By using untaxed dollars in an HSA to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses, you can lower your overall health care costs.

High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): A health insurance plan with lower premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional health plan.

Premium: the amount that you (or your plan sponsor, such as an employer) pay for your health insurance every month.

Presenteeism: the phenomenon of being physically at work while not being productive or mentally present.

Step Challenges: a common and accessible wellness program activity in which teams or individuals compete to walk a certain number of steps (for example, 10,000 per day or more).

Wellness Benefits: perks and benefits offered as part of a wellness program, including premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, and other incentives to participate.

Wellness Programs: a program intended to improve and promote health and fitness that’s usually offered through the workplace or through an insurance provider. Some examples include weight loss programs, preventative health screenings, gym reimbursements, or programs based on rewards and incentives.

Sources:The World Health Organization, HealthCare.gov, National Wellness Institute, The Center for Disease Control, The Consumer Goods Forum, Harvard School of Public Health

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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