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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Andy Jonak, Carmen Gonzalez

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PR Firm Offers Surprise Health Benefit -- Gym Memberships

TAMPA, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 05/16/14 -- Some corporations have space set aside with workout equipment for employees, but in a business of less than 25 people, that's usually not practical -- or possible.

Instead, EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com) offered its staff free membership to a new state-of-the-art fitness center within jogging distance.

"Being health-conscious has always been part of our company culture," says CEO Marsha Friedman, who founded EMSI, a pay for performance publicity firm, in 1990.

"I've found that when you make healthy opportunities easily available and make it fun, people get interested."

That explains the big jars of vitamin C and Echinacea on the kitchen counter, the afternoon juicing pick-me-ups and the 10-day "fast" challenge that half the office took on, agreeing to a subsistence diet of nutritious algae shakes and healthy supplements.

But it wasn't until a new client, Dr. Brett Osborn, came to visit that Friedman got the idea for offering everyone free memberships to Florida Hospital's Health & Wellness Center just down the street.

"Dr. Osborn is a neurosurgeon and certified anti-aging specialist who says building muscle is your absolute best disease prevention," Friedman says. "We're promoting his new book, 'Get Serious: A Neurosurgeon's Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness,' so he came to meet the team."

The doctor spoke about the role weight training plays in reducing inflammation -- the source of so many ills -- and when too much exercise can actually age the body.

"Thinking about what he said, I realized how much better my husband and I felt since we started a regular gym program," Friedman says. "I knew how great it would make my staff feel, so I offered monthly memberships to anyone who would use it."

Almost everyone signed up, and they've all been going regularly, she says.

"They come back happy and energized, which, of course, is great for getting work done! Better yet, as a business owner, I can think of no better investment than the health of my team."

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 24-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. Marsha is the author of "Celebritize Yourself" and can be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI's PR Insider. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.

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