With the advancement in technology that our generation has been subject to, it is easy to see how our lives have grown into a more “comfortable” way of life. Processes and tasks that once required physical work and time have been made easier and can be completed with the touch of a finger, literally! Although convenient and efficient, this newfound lifestyle is taking a toll on health problems as the number of office workers grows. By having opportunities available at work, it can lead to greater health in all employees, increase job performance and also save significant health care costs.
Exercise is important as it has multiple benefits on not only our physical side but mental as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that physical programs:
· Reduce feelings of depression
· Improve stamina and strength
· Reduce obesity and particularly when combined with diet
· Reduce risks of cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, and type 2 diabetes)
In addition, physical activity can lift one’s mood naturally as studies have proven that exercise can relieve anxiety and depression, boost energy, and promote a greater sense of well being. An employer may not have any idea where to begin when implementing a workplace physical activity program. Luckily, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides steps on how to get the ball rolling on promoting physical activity at work:
1. Conduct a workplace walkability assessment to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for walking.
2. Offer secure bicycle storage and showers for employees who actively commute.
3. Implement flexible scheduling where feasible —making it easier for employees to carve out time for exercise while juggling work and home responsibilities.
4. Make stairwells more appealing with paint, artwork, and motivational signage.
5. Negotiate a corporate discount with local gyms; low-cost gym membership benefits are sometimes available through medical benefit vendors.
6. to take brief, 2-3 minute fitness breaks throughout the day for brisk walking, stretching, or stair climbing.
7. Offer free or reduced-cost pedometers to employees. Run a simple steps-per-week team competition to drum up peer support for increasing daily steps. No money? Invite your health benefit vendors or local businesses to sponsor this purchase in exchange for co-branding.
8. Sponsor or promote employee participation in community events like 5K or 10K runs, basketball leagues, or charity walk-a-thons.
9. Organize lunchtime walking, running, bicycling, or yoga groups.
10. Encourage walking 1:1 meetings.
11. Make standing or pacing vs. sitting at long meetings an acceptable option.
12. Encourage workers to be active at their workstations as much as possible — by stretching, standing while on the phone or pumping out a few desk pushups while viewing a web conference.
ACE further states, “Businesses already have a significant investment in each worker in terms of hiring, training, compensation, and benefits packages. Driving a culture of physical activity helps protect that investment — and maximize the returns in cost savings, cost avoidance, productivity and human capital.” This is extremely true, and by implementing a standard of physical activity into your workplace, it will help boost employee morale, productivity, and not to mention… health! Consider implementing a workplace physical activity program in your business today, and see all the benefits that it has to offer!
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Kolton LarsonDemand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company