We all know that physical inactivity is bad for us. Sitting at a desk all day, our singular source of activity is shuffling from meeting to meeting. I personally spend 15+ hours in the car each week, commuting! We know this behavior does not induce optimal health, but making a change is difficult, especially in the summer when you stare longingly out the window from your office only to step outside into sweltering heat and immediately miss your air conditioned oasis.
But as difficult as it is, breaking up the sedentary work week with exercise and activity is ultimately necessary.
While the below statements definitely affect each of us on a personal level, they also affect the entire workforce and how focused and happy employees are on the job.
- Physical inactivity is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity and even mental health problems.
- Adults need 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week to stay in good health and maintain weight.
- Physical activity naturally lifts your mood and has been known to relieve anxiety and depression.
These small changes can really impact your physical activity:
- Take a walk during your lunch break (Pokemon Go anyone?)
- Make a point to stand and stretch every hour—set an alarm on your phone or work calendar to remind you
- If possible, bike to work
- Take the stairs
- Go for a jog before your commute (and avoid the traffic!)
- Walk to your coworkers desk (forgo the easy email or phone call)
- Park farther from the entrance
- Invest in a standing desk
How Can the Employer Help?
Here at Armada, we’ve recently introduced our own Wellness Initiative to help employees make these changes and to make a physically active lifestyle more accessible while at work. We hold workout and yoga classes, provide healthy options in the staff kitchen, offer at-home workout videos and accompanying workbook journals, and Lunch and Learn wellness sessions.
Here are some other ideas about how employers can help their employees engage in a more physically active and healthy lifestyle.
- Standing/walking meetings
- Offer discounted pedometers and start a steps-per-week competition
- Offer bicycle storage
- Organize fitness groups before or after work or at lunch to unite employees who enjoy common activities
So if you feel stuck (literally and figuratively) in your routine, know that there are ways you can be active at work. We encourage employers to make this easier and possible for employees. Even if there is barely a second between meetings or you spend too much time in the car, like me, take the initiative to make a change. It’s important for your overall wellbeing and happiness.