The US Department of Health and Human Services says 59% of employees do not get adequate exercise, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sites that 75% of healthcare costs come from chronic diseases—the most preventable type of diseases. Exercising while working, or during a break from work, can give you more energy, reduce stress, and can help prevent you—and your employees—from catching the latest bug, meaning less sick days and healthcare expenditures.
Employers and team leaders play an important role in encouraging fitness at work and changing the company culture to support wellness. Here are a few ways you can lead by example to keep your employees healthier and more productive.
Go for a magic carpet ride
When the majority of your time is spent at the workplace, it's important to integrate wellness into the workday in addition to any workout you do outside of the office. Of course there's the little things you can do to keep moving throughout the workday like taking the stairs and getting up from your desk to move around. You can also do exercises right at your desk, like the magic carpet ride, or using your desk to stretch.
But it's hard to remind ourselves to take breaks, especially if you get in "the zone" at 10 a.m. and the next thing you know it's 3 p.m. Set yourself a meeting reminder once every hour, or every other hour, to get up and move. Even if it's for just a couple of minutes, breaks are proven to help you up productivity.
Take your meetings on the road
It's important to integrate wellness into the workday in addition to any workout you do outside of the office
A low-tech option to bringing more movement to an otherwise sedentary office is to hold, and promote, walking meetings. One-on-one meetings are especially good for this. Instead of sitting over coffee or in a windowless conference room, hit the pavement and talk while you walk.
Epidemiologist Steven Blair has studied the effects of sitting on overall health and has found that even people who regularly exercise outside of work can't fully combat the effects of sitting for hours on end. His study of adult men and their risk of dying from heart disease revealed that "men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity."
4 ways to invest in a lazy-proof workspace
- Try swapping your chair for a balance ball, using it in 30-minute increments until one day you forget to swap it for the chair at all.
- Rig a standing desk using recycling bins and boxes to boost your monitor, or invest in an adjustable desk.
- Go all-out with a treadmill desk for your office. Even just one desk is a game changer if you set it up as a conference room that any employee can book for an hour or two.
- Set a reminder every hour (or as often as your schedule allows) to get up and move, or at least take some breaks away from the screen.
Increasing numbers of employers are implementing measures to help keep their employees healthy, as it increases satisfaction, defers health care costs, and can lead to happier workers. How are you encouraging your employees to stay fit? What is your daily routine to lazy-proof your workspace?