According to the World Health Organisation, inactivity is the fourth biggest health problem for adults. It’s as detrimental to health as smoking cigarettes and is attributed to 9% of premature deaths.
Studies claim that excessive sitting impacts on your metabolism, affect the onset of type 2 Diabetes, and increases the chance of cardiovascular disease, breast, prostate, and lung cancer.
However, most workplaces are not the most conducive environments for a healthy, active lifestyle. Further to this, many people find it hard to fit exercise into their already busy lives and packed schedules.
Helping your staff stay physically active at work can benefit their health, but also your business overall, improving motivation and productivity and reducing the risk of work-related health complaints.
To help get your staff moving and boost their well being, we’ve put together the following easy-to-implement top tips:
Standing or walking meetings
Getting people out of their chairs for stand up meetings can benefit their health and increase efficiency - ensuring meetings don’t drag on endlessly. Walking meetings get staff out into the fresh air, reduce tensions and allow free-flowing conversations for greater creativity.
Encourage active lunch breaks
Many staff will remain at their desks through lunch, either working, chatting or surfing the internet. Encourage staff to take a break from their desks - walking around the building, out to the local shops or even up and down the stairs to get the blood pumping!
Develop a workplace health program
Introducing a workplace health program, consisting of health counselling, weight management, and fitness programs can entice employees to engage in a fitness programme or set a challenge to lose a few pounds.
For those that prefer classes and equipment, you can negotiate corporate discounts at local gyms. Plenty of gyms offer half hour classes around lunchtime, which is the perfect way to build some fun physical activity into your day.
Stand-up desks options
As an alternative to the traditional desk arrangement, stand-up desks offer employees an option to step away from their usual desk and work standing up for a few hours. These are adjustable desks that move up and down by the click of a button to address different employee heights.
A great way to get everyone moving is to encourage running clubs. If people sign up to a local 5 or 10k race, training over lunch or straight after work is the perfect combination of movement and socialising. The NHS Couch to 5K is having real impact on helping ‘non-runners’ to get off the couch and gradually build up to running 5k.
The trend for smart watches, like Fitbits, has created an awareness of the number of steps people are walking in a day, with many people setting themselves personal goals to walk more. Lunchtime walking groups help people reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day and keeps everyone moving in the process.
Cycle to Work scheme
Introduced in 1999, the cycle to work scheme allows employers to buy bikes and lease them to their employees. Employers then recover the cost of the bike through a salary sacrifice scheme, which means employees save on tax contributions.
Cycling is a brilliant way to get moving, especially as cycling to work is a daily activity. Some studies have even shown that cycling regularly can cut instances of heart disease by 46%.
Rather than rolling out the office door after work on a Friday and straight into the nearest pub for an after work drink, why not organise something a little more active like a round of crazy golf.
Put together a wellness committee
Ask for volunteers to come up with plans and activities to keep employees active in the workplace on a regular basis. These volunteers may be better connected to the thoughts and feelings of other staff and better able to come up with ideas that suit your workforce.
Many businesses are realising the benefits of promoting activity and health in the workplace. As the connection between good physical health and good mental health is becoming more well known, employers are increasing allocating time and resources to creating a more health conscious workforce.