Exercise in the Workplace
Chances are you have heard someone say that the reason they do not exercise is because “they don’t have enough time”. However, the importance of fitting exercise and fitness into our day is monumental, especially for those of us who work in an office setting. According to BBC News Health, extended periods of sitting at a desk have been found to slow metabolism and have a negative effect on how our bodies control sugar levels, blood pressure, and the breakdown of fat. It goes against our nature to be deskbound all day, which is why we should make a strong effort to stand up, take a break, and get moving.
There are several reasons that companies should encourage exercise in the workplace that directly benefit employees and productivity. Exercise is proven to relieve stress, and let’s face it, work is stressful. Studies show that taking walking breaks during your work day can boost your mood, increase productivity, and improve your ability to deal with stress. Companies like Patagonia and Hootsuite encourage biking to work, holding meetings outside, and even surfing during the work day.
Here at Bristol Associates, every day at 3:30pm members of our team head to the stairwell and climb 10-12 flights of stairs. It takes 10 minutes but it reminds us to take a break and get moving. The tradition was started by Peter Stern, who at 62 years old explains that he feels motivated to fit exercise into his day to stay healthy. “With the kind of work we do, we spend almost our entire work day at our computers. When the late afternoon comes around and you start to drag a bit, it’s good to get the heart racing.” Every day Peter takes it upon himself to make the rounds and let the office know that it’s time for the stairs.
Even if your office doesn’t have a wellness program or scheduled exercise time, here are a couple ways to get moving at work:
- Use half of your lunch break to take a walk rather than sitting down the whole time.
- Stand up at least once every 20 minutes to counteract the health hazards of sitting.
- Schedule walks around the block in your calendar as you would meetings.
- Take 5 minute stretching breaks.
- Encourage standing meetings.
- Walk to your colleague’s desk to ask a question rather than emailing them.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
It is critical to combat the effects of sitting for extended periods of time at your desk. Even if you consider yourself a healthy person who exercises outside of work, being sedentary all day can still impact your body and mind. Small feats like climbing stairs or taking a walk around the block really can make a difference in your mental and physical health, which at the end of the day is more important than anything else.
Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.
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