Encouraging physical wellbeing in the workplace

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Health Assured team

21 June 2022

Physical wellbeing is not just physical health. It includes lifestyle choices that promote health, avoid preventable conditions, and enable us to carry out daily activities. In the workplace, physical wellbeing is more important than ever, helping employees stay resilient and meet the challenges of the day. 

As an employer, you must support your employee’s health and wellbeing. If your organisation encourages activities which promote physical wellbeing, you can keep your employees healthy, drive engagement and reduce absences. In this article, we will discuss physical wellbeing, how it impacts mental health and how your organisation can support it.

 

Physical wellbeing and mental health 

Approximately 1-in-7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace. If left unattended, these problems can develop into debilitating stress and anxiety. According to recent UK statistics, a staggering 72 million workdays are lost (each year) due to mental health problems. As a result, the mental health of your workforce has a direct impact on your business – through decreased productivity and loss of revenue. 

Supporting the physical wellbeing of your employees is a great way to improve their mental health and create a positive work environment. Promoting physical wellbeing by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits can help enhance the cognitive health of your employees, providing a range of psychological benefits. These include improved mood, decreased anxiety, and enhanced release of endorphins which trigger positive feelings.

 

Benefits of physical activity

Encouraging good physical wellbeing in the workplace has several benefits for your employees and your organisation. These benefits vary from lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease to improving mood and self-esteem. Here are some of the benefits of promoting physical activity in the workplace: 

Boosting mood: studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve your mood. Experts say that low-intensity aerobic exercise (30–35 minutes, 3–5 days a week, for 10–12 weeks) is the best exercise to boost positive moods.

Managing stress & anxiety: being active allows you to keep your mind focused on a task separate from your stressors. Exercise also releases cortisol - the hormone that enables our bodies to manage stressful emotions.

Improving self-esteem: being more active and achieving set goals can boost confidence and make your employees feel better about themselves. 

Building relationships: partaking in team activities can help your employees meet people with similar interests and build new relationships with like-minded individuals.

Here at Health Assured, we are urging organisations to make a conscious effort to support physical wellbeing, creating a workplace that enriches the health and wellbeing of all employees. It is through these efforts that your organisation can enhance employee performance and business productivity.  

 

How to support physical wellbeing in the workplace?

There are many ways your organisation can encourage good physical wellbeing in the workplace. By taking proactive steps to improve the physical wellbeing of your workforce, you can show your care and consideration for employee welfare. Here are some ways you can encourage the physical wellbeing of your employees:

 

Regular physical exercise

Over recent decades, studies have highlighted the link between a healthy body and a healthy mind. These studies have found that partaking in regular physical activity can help improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. Completing this regular exercise can have physical and mental benefits. These include improved body confidence, enhanced focus, and better sleep. Each of these benefits helps improve your employee's health and wellbeing, enabling them to complete their role to the best of their ability. 

 

Healthy Eating 

Research shows that what we eat affects our physical and mental health. But with so much research about what we should and shouldn’t eat, reaching optimum health through diet can be expensive and time-consuming. There are, however, a few changes you can make around the workplace that will help your employees make healthier choices. For example, keeping fresh fruit in the office instead of sweets or pastries will give staff something to keep their energy up until their break or get them through the last hour of work. Most of us depend on caffeinated drinks to stay focused but allowing staff to take a few minutes in between tasks for a quick reset does just as much good for maintaining concentration as a cup of coffee. 

 

Educate your employees 

As an employer, you must provide your employees with the latest information and guidance for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Educating employees in ways that they can improve their wellness is a step towards a healthier workplace. Bringing attention to different factors affecting their wellbeing that they may be neglecting allows them to diagnose their weak spots and actively make changes for improvement. 

Providing wellbeing workshops for employees is an excellent way to educate them on what factors contribute to their overall health and mental wellbeing. Here at Health Assured, we offer several high-quality educational workshops that cover all aspects of personal wellbeing. Whether there is a need for further resources to educate on mental health problems or a desire to boost corporate physical health, there are wellbeing workshops available for all requirements. 

 

Health and wellbeing support from Health Assured

Paying attention to physical wellbeing in the workplace is a great way to improve productivity. We can help support your business in all your wellbeing endeavours.

Want to find out more? Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers a 24/7 counselling helpline that can support your health and wellbeing.

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