National Fitness Day 2019: Promoting Fitness in the Workplace

Today (25th of September) is National Fitness Day. It’s a chance to highlight the role physical activity plays across the UK. As well as to raise awareness of the importance of fitness in helping us lead healthier and more active lifestyles.

But of course, fitness isn’t something that should just be restricted to event days and novelty months. Physical fitness is a positive attribute—and mental fitness follows. When you make sure to emphasise fitness in the workplace, your staff will work harder, think clearer, and contribute more.

Consider these National Fitness Day ideas:

  • A charity 5k—there are always plenty of these. Movember is soon, and you have a couple of months to prepare.
  • A yoga class—find a nearby practitioner, or even start a class up in your canteen at lunchtimes.
  • Good food—fitness begins with diet after all. Fruit, low-carb snacks, diet drinks—find out what people like, and offer it to them.

 

Why you should be promoting fitness in the workplace

Here are some of the main benefits of fitness in the workplace:

  • Employees with good physical fitness are less likely to need time off sick—meaning more productivity and less need to find cover.
  • Physical fitness is a great confidence booster and makes for better decisions, better leadership, and more answers to issues.
  • A fitter, healthier employee is more likely to perform better and be less stressed as a result.
  • Physical activity makes for great teambuilding—a 5k for charity can lead to some impressive friendly rivalries, boosting that competitive urge all offices need.

It doesn’t always need to be super intense exercise. A good way to promote a little more activity in the day is by encouraging people to take breaks away from their desks.

Any movement is good movement. And while a ten-minute walk at lunch might not be as calorie-burning as a marathon, it gets the blood moving. It also revives energy levels and helps prevent the musculoskeletal issues associated with long periods of sitting.

But for those who live their lives in the gym, who dream of medicine balls and protein shakes and can tell you without googling what a ‘lat’ is, a corporate gym membership is a brilliant benefit.

This involves offering staff membership to a gym or health club based on a salary sacrifice scheme. It’s always popular.

Make sure people know this benefit is available if you offer it—internal newsletters, posters, or business cards left in the kitchen next to all the cake will spur them into action.

If you’re in an office or work environment that’s a little more tolerant of noise, there are plenty of different office exercise equipment options available. A lot of these aren’t really that office-friendly, but here are a few examples that’ll really encourage fitness and productivity in the workplace:

  • Hand-held gyroscopes: Great for RSI and wrist issues, you spin these weighted plastic balls in a rhythmic manner. They’re cheap and can be branded with your company’s logo—but they get noisy.
  • Stability cushions/chairs: These should really be called ‘instability’ cushions, as they’re designed to force you to use the muscles in your core to sit without toppling. They’re not expensive, but they can make people feel a bit unbalanced.
  • Weights: Small hand weights and strap-on ankle weights are great for a quick desk workout, and can be hidden in a drawer.
  • Mini exercise bikes: Essentially a footrest with pedals, these bikes sit under your desk and let you get your cardio while you manipulate a spreadsheet.
  • Desk treadmills: Now we’re getting serious—full-size treadmills with a standing desk attached. These are incredible for fitness, but they’re big, noisy and expensive. If you have the space, though—and the money—you won’t find a better way to exercise at the desk.

 

Remember, you’re not trying to make all your employees into Olympic athletes—you’re just encouraging a little more fitness.

Even if you’re just supplying yoga mats for lunchtime stress relief, or even just reminding people to take a proper break every so often, prioritise fitness in the workplace and your staff’s wellbeing will improve—along with productivity.

 

Should you require any more information on employee health, mental wellbeing or the powerful, stress-busting benefits of an EAP, call Health Assured on 0844 892 2493

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