Workout at work – reduce stress and improve health

Written by: Fit for Work team | Posted in: Blog

workoutatworkDo you exercise with your colleagues? If not, this year’s Workout at Work Day might change that. Workout at Work Day is an annual awareness day organised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, aimed at promoting physical wellbeing in the work environment.

We all know the health benefits of exercise. But when that exercise is done with our colleagues, the positives can extend beyond improving our fitness. Encouraging fitness in the workplace can lead to happier staff, higher morale, colleagues working as a team more effectively, and a reduction in stress levels. So how do employers go about introducing fitness into their workplace?

To start off with, speak to your employees to find out the kind of exercise they would be interested in doing. If your staff are mostly young, a more high-intensity class could be a great way to get them working hard as a team – you could even encourage them to enter a charity event like Tough Mudder. If your staff tend to be a little older, something like yoga or pilates can be a great way to get everyone of all ages involved and exercising.

Another way to encourage your staff to keep fit is to ensure that they can schedule the time to exercise around their work timetable. Offering an extra half an hour at lunch one or two days a week for exercise purposes is a great way to do this. Employees can go to the gym, for a swim, to a fitness class or just for a long walk – they’ll return to the office feeling refreshed and full of endorphins to tackle the afternoon’s tasks. Even if not at lunchtime, simply encouraging your staff to walk to or from work, in a group or in pairs, is a great and gentle way to improve their fitness.

One issue holding a lot of people back from regular exercise can be the cost of gyms or classes. Gyms near to your workplace may offer a group discount for your staff; and if not, it could be worth trying to negotiate one. Some companies even include discounted or paid-for health club memberships as a perk as part of your employment package. The initial cost of something like this should be offset by a decrease in employee sickness absence as a result; a 2011 US study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine showed that fitting just 2.5 hours of exercise a week into the working day led to a noticeable reduction in absences.

For more information on promoting health in the workplace, head to the Fit for Work advice hub, where you can find useful, impartial information on health promotion initiatives for your staff.

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