The Heart Foundation states that over 10 million Australians spend an average of eight hours per day in the workplace – now that’s a lot of bums on seats and sitting around going on, It’s no wonder that employers are feeling the pressure to offer wellness programs or encourage the staff to get out and exercise during their lunch break.
Is it an employer’s responsibility? I’m leaving that debate to others.
The 2012 “Principal Financial Well-Being Index: American Workers” found that;
- 62% of surveyed workers believe that a wellness program organised by the workplace improve health and reduce health risks;
- 59% credited their participation in such programs with giving them more energy to be productive at work
- 43% of employees reported missing fewer days of work.
In 2013 The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports a program they researched saw a significant reduction in lost work time – “equivalent to about 10.3 hours in additional productive time per year” further, the employees successfully improved their health or lowered their health risk in at least one area.
How To Stay Fit In The Office
While these programs are on the rise within the corporate world there are still a lot of companies out there yet to catch up. In the meantime there are loads of ways you can stay fit and healthy in the workplace:
- If you are a boss – lead by example and get out there at lunchtime to show your staff just how important it is to get away from your desk.
- Get yourself into a routine right from the beginning, lunch should be a non-negotiable – it’s 30 mins – you are not working effectively if you are tired and hungry. I guarantee a quick walk around the block and some lunch outside will see you coming back to work with a new spring in your step.
- Prepare your own lunches and snacks for the desk to nibble on – you will be less likely to drop down to the corner store for a high-sugar snack or sneak into your colleagues chocolate drawer. Don’t forget portion size as well – if you are in a sedentary job, you can afford to take it easy on the size of your sandwich.
- I know a jug/bottle of water at your table is great for keeping up the water in take, however think about the extra steps you would be taking if you had to refill after each glass.
- Find a walking or workout colleague – there is always others that would love an excuse to get away from the desk at lunch or even when the 3pm sugar cravings hit. Book it into their diaries.
- STOP! Don’t send that email. Get your butt off your chair and walk the 10 steps to speak to your colleague.
- Birthdays, babies, proposals – any excuse for a celebration with muffins right? Either tell yourself you don’t need to have a muffin at every event (there will be another) or perhaps suggest to your boss that one big morning tea per month is more exciting (and better for the waistline).
- Watch your posture, if you are on the phone a lot, use a headset, or if it’s seldom stand up and talk – stretch while you are on the phone, even better if its wireless – go for a walk around the office. There are endless sites that can tell you the correct ergonomic set up at your workstation.
- Make your workstation your workout station – bum to seat squats, desk is a good height for pushups and tricep dips! Maybe you will look a little odd but hey, call a competition – how many squats in 1 minutes can you do?
- Advocate for a team sport at lunchtime– netball, soccer or football. There are loads of corporate teams getting out there once a week workout, with a little competition.
- Stretch – Sitting down all day impacts us in all various ways from headaches to stress, sore eyes and muscle tightness. Being in a seated position all day leads to tight hips and lower back as well as decreasing the use of your core muscles. Stick some basic stretches up on your wall and do them regularly throughout the day.
Do you have any tips for staying fit and healthy in the workplace?