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Increasing Physical Activity At Work

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

While anti-smoking campaigns have been in effect for decades, more recent health promotion efforts are being directed at preventing obesity, heart disease and the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting, now called “sitting disease”.  As society experiences this paradigm shift away from sedentary activity, employers too need to be on board with solutions on ways to keep employees active when the job demands require continuous desk work.

If you are concerned about the effects of sitting disease and are looking for ways to increase health and wellness at work, the solution is actually simple.  Just start by getting moving!  If you are an employer and are not ready or able to invest in a comprehensive wellness program, or you are an employee and these are not offered where you work, start with some simple team-building challenges.  Consider the following:

1.       Stair climbing.   Try to challenge workplace to at 30 day “Climb It Challenge” where everyone takes the stairs.  Or if your office is too high up, no problem, take the elevator 5 floors below your level and walk the stairs from there.

2.       30 day squat challenge.  This is easy, requires no equipment and won’t leave your office team with the need to shower following.  Have those interested meet for 5-10 minutes a day and complete each day’s challenge.  This 30 day squat challenge has a daily plan you can follow.

3.       Bike or walk to work month.  This is easier to do in the warmer weather months, so try to challenge your team to walk or bike to work each day.  If you are in a remote location, or if employees commute, ask employees to park a couple of blocks away and walk or ride from there.

4.       Get your yoga on.  Each day with your team, take 10-15 minutes to run through some easy yoga poses to help boost posture and strength. Check out some of these beginner poses to try.

5.       Organize a walking lunch group.  Each day with your team take a 30 minute power walk at lunch or break time.  Walking is great for cardiovascular and bone health and will help to prevent the negative effects of sitting all day.

Working together with a team dedicated to improving health and wellness will help to keep individuals motivated and on track.  In the end, don’t forget to celebrate your success and keep the momentum going!

Check out more on staying healthy at the office on our Healthy Workplace page.

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