According to the World Health Organization, adults ages from 18-64 should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of the two. For additional health benefits and overall optimal health, they recommend increasing that to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. Unfortunately, a recent study published in The Lancet, Global Health, found that 28% of adults do not even meet the minimum physical activity recommendations.
Additional research finds that the modern day workplace may be the reason behind so many adults’ lack of activity. This is because the average employee sits for 10 or more hours a day, putting them at risk for developing or worsening diseases linked to inactivity. Working in an environment that promotes wellness may be just what employees need to get them moving and focusing on their overall health.
How to Prioritize Employee Wellness
1. Encourage More Movement: Hang up WELCOA’s “Sit for 60, Move for 3” posters around the office and encourage employees to get up and take walking or stretching breaks. You can also rearrange the office and place all trashcans, recycling bins, and other items like printers in one central location. This removes the convenience of having everything at their desk, but requires them to get up and move more often. More movement also has the added benefit of improved creativity, productivity, and overall team morale.
2. Hydrate Employees: Staying hydrated throughout the day will have a significant impact on employees’ energy levels and brain function. Drinking enough water is also a critical part of any fitness plan and it can help employees feel fuller for longer, leading them to make better lunch and snack choices at work. Be sure to place water coolers in common areas and provide cups or reusable water bottles to make it that much easier for employees to stay hydrated.
3. Take Walking Meetings. Employees already spend enough time sitting at their desks, so try using meetings as a time for movement. McCann explains that walking during meetings, the increased circulation boosts energy, concentration, and productivity. A change of scenery may even help employees view problems differently, encouraging new, more innovative ideas.
4. Lead by Example. The best way to encourage employees to focus on their health, is to focus on your own health. Set the example for your employees by particpating in as many health initiatives in the organization as possible or even try taking the lead on a few new ones. Drink plenty of water, bring healthy lunches and snacks, move frequently, and encourage others to do the same.
By following these tips, your employees will begin to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle at work. This will not only improve the quality of life for your employees, but it will lead to numerous benefits for the organization as a whole. For more information, click here!