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Fit for work

Tuesday 17th June

We might have good intentions when it comes to exercise, but modern life can make it difficult. A study published last year suggested that 70% of adults are not getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, with four in 10 blaming work commitments for not being regularly active. As obesity-related illnesses and lack of fitness become bigger problems for the UK, these stats are worrying.

This sedentary lifestyle isn’t just affecting physical health. Mental wellbeing and productivity are also linked to being fit and active. Studies have shown that those who exercise rarely are less likely to be as productive as those that exercise more often.

For businesses, the benefits of having active employees are clear. Healthy staff will have fewer sick days, and studies have shown that high achieving people tend to exercise, and those involved in team sports tend to make better leaders.

The need to be more active often clashes with the day to day reality of most jobs - sat at a desk, in front of a computer. However, there are ways to you can help your employees get, and stay, active.

1. Cycle to work schemes

A recent study showed that those who cycled more than 30 minutes to work were happier than other commuters - and the extra exercise was a big factor in that. You can help staff get pedalling by taking part in the Government’s Green Transport Plan, under which staff can get tax free cycle equipment.

2. Corporate gym membership

You might not have an onsite gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help staff make the most of fitness facilities. Many gyms offer corporate discounts and memberships; it’s worth ringing round to see what deals you can get.

3. Run lunchtime or after work sessions

Make it easy for people. If you have a meeting space that could become an aerobics studio for 45 minutes after work, then use it. You can ask staff to pay for the cost of the instructor, but the convenience should encourage them to get involved.

4. Charity challenge

A work team challenge can raise a lot of money for charity and help your team bond. But it can also help improve fitness. Take part in a charity trek, run or other physical challenge - you’ll raise cash and the training will get those pulses racing.

5. Walking meetings

Break out of the boardroom and have your meetings whilst walking. You’ll get the whole team moving, and by changing routines, you may find that you also come up with new, exciting ideas too.

Useful links

This article has been brought to you using public health information freely available online (click on links in the article for more information).   benenden health has not provided any direct medical advice within this article.  Please consult the sources provided if you would like further information or support.

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