On the build-up to Wellbeing Day 2017 there was an increased level of ‘fit’ and ‘food’ chat around our offices. It was a fantastic bi-product of this national initiative but left me wondering about the sustainable and ongoing wellbeing programs offered by employer organisations. Are we doing enough to encourage an active lifestyle? Does it really matter if we’re not?
According to the NHS, to stay healthy adults should be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities – that’s approximately 22 minutes a day. With obesity and related chronic illness on the rise it seems people just aren’t finding the time to get active – it is our responsibility as employers to encourage our employees to be active.
Putting aside the ethics of caring about your employees, there are so many business reasons to encourage this behaviour as part of the working day. Exercise has a profound positive impact on individuals mental and physical health each with a knock-on effect to your business.
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
- Reduced Stress – The economic cost of stress in the workplace is ever increasing – research shows that exercising with an elevated heart rate can reduce mental and physical stress. Getting active and breaking a sweat can increase concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
- Improved Self-Confidence – For the individual, physical exercise can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Confidant sales people, customer service reps positive about the impact they make, developers and designers boldly innovating – Confident individuals contribute to a confident business.
- Boost Brainpower – Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance. Physically active employees may be more efficient in their roles, performing at an enhanced mental capacity.
- Sharpened Memory – Regular physical activity boosts memory and improves our ability to learn new things. If you are investing in training your team, you should be investing in their physical activity also.
- Prevent Cognitive Decline – Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. With an ever-aging workforce getting your team active now will pay off in the long run.
- Inspire Creativity – The Huffington Post sites research within the area of exercise, mood and creativity which found that working-out with an elevated heart rate can boost creativity for two hours post work-out. If you are looking across the table at a designer with ‘designers block’ it’s in your best interest to encourage them to take a break a go for a jog.
These mental benefits are just the tip of iceberg, combined with the positive impact on physical health your business could see improvements to:
- business performance
- staff morale
- employee engagement
In addition to reducing:
- accidents and work-related ill health;
- absenteeism and sick pay
- insurance costs
The negative physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle are well publicised but it’s important to realise as an individual and as an employer – if a person is not getting regular exercise it impacts cognitive ability as well as health.
Speak to our team today to find out how POWR Life can help maximise your employee performance – firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Jonathan O’Connell – Wrkit CEO