It is recommended that adults should get 150 minutes of exercise per week, but most people blame work commitments for not getting enough time to exercise and be regularly active. The benefits of exercise for employees sharpen the mind, keeping them alert and agile, thus resulting in increased productivity at work, which affects the bottom line and the profits for the firm. What scientists have found out has been well documented, that physical activity causes changes in the brain, such as the release of endorphins. This definitely impacts the mood, energy levels, self-esteem of individuals and encourages high achievers.
An employee who is physically fit is less likely to take sick leave and is generally immune to the bug going around the office.
Here are simple ideas that can be introduced into a professional’s everyday work life, to encourage exercise, physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Walking is the best form of exercise, which is cheap, that everybody can do and that which does not require much of an effort. Encourage employees to walk to work and if this is not feasible, then they can make this a part of their daily routine during lunch breaks or other breaks. They could also park their vehicles about 20 minutes away from work and walk the rest of the distance or get off an earlier stop on their bus and train routes and walk the rest of the way.
To make this more competitive and if budgets permit, every employee can be given track pants, pedometers and apps such as Fitbit, that can track the number of steps over a day, week and a month. Create a league where employees who walk the most in a week or a month are rewarded with prizes and recognition. There is nothing like a friendly competition to get people committed to this program. Out of this exercise (and there is definitely a pun intended here), a great camaraderie can be created.
Cycle to work
Like walking, cycling to work is also a great way to incorporate exercise into a daily routine. Have a designated area in the parking lot for cycles that is safe and is clean as well. Let employees know that by doing this, they will help in reducing air pollution and also save on gas and the cost of buying cars and bikes. Provide lockers and showers to employees who cycle to work and enable them to leave a change of clothes at the workplace.
Make the workplace exercise-friendly
Have a yoga or fitness instructor conduct sessions on a regular basis at the workplace. Identify employees who can take on the role of motivators for these sessions or even walks and runs, before during or after work.
Encourage exercise during a work day
Provide exercise benefits in the form of discounted rates or a complete package at the local gym. Make it clear that an hour or so of exercise during the work day will not be frowned upon, as long as it does not conflict with meetings and deadlines.
Encouraging any form of exercise is a win-win situation, both for the employee and the employer.