Fitting in Fitness: Solutions for Working Populations
Written by: Becky McGraw, Health Fitness Specialist and Elisa Denning, Sr. Director Marketing/PR
Studies show the average working adult spends nine to 10 hours per day sitting. To put that into context, let’s think of the typical employee on the typical work day. For most, the day starts by sitting in a car to commute, then arriving at a desk to sit and answer emails or phone calls. At lunch we sit to eat, followed by more sitting at a desk or in meetings. A few hours later, it’s back to the vehicle for a commute home. Not counting any sitting at home before or after work, this adds up to a lot of sitting!
To address the sitting epidemic, many employers are converting to sit-to-stand work stations. This is certainly helping reduce sitting time, but many employees are still unable to meet minimum requirements for physical activity associated with healthy lifestyle and reduced risks for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. This is what we aim to change.
Incorporating exercise into a busy work day is not easy. We schedule meetings, doctor’s appointments and haircuts, but seldom do we block off time for working out. When life becomes hectic, fitness tends to be one of the first tasks dropped from the priority list. Employees and employers have a hand in changing this perspective. We’ve outlined some tips to help fit fitness into a busy work day and stimulate a healthier, more productive workforce.
1. Use your commute.
If you live in a bike-friendly or run-friendly community, determine if using an alternative and healthier form of transportation is possible. You may also be less stressed by not having to deal with rush hour traffic before and after work.
Dedicate a space for secure bike storage where employees can lock up their bikes during the workday, or initiate a bike share program where employees can check out/return bikes using trails around a corporate campus.
2. Get moving in meetings.
Take a break from the conference room and discuss topics on the move. If you can walk outside, the fresh air and sunshine can also help everyone feel more productive.
Make net-walking meetings a call to action across your departments. Post maps of safe walking paths around the workplace in 1 to 2-mile distances. This can help empower managers to shift their meeting environments and reinforce a fit and healthy employee culture.
3. Rise and shine.
Wake up a little earlier to fit in an express workout. Exercising at the beginning of the day means there is less chance of another task getting in your way. Plus, kicking off the day by releasing endorphins will help reduce stress and anxiety levels meaning you should be more productive!
Work with your Fitness Management Team to deliver sunrise yoga or other group workouts on the lawn or in an open space inside the building to account for weather. This visible demonstration in front of the workforce inspires healthy actions for employees.
4. Use your body.
If you are at a desk most of the day, there are a variety of body weight exercises you can do even if you are on the phone. Squats, wall sits, lunges and triceps dips are just a few examples of how you can get fit without leaving your work space.
Leverage your workplace social feed where employees and your Fitness Management partner can promote, share, like, and comment on their favorite “deskercise” workout.
5. Try mini-workouts.
A one hour workout is 4% of your day but if you are short on time, schedule in short workouts like the Scientific 7 Minute Workout. Even if you can fit in a round a couple times a day, seven minutes of exercise is better than zero!
Your onsite fitness team can set up a mini-workout space with timed stations that employees can complete in short blocks of time. Kick off a campaign like, Fit Fridays or Workout Wednesdays and invite Executive Leaders to use the space. Share images in the company communications to encourage all employees to take advantage of the benefit.
Becky McGraw is a Health Fitness Specialist at Corporate Fitness Works. She has a BS in Kinesiology, is a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and a Level 1 RRCA and USATF certified running coach. Becky enjoys ultramarathon runs, especially on the trails.
Elisa Denning is Senior Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Corporate Fitness Works and has nearly 20 years experience working in the field of corporate health and fitness. Elisa has a BS in Kinesiology and is a certified Spinning Instructor. Outside of leading marketing strategies that help to ‘Move Everybody’, Elisa enjoys teaching fitness classes, singing, cooking and spending time with family.