Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Does your workplace support physical exercise?

How does physical activity fit into a full-time employee’s hectic schedule? Often times, it doesn’t.

One possible solution to this challenge is to make physical exercise a part of the work day. Clearly, being active at work is constructive for staff members. But employers also advance from having fit, energetic and healthy staff members who are more constructive.

Challenges You Face
  • Your job takes up an abundance of your time. In addition to the hours you spend actually on the job, there is the time needed to get to and from work and take lunch and rest breaks during the work day. In the end, there are a limited number of hours left over for the rest of your life. This work life imbalance is especially true for Alberta, where statistics show that we work exceptionally tough.
  • Many jobs today are sedentary, and numerous American citizens drive to work. The pressures of work may also cause us to eat lunch at our desks and skip breaks. Then, after work or on the weekends we juggle household chores, family responsibilities and social engagements.
Get started on a workplace fitness program...

Senior Management plays a key role in creating a culture that promotes health. The leaders at your workplace affect the various policies and the informal or formal practices, and these policies and practices affect your attitude towards healthy active living.

Begin by talking to your boss about the benefits of a healthy active workplace. The best way to ensure the success of a company exercise program is to have the management on side and cheering you on.

Ask your boss to consider taking these actions:
  • Send a memo or message about the significance of health and healthy living that encourages employee to take an active break each day.
  • Provide for flexible work hours that help employee to be more physically active. For example, they might need to take a longer lunch break to attend physical activity class, making up the time by arriving at work early or remaining late.
  • Provide a meeting room or other suitable office space for noon-hour yoga or workout classes, and hire a teacher to lead them, or use videos.
If your boss agrees to support a workplace exercise program, don’t forget to show appreciation.

You do not need an onsite fitness center...

Only very big organizations are able to afford on-Site fitness facilities such as exercise equipment or squash courts. Still, most employers are able to take other affordable steps to support workers who wish to become more active.

Lead by example – some easy solutions to getting started…
  • Arrange for discounted fees for staff members at a health club, recreation center or YMCA facility.Install showers and a place to hang a towel. (Make sure the showers are cleaned regularly and that women who use them will feel secure.)
  • Install bike racks or a locked enclosure that is safe, conveniently located and well lighted.Hold walking meetings and set up lunch-hour walking groups
  • Make staff members cognizant of safe and pleasant walking routes near the workplace, as well as nearby facilities that offer fitness programs (such as walking, swimming, running, yoga, stretching).
  • Find a certified instructor to instruct employee about health, fitness and how to become more active.
Any size and sort of workplace is able to promote staff members who wish to be physically active. It’s highly desirable to get upper management on side. Even if your boss isn’t supportive, you have the potential to still discover ways to get moving more. Set up activities for groups and individuals, and encourage your co-staff members to join in.

Working together as a team in and out of the office is rewarding and highly productive.  Plan a fun event outside of the office that promotes getting fit and having fun!

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