Ensuring proper levels of physical activity is crucial to maintain overall health and well-being. Indeed, exercising for approximately 30 minutes a day, five times a week can offer a range of benefits, such as improving mental health, decreasing the risk of obesity, lowering blood pressure, preventing bone loss and decreasing the risk of heart disease.
As an employer, promoting an active lifestyle can help foster workplace well-being and reduce your risk of employees suffering from serious health complications. Consider the following initiatives to get your organisation up and moving.
Activities and Programmes
- Exercise classes— You can target different populations by providing a variety of classes at different times. Some people will be attracted to intense aerobic activity, while others will prefer slower-paced classes. Generate excitement by introducing new kinds of exercise throughout the year, such as tai chi, kickboxing, yoga and Pilates.
- Walk for charity— Some people may be motivated to get fit by the thought of helping those in need. Select a good cause – or several – and encourage employees to participate in a charity walk/run. You could even sponsor one that starts at your workplace.
- Walking buddy— People are more likely to stick with their exercise plan when they have a buddy or group for motivation. Provide incentives to encourage employees to team up or form walking groups. Also, hand out maps of walking routes that begin and end at the workplace.
- Pre-shift stretching— If sprains, strains and back pain are common occurrences at your job site, group stretching before the start of each shift can help improve job performance and prevent injury. Even for those at desk jobs, a morning stretch or yoga class can get the blood flowing and increase energy levels for the rest of the day.
- Company football game— Turn your annual picnic into a fun and active day on the pitch. Provide healthy drinks and lunch. Running, passing, and shooting will build morale and improve fitness at the same time.
- Bike racks— Offer convenient, safe and highly visible locations for employees to park their bicycles. Combine this initiative with an incentive programme that encourages employees to bike to work or bike during lunch. Provide bike route maps, free water bottles with your company logo and a chance to win a new bicycle.
- Flexible schedules—Offer flexible work hours to allow time for exercising during the day.
- Encourage walking meetings— When feasible, suggest that employees engage in “walk and talk” meetings, rather than sitting in a conference room.
- Provide showers— If possible, provide shower facilities on-site to encourage employees to exercise during the day.
- Gym membership— Show your company’s commitment to health by providing well-being-boosting incentives like free or discounted gym memberships. This can be the motivation some people need to start exercising regularly. Solicit local gyms for discount packages or free promotional offers.
- Pedometers— These are great incentives that encourage employees to stick to their exercise programme by measuring steps and estimating distances. Encourage employees to take 6,000 steps daily for health or 10,000 steps daily for weight loss. A walking challenge can boost motivation for employees to get started.
- Running shoes— Boost participation in an exercise programme by offering a coupon for free or discounted running shoes.
- Sporting goods store gift certificate— Sports merchandise will help equip your employees to swim, run or engage in other physical activity. Your local sporting goods store may be willing to work with your company to create this incentive package, since it is sure to bring more fitness-focused customers into their store.
- Exercise videos— Some people are more comfortable exercising in the privacy and convenience of their own home. For these individuals, an at-home exercise regime can start with a motivational exercise video, either in the form of a DVD or online resource. Be sure to offer a variety of options, including for beginners, aerobics and the latest fitness trends.
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