You’ve likely heard already that “sitting is the new smoking.” This is true, in a sense, despite the contrived drama. After all, no one has died yet from second-hand sitting.
What those experts are talking about is that a more sedentary lifestyle can be as bad for your health as other habits we’ve been told for years to change or quit.
Thanks to technology, many of us spend as much as one-third of our day in a chair at a computer or a phone. But there are many things that can be done in the workplace to burn calories, move muscles or be mindful of wellness opportunities.
Harvard Business Review reported, on average, employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives saw $6 in healthcare savings for every dollar invested.
An effective corporate wellness incentives program is good for employers too. Studies show employee wellness is directly linked to performance, production and even retention. Health care costs and absenteeism are reduced, and increased engagement adds to positive morale.
Get on Your Feet
The simple act of standing up every now and then helps circulation and can even extend your life expectancy compared to some who don’t. Consider a Standing Desk to start. No exercise needed; they can be adjusted to your height when standing, or smaller adjustments to mitigate neck and back strain from maintaining constant positions over time. Plus, if you’re really feeling like Indiana Jones, you can set your desk over your treadmill and walk while you work.
Launch a Step Competition
A little healthy competition can make all the difference in motivating a team to make exercise a daily thing. Employers or team leaders can create challenges and incentives for employees to reach goals or outdo each other. A step competition is easily done with FitBits or inexpensive pedometers. Just be considerate of the fitness levels of your co-workers and remind everyone that the goal is to be healthy and not prioritize the “win.” Rewards can be given for milestones instead of wins, so everyone stays motivated to reach personal goals.
Or, go the extra mile (literally) and make your next meeting a walking meeting. Get work done while enjoying fresh air. Wellness experts say you are likely to log more good ideas from the change in environment.
Just Keep Moving
For less than $50, you can put a pedi-bike under your desk and pedal throughout the day. If it’s too hot or too cold outside, or you just can’t leave your desk, these little contraptions help improve blood circulation and heart rate, and might even make a difference in pesky cellulite. They have also been shown to help individuals who have trouble on stairs.
Make a Bigger Change
While it may not be possible for all companies, consider an arrangement to make lunch breaks longer. With a standard 30 minutes for lunch, many people search for fast food so they can get back to work. Large companies are moving to provide 90 minutes or more to allow employees to visit the gym, eat and walk, or prepare healthier food for themselves.