During a recent doctor visit we talked about my exercise and health routines. I was surprised by some of the information he shared with me. I personally go to the gym, lift weights, do TRX programs, run and do other cardio exercises. My doctor said my program was pretty extensive but does need not be that extensive to stay in shape.
He says maintaining a healthy exercise routine can be “as simple as walking for twenty minutes a day at a normal pace”. Extensive cardio isn’t necessary, simple exercise is enough to have an effect on your body’s physiology. Keep in mind I am no doctor, I’m simply repeating what a qualified medical professional shared with me (my little disclaimer).
The Sitting Disease
New studies have shown sitting for three hours a day can cut two years off your life. When you sit your muscles shut down completely and stop doing the things that have positive effects on our body. Movement aids in filtering blood, removing toxins, building better and stronger muscles and burning calories. Our hunter-gather roots as a species show that humans were not designed to sit around all day and now we are paying for high priced studies to tell us what we already knew.
Many individuals who sit constantly at their desk for an 8-hour period without movement will eventually end up with medical problems such as diabetes, back problems and other chronic health issues.
Encourage Healthy Practices
Employers should encourage employees to get up and take walks after lunch or during breaks. People who take a short exercise break are more alert and more productive when they return to their workstation.
Moving twenty minutes a day seems to be the magic number. Any employer that can get their employees moving more are far more likely to see tangible results in preventative health measures, productivity and profits.
Many companies are saving big money by encouraging physical activity among workers by implementing a unique employee benefit plan and creating health programs that encourage physical activity. A few examples:
- Municipal employees in Toronto missed 3.35 fewer days in the first six months of their MetroFitness program compared to those who did not enroll
- With only 60% of employees participating, Coca-Cola was able to save $500 a year per employee through their company fitness program
- BC Hydro employees that enrolled in a work-sponsored fitness program had a turnover rate of only 3.5% (the company average is 10.3%)
Making it out to the gym or health club is sometimes not possible (or not preferred) so suggesting simple exercises and walking can help improve your ROI. Simple educational efforts like putting up informative posters on healthy lifestyle choices and the benefits of exercise can go a long way with those who are uninformed. Avoid bringing in donuts and try doing a “healthy snack day” instead.
Tell employees to use their employee benefit plan to take care of themselves. They will be healthier and both of you will be a lot happier!