The theme for week two of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month is about the mind-body connection. From a mental health perspective, we know that physical activity can:
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Help combat depression
- Improve cognitive function
- Improve self-efficacy
- Illicit a sense of pride and accomplishment
I think we can all agree the above outcomes can only help employee performance, right? But with 46% of Canadians still reported as being inactive, how do we get employees to see those benefits? How do we get more employees to embrace regular physical activity?
I believe the only way to bring about sustainable change is to start by being positive. Make it so employees are intrinsically motivated to start and continue to be physically active. Consider the following ideas:
- Create an environment that allows for time to move away from the cubicle by encouraging associates to take their entitled breaks. Invite them to book time in their calendar for 15 minutes in the morning, afternoon and an hour lunch.
- Teach employees the importance of breath. When we are stressed and/or sitting at our desks for extended periods of time we may experience muscular tension and fatigue. Tuning into the breath can do wonders!
- In fact, why not have a 15 minute yoga program created for employees to fit in during a break? That way you get the stress-reduction breath work while also bringing their bodies back into alignment.
- If you are offering workplace wellness programs, be sure to give options. Not everyone feels comfortable in a group exercise setting. Not everyone’s body is capable of certain activities. Not everyone wants to have a high-intensity, sweat-inducing workout. Everyone benefits by finding exercise that is comfortable for them and provides a positive experience.
- Organize Lunch n Learns that allow associates to explore the notion that any kind of movement can produce lasting benefits. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Lifestyle Physical Activities are things that can be incorporated into an individual’s daily routine without taking up too much time. Parking the car further away from the office’s front entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator are just a couple of ideas.
- Offer private coaching to employees who are uncomfortable engaging in physical activity in front of others so they can work through any barriers that exist for them and develop an individually appropriate plan with the assistance of a professional.
There are lots of opportunities for our workforce to engage in regular physical activity. We just have to relax the expectations, expand our idea of what constitutes exercise and provide a safe, supportive and enjoyable experience for all.
Define Me is now offering a unique and comprehensive Workplace Wellness program for companies looking to make a difference in their organization’s overall health. If you know of an organization that is looking for a workplace wellness solution, a program that engages employees and improves productivity, have them CONTACT US today.
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