Physical activity can help employees in many ways, including reducing stress, improving mood, reducing risk of chronic diseases and controlling weight.
Just over half (56.7%) of all Washoe County adults get the recommended amount of daily exercise. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) of Washoe County adults report not doing any leisure time exercise or physical activity at all in the past 30 days. Even with our beautiful location and amazing weather, we exercise less than the rest of Nevada and the nation. Lack of exercise can contribute to a number of costly chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Adults need 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking) each week; or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (like running or jogging) each week. Activity should be done in segments of at least 10 minutes, and although a person can get all their weekly activity on one day it is best if it is spread throughout the week.
Promoting physical activity at the workplace can be done in very simple ways and does not need a full workplace wellness program to get started. Supporting physical activity and encouraging employees to participate in these types of activities has been shown to benefit both the employee and the employer.
The Top 5 Free Ways to Increase Employee Physical Activity:
- Encourage employees to use their breaks to go for a walk. Provide a map of 15-minute walking routes around the office and property.
- Encourage a “Minimum Distance Policy” for email and phone. Encourage employees to email or phone a co-worker only if they’re beyond easy walking distance.
- Promote “Elevator Free Fridays” and encourage employees to take the stairs on that day. Move existing office artwork or posters into the stairwell to make the space more inviting.
- Take stand-and-stretch breaks during all meetings. Better yet, with a small group, have “walk-and-talk” meetings instead of sitting down.
- Promote participation in events that are already in the community like Bike to Work Week, or other activities like a fundraising walk/run or competition.
There are numerous other options available. Use your imagination and remember to lead by example.
For more information on supporting physical activity at your workplace, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthier Worksite Initiative (HWI).