Written by Toni Sperlbaum
“Going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin” – Dr. John J. Ratey, Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
We all know that exercise has its benefits, but do we really understand the effects exercise can have during a work day and long term health? Based on an Australian study in 2012, adults sitting 11+ hours/day were 40% more likely to die (although cause of death was not noted). Smokers using 10 cigarettes/day are 30% more likely to die.
Simply standing 3 hours during your work days instead of sitting burns 36,000 calories a year – that’s the energy equivalent of running 10 marathons!
Providing employees with the right environment to be active is key. Here are some ideas to make your office active:
1. Provide standing desks for all employees or standing desk options in personal spaces, or “bar” height bistro tables in conference rooms. 2. In at least one conference room, provide a standing conference desk. Meetings with these desks have proven to be more productive and take less time (after all, everyone wants to be done standing!) 3. Have walking meetings, especially if notes don’t need to be taken 4. Provide an indoor bike rack for employees to encourage riding to work 5. Provide a handful of treadmill desks where employees can step away from their regular desk and check emails at the treadmill desk and get some extra steps in (note: do NOT place this treadmill in the MIDDLE of your office. No one wants to be the center of attention and the only one on a treadmill) 6. Stemming from tip #5, set up different areas of activity in your office. Have a “quiet” section and an “active” section (where your treadmill desks, maybe some yoga balls, bands, etc. will be) 7. If you are building a new facility, make sure to include a shower or two. This will remove one barrier to exercise for your employees! 8. Encourage standing during calls (and if you do, provide employees with an Anti-Fatigue mat to stand on) 9. Lastly, encourage stair use vs. elevator use and use visual prompts
Multi-dimensional interventions work the best
Information presented by Jake Koenig, owner of “Fit Your Space” in Brooklyn, NY, at the 2015 National Wellness Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1van der Ploeg, 2012, NCBI, Jacobs DR Jr 1999, NCBI