Workplace Exercise, Health and Wellbeing Top Tips
Move More @Work
- Take regular breaks from your computer. Set reminders on your calendar to encourage you to stand and move every 30-60 minutes. For most, the longest uninterrupted sitting time occurs from 2-5pm.
- Stand or pace whilst answering the telephone. Try a sit-stand desk.
- Stand for the minutes/any other business sections of meetings or take a walking meeting.
- Walk over to your colleague's desk to talk rather than emailing, instant messaging or calling them.
- Swap the chair for an exercise ball. Whilst you're still sitting, you'll be working your core muscles whilst you sit.
- Organise your workplace so that things aren't within reach. Make sure the printer is on the far side of the office, for example.
- Park your car further from the office so that you walk for longer.
- Leave your lunch in your car so that you have to walk to go and get it.
- Arrange lunch time activities for the workforce such as Pilates, Yoga or a game of table tennis.
- Take the stairs rather than the escalator/lift. You increase your heart rate and burn more calories!
- Set challenges with your colleagues, how many flights of stairs can you climb in 10 minutes, or how many steps can you walk at lunchtime?
- Deskercise – there are lots of exercises that you can complete from the comfort of your own desk such as the use of resistance bands, or desk yoga.
Active travel is an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity (walking and cycling) as opposed to motorised and carbon-dependent means.
We all rely heavily on cars and public transport, because they make our lives so easy. Whilst it can take a bit longer and you may not be able to do it for all of your journeys, making active travel choices is an easy way to fit activity into your day.
The benefits of active travel are huge. It reduces car travel and pollution, limits road danger and noise, increases the number of people out on the streets (making public spaces more welcoming), is free (or low cost), and has numerous physical and mental health benefits.
Walking to Work
Why should you walk to work?
You're in charge. You decide if you want to cut the route down, or run some errands along the way.
A reliable journey. There's no traffic when you walk, you're entirely in control.
Thinking time. Clear your head and de-stress - get to work in a better mood!
Easy exercise. Walking reguarly can build your fitness and help to reduce your risk of all kinds of health problems.
More pounds in your pocket. There is no doubt that walking is the cheapest method of travel. The only thing you'll be spending is calories!
Keep up to date with your community. Keep your eye out for all the changes that happen on your route - whether it's a new shop, restaurant or cafe, you'll be more likely to notice it if you're walking.
Cycling to Work
The Cycle to Work Scheme is designed to help you save money on a new bike for work by spreading the cost of a bike over 12 monthly tax-free installments through your employer.
- Your workplace registers with the scheme.
- You choose the bike you want.
- Your employer pays for it.
- You pay your employer back through 12 monthly installments taken through payroll.
Eat Well @Work
Liven Up Your Lunch
Many recipes can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge/freezer. There are multiple benefits to prepping your food:
- It can help save you money by making sure you always have something for lunch, meaning you don't have to buy pricier, ready-made meals at the supermarket or canteen.
- It can save you time in the evenings.
- It can help with weight control. You decide the ingredients and the size of your portions.
- It can reduce stress as you avoid last minute decisions about what to eat, or rushed preparation
- Not to forget having an extra 10 minutes in bed at the start of the day because your lunch is already prepared!
Crack Down on the Cakes
Snacks that appear in the office at every birthday/holiday etc. are often very energy dense and addictive, containing little in the way of nutritional value. Here are some low-sugar substitutions that still taste good but don't make you pile on the pounds:
- Fresh fruit – apples, bananas, pineapple, grapes, berries.
- Plain popcorn.
- Carrot/cucumber sticks and hummus.
- If you're going to bring in biscuits – go for ones that snap (ginger snaps) rather than those that crumble (shortbread) as they have a much lower fat content.
- Opt for plainer cakes and biscuits – avoid the chocolate-covered or cream-filled ones.
- Dried fruit, plain popcorn, unsalted nuts or fruit yoghurts are other good snacks.
Be Happy @Work
Being at work is important in promoting positive mental wellbeing. It increases self-esteem, provides a sense of fulfilment, and opportunities for social interaction. But it can have a negative impact on mental health too, being a significant source of stress in many people's lives.
Physical activity can have multiple benefits to mental and emotional health, including improvements to mood, reducing fatigue, relieving stress, increasing self-esteem, improved cognition, and supporting the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Tackle workplace stress and promote positive mental wellbeing in the workplace
- Use your lunch break to refresh ready for the afternoon. Take a short walk; get some exercise and a change of scenery.
- Make the office environment more comfortable. Keep your desk tidy, invest in a plant or something to brighten up your work area, and bring photos/things from home that make you smile.
- Avoid taking phone calls or checking emails outside of office hours.
- Make a note of when you find yourself getting stressed. This way you can identify the different triggers and try to avoid them.
- Take 5 minutes at your desk to relax. There are lots of apps which can help you to settle your breathing and relax your muscles.
- Share your problems/worries with someone else, a problem shared is a problem halved. Your line manager may be able to help to reduce some of your workload.
- Make time for you – plan things to look forward to in the evenings and at the weekends.
- Manage your time, get organised and try not to do too many things at once.
- Take some time off – you are entitled to holiday and annual leave so make sure you use it, to help you refresh.