We all know that we “should” exercise daily. But the reality is…life gets in the way.
Realistically we are a time-poor generation and being “too busy” to exercise is often a legitimate excuse. However, we are also VERY good at making exercise our last priority. There are weeks when our workload, family time and “life admin” are out of control and we literally don’t have a spare second. But there are also weeks where sitting on the couch scrolling through social media, or that wine catch up with a friend is far more appealing than getting sweaty and having to actually motivate ourselves to physically move our bodies.
Over a year ago, we started “Exercise Club” here at PHG Docklands. Being a bunch of health professionals, most of us are exercise fanatics but we are also human and for us too, life gets in the way. To counteract that, we decided to practice what we preach and really be the leaders in driving workplace wellness.
Here is a sneak peak at how we built “Exercise Club” into our workplace and why it was the best decision we have ever made.
What we do?
Every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4pm our diaries are blocked for “Exercise Club”. We put on our exercise gear and do a solid 40 minutes of simple, body weight exercise. It varies from pilates, strength training, sprinting, conditioning, yoga, high intensity interval training…even stretching.
We have a quick 10 minute shower before getting back to treating clients for the rest of the day.
After… we feel on top of the world!
- It improves culture and team spirit. Since starting exercise club we have seen a massive rise in the sense of community and culture within our team. It allows us to connect on a personal level and also just have fun. Because we have varied lunch breaks and see clients all day, we rarely get to talk about non-work related ‘stuff’. This has resulted in increased communication and work-ethic in professional team activities too. Win – win.
- It improves productivity. The government issued guidelines via NICE in 2015 on how promoting a wellness in the workplace is “good management and leads to healthy and productive workplaces”. Further research has shown that workers who spent 30-60 minutes at lunch exercising reported an average performance boost of 25 percent. Sixty percent of employees said their time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines improved on the days they exercised. We definitely agree with the research and have also noticed; improved concentration, enhanced creativity, faster learning and more importantly lower stress.
- It will improve your heart and overall physical health “Sitting is the new smoking” With the emergence of research around the dangers of sitting, we are beginning to understand the multiple work-related musculoskeletal disorders and health concerns it can lead to…heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, depression. Research suggests that nearly 70 percent of Australian adults do not get the recommended out of regular exercise each week (2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity). This proves that creating a culture of regular exercise is a critical to ensuring your employees are physically well.
- It will improve mental health. Just like our physical health, we all need to make time look after our mental health. It’s important to remember that physical activity not only improves the body’s ability to move but also clears the mind and works the brain. Exercise and regular activity also happen to be one of the best management strategies for overstressed-workers. We are all aware that healthier employees are happier, work harder, help their team-mates and are more efficient. Since starting exercise club we have also noticed an impressive increase in employee engagement and workplace satisfaction. So although it seems like physical activity would tire you out, it actually leads to a happier more energetic YOU.
- Exercise saves your business money in the long run. Each year, more than a million working people in the Australia experience a work-related illness that costs the economy over 20 million dollars year. Healthier staff means fewer absences due to illness. Which in turn will increase culture, trust, productivity…the list goes on.
Should you do it too?…YES!
Exercise in the workplace isn’t a new idea but it’s such a clear win-win in terms of health, morale and productivity and so I think it deserves to be put in the spotlight once more. Why stay at your desk feeling tired, frustrated, sleepy, less productive, more likely to develop serious health problems and gain weight when you could spend 30-40 minutes working out with your colleagues and reduce all of these risks. Here at PHG, we are a prime example of how you don’t need to install an in-house gym for your team. A little space, commitment from your team and willingness to embrace some sweat is all you need.
After all, we spend 60%+ of our day often at work, we all should try to make it a healthier, happier, WELL place. So grab some colleagues, make it a commitment, lock it in to your diary and go for gold! Let us know how you do. If you’re interested in starting up a workplace wellness program and would like some assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Clodagh is a Clinical Services Manager and Physiotherapist at PHG Docklands.