Physical Exercise in the Workplace

It’s no secret that exercising regularly is one of the most commonly broken new years’ resolutions. Why shouldn’t it be? It’s hard work, it’s sweaty, it’s off the couch, and it means not eating as many Doritos as you want. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you; exercise has been proven to aid in both physical and mental stress reduction, so it stands to reason that implementing it into a high stress environment would help lower the stress. In a work environment where stress reduction is a necessity for efficient and healthy workers, a little bit of exercise can be indispensable.

When you’re on an international flight, the in-flight safety movie suggests standing up and walking a few laps every couple of hours. The point of this is to get the blood moving and to loosen up the joints which, as the safety video tells us, can get locked up within a matter of hours. Now imagine what years of sitting in a chair for forty hours a week will do to your legs. My brother is currently beginning training for a marathon and even though he is a sprightly 25 year-old, he is having trouble getting started because he has ‘old man legs,’ as he says. That’s only from two years of working.

Being immobile leads to physical pain and physical pain leads to mental stress; that’s why it is important to exercise every day in the work place. Stress reduction means reducing physical stress too.. While walking around to stretch your legs every now and again is a start, there should be more complete options made available to employees. Understandably, not every company can afford their own work-out instructors and rock walls, but there should at least be a separate designated space where employees can do basic stretching without feeling silly.

Providing this for employees doesn’t need to be an extravagant cost. If you can’t pay the construction costs to build a new exercise room then make a conference room a designated stretching/aerobic exercise room for a few hours every day. This won’t cost you anything and it will give employees an option to increase stress reduction and get a good workout. The overall increase in work quality and employee satisfaction will be instantly noticeable. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself wanting to get some stress reduction in from time to time.

What are your thoughts on physical exercise in the workplace? Do you think your office could benefit from offering more exercise options? Tell us in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by GoToVan

  • rorytrotter86

    Thanks for the post, Bane.
     
    In theory I love the idea of exercise in the workplace, but honestly it’s really hard to find the time. Working out during lunch is out if for no other reason than working up a sweat and then returning to work is bad form. If one decides to shower after then between commute/actually eating/showering it just eats up too much time during the day.
     
    That said, this is a really good post and I agree that finding some time to stretch is an activity many employees would do well to take on.
     
    Best,
     
    Rory

    • @rorytrotter86 Thanks for commenting, Rory. I agree with you that working out during lunch can be time-consuming, yet somehow some workers are able to do it.
       
      I would say stretching exercises speak more to the majority of workers out there in terms of plausibility. It keeps things light. After all, no one wants to sweat while at work. It doesn’t need to be too complex or strenuous, just some simple stress reduction techniques that get you moving out of your seat.
       
      Thanks again for sharing!

  • rorytrotter86

    Interesting take, Bane.
     
    I’ve never really thought about exercise as a stress reduction technique, but honestly you’re right that it very much is one. Sometimes I get up and take a walk around the office to break out of a negative state. I never really thought about that as “exercise” but that’s really exactly what it is. 
     
    I’ll float the idea of stretch to my team in the office tomorrow and see if they’re receptive. 🙂
     
    Best,
     
    Rory