Increasing physical activity is a great way to improve health.
Physical activity can help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, strengthen bones and muscles, control weight and improve mental health.
It seems we are sitting for longer in front of our computers, in our cars and watching television. Only about half of Queensland adults do the recommended amount of physical activity—at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
A challenge for employers is to make it easier for workers to find at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. They can achieve this in 10 to 15 minute sessions—and it can be inexpensive.
Start with small changes and incorporate these into your workplace wellness program.
Ideas for action: being active at work
- Promote the use of stairs instead of lifts and elevators.
- Encourage employees to get out of their chairs, take a break and go for a lunchtime walk—let them know you support them being physically active at work.
- Organise lunchtime walking groups.
- Display local walking route maps.
- Promote active commuting (walking and cycling) to and from work by investing in showers, change rooms, lockers and bike storage.
- Support new policies to encourage physical activity at work.
- Use available rooms and open spaces for low-impact exercise sessions.
- Organise ‘walk and talk’ meetings to keep employees moving during the day.
- Reward employees with incentives such as subsidised gym memberships, team fun runs or group challenges (great for team building).
- Talk to your council about marking walking paths outside the building, or your landlord about a walking loop in your workplace.
- Display posters to recruit lunchtime walkers or team sport players.
- Promote the Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service.
Your program’s success can depend on:
- employee and management commitment to the program
- being active safely—start off with physical activity that is not too challenging and gradually build up activity levels to reduce the risk of injury
- building awareness of why an active lifestyle is important at work and at home—playing with the children or walking the dog can make a difference.