Canadians are becoming increasingly inactive—a worrisome trend that is contributing to the country’s rising obesity rates. According to a recent report by ParticipACTION, commissioned by a Senate Committee, just 15 percent of Canadians are getting the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. What’s more, Canadians are averaging just 12 minutes of activity each day.

With our infamously frigid Canadian winter on the horizon, motivation to get active can become even more elusive. After all, once old man winter arrives, it’s cold, there’s less daylight and people tend to go into hibernation mode. But physical activity doesn’t have to suffer. Learn several employee wellness activities to keep staff active this winter.

4 winter workplace wellness activities

  • Walk: A Livestrong® article says walking 10,000 steps a day is equivalent to 30-minutes of strenuous exercise or about an 8-kilometre walk. Even when the snow is falling and wind is blowing, employees can go for a stroll. Hospitals or clinic hallways, nearby malls or a church gymnasium make perfect makeshift tracks. Promote workplace wellness activities with organized group walks over lunches, before work or after work. Throw in logo’d pedometers to help employees track their progress. You may even want to hold a draw for those who consistently meet their 10,000-step goal. A fitness mat  or walking pouch make great incentives.
  • Rake or shovel: Yard work can be excellent exercise. According to WebMD®, raking and bagging leaves burns 350 to 450 calories per hour, and shovelling burns 400 to 600 calories per hour. Put these employee wellness activities into overdrive by organizing a team service day. Gather volunteers to complete yard clean up for your community’s elderly or disabled. Provide participants with logo’d hats or scarves that serve both to thank participants and to give your group a unified look.
  • Make movement imminent: Do you have a piece of equipment that staff uses frequently? com says move it. Place printers, garbage cans or other frequently accessed equipment out of reach to encourage movement. A team-wide boycott of elevators and front-row parking promotes extra physical activity, too.
  • Organize winter wellness activities: Does your team regularly get together for activities outside of work? Offer to host the next one at your neighbourhood ice skating rink, sledding hill, snow-shoeing trail, etc. Provide free or discounted admission to promote participation. Top the night off with a small parting gift—perhaps a logo’d mug  filled with hot cocoa.

Don’t let physical activity suffer just because it is winter. There are plenty of ways to get staff up and moving—try one or more of these employee wellness activities, or try one of your own. Just keep moving!

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