A whopping 80 percent of American jobs are considered sedentary and involve sitting, sometimes upwards of 10 hours per day. Research shows long periods of sitting can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and even an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Small changes can be made to increase activity and encourage healthy employees. Read on for several easy ways to sneak activity into sedentary jobs.
Workplace wellness ideas for healthy employees
Standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting. Encourage employees to stand more by installing standing workspaces. Those who work at a raised table or desk can lower their risk of obesity, improve posture and, according to one study, even extend their life up to two years!
Ditch the desk chair
Forgoing the standard desk chair and opting instead for a stability ball can put a little workout in employee work time. The benefits of sitting on a stability ball include improved posture, balance and core strength. Get the ball rolling by providing each department with several stability balls as seating options.
Hold walking meetings
Sitting in a meeting after sitting at a desk all day sounds like a drag. Try holding walking meetings instead. Walking meetings work best for small groups and can be an effective way to brainstorm, increase energy, improve engagement and, most importantly, increase employee fitness and activity. Participants may appreciate receiving a logo’d pedometer to track their daily steps. You may even want to enter regular participants in a drawing for a Walking Enthusiast Kit or fitness tracker. If your group is too large for a walking meeting, you can still hold a standing meeting. For best results, schedule it in the conference room or assembly area farthest from employee work areas.
There are several desk exercises employees can do— some are so discreet no one will even notice. Toe raises, calf raises and leg lifts are great for reviving still legs. Back twists, wall sits and glute squeezes give life to your middle section. Neck rolls, shoulder lifts and triceps dips are great for the neck and arms. If allowed, employees can even lift hand weights—or water bottles, in a pinch—right from their desks.
Employees who drink plenty of water tend to be healthy employees. But there’s a hidden benefit, too. Drinking lots of water gets employees up and moving (to the water cooler and the restroom). Those who are well hydrated often use the restroom hourly. This not only increases the number of times employees stand, it also increases their daily steps. Those looking to kick it up a notch can choose a restroom in a different department or on another floor. Kick off your water challenge with logo’d water bottles —employees are sure to appreciate the extra push!
Sneaking activity in every chance you get leads to happy, healthy employees. Give these ideas a try—a healthier, more active team awaits!