We’ve all been there. The meeting that overruns and eats into your planned lunchtime walk. The colleague who books a call over your ‘keep free’ slot so you’ve no longer got time to move. The deadline that appears out of nowhere and throws your workout plans out of the window.
And you’re not alone. In our recent survey of over 1000 employees, 72% want to be more active but 86% feel they have too much work to move during their working day.
These numbers are startling. Our bodies are made to move. The NHS even calls movement ‘the miracle cure we’ve always had.’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a simple walk can improve our sleep, thinking and learning, while reducing symptoms of anxiety. We perform better on tests of memory and attention. We generate new ideas, we have flashes of insight.
And according to the NHS, physical activity reduces our risk of depression by up to 30%.
In short, movement supports our physical, mental and social wellbeing. It makes us more creative and productive at work too.
Despite movement being our secret superpower, we’ve heard that many employees are struggling to get enough of it. So how can we get more movement into our busy working days?
Remember that any, and every, movement counts, so start small. Here are a few simple ideas…
- Organise a walking meeting with your team, dial in and get outside
- Avoid the lift, take the stairs (or if you’re on the 30th floor, get out the lift at floor 25 and walk the rest of the way)
- Try a standing desk and a balance board
- Wherever you’re going, take the long way round
- Set a break timer to stand up and stretch every hour
- Turn your commute into a walk or a cycle. Get off the tube a stop earlier and walk that little bit further to the office. If you work from home, schedule a commute into your day
- Give micro-workouts a try. Every time you break for the loo or go to put the kettle on, do 10 burpees, squats, lunges or even star jumps. They’ll add up over the day!
Worryingly, 63% of employees only go outside for 10 minutes or less during their working day.
Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve our health and happiness. Just 20 minutes in a park can create huge improvements in our wellbeing. It’s even been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate.
So head out for a walk in your local park during your next walking meeting, you may be surprised at the benefits it brings!
Block out time in your calendar
Our research found that only 15% of employees consistently block out time in their day to get outside, while 67% of employees want to do so!
We all know what happens. We block out time in our diary and then it’s all too easy for that time to vanish as soon as deadlines and meetings start to pile up. If this is going to work, everyone needs to learn to respect that time and you’ve got to hold firm. Block out the time in your calendar and then get moving. Don’t compromise and don’t apologise.
Set yourself a clear goal
Commit to at least 30 minutes of movement, or 10,000 steps, every day. Having a clear, tangible goal to work towards will help you stay on track. You could even try a habit tracker to follow your progress!
Make it a team effort
When it comes to motivation, a healthy dose of accountability goes a long way. We know that by yourself it’s nearly impossible to find the motivation needed to get up and out there on a daily basis. You remain in bed. The sports kit remains in the bag. And your goals remain a long way off.
What you really need is support and encouragement. A fan club that incentivises you and a community that gives you the motivation to keep moving.
You don’t want to let others down so you’ll never skip a session. You don’t want to be the weakest link so you’ll push yourself harder. And you’re never alone so you’ll enjoy yourself more.
So whether it’s friends, family or colleagues, make movement a team effort and together, you’ll move more.