Physical activity is essential for good health and contributes to positive well being. Many of the leading causes of disease and disability in our society – such as coronary heart disease, strokes, obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), colorectal cancer, stress, anxiety, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and low back pain – are associated with physical inactivity.
For general health benefits, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days of the week. The 30 minutes of physical activity can be achieved either by doing all the daily activity in one session, or through several shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more. Any activity during leisure, working or travel counts. Physical activity includes activities such as walking, housework, cycling, gardening and dancing, as well as participation in sport and formal exercise. However, only 3 out of 10 people in England participate in the minimum levels of activity necessary to promote health.
Why encourage physical activity at work?
The workplace is an important setting in which people can increase their levels of activity to benefit their health and protect against illness. Physical activity helps people to manage stress, back pain, weight and medical conditions. Physically active employees also report less illness and recover more quickly from the illnesses they do get. Employees engaged in physical activity initiatives have reported greater enjoyment of their work, improved concentration and mental alertness and improved cooperation and rapport with colleagues.
Benefits to employers
- Less sickness absence – people who take regular physical activity are more resistant to illness and recover more quickly
- Increased productivity
- Boost staff morale
Benefits to employees
- Weight management
- Looking and feeling good
- Feeling valued, leading to high morale and increased job satisfaction
- Better working conditions – Bike racks etc..
- Better working relationships