THE POWER OF EXERCISE AND WHY IT MATTERS AT WORK

It’s no secret that exercise has a whole host of physical benefits. It’s the reason we hear of major employers like Google and Facebook installing slides and ping pong tables as part of extensive employee wellness programmes. But does exercise actually make a difference to employee productivity and well-being?

 

EXERCISE AT WORK – THE SCIENCE BIT

When we think about the value of exercise, we tend to focus on the physical benefits; lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, toning up. But evidence suggests that there is another, more immediate benefit of regular exercise: the impact on the way we think and work.

Research has proven that our physical exertions are directly linked to brain power. Nowhere are the implications of exercise more relevant than when it comes to our performance at work. Regular exercise can directly contributes to:

  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper memory
  • Faster learning
  • Prolonged mental stamina
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Lower stress

Exercise has also been shown to improve your mood, a factor that has all sorts of implications on workplace dynamics both in terms of colleagues and customer relationships. So with exercise and workplace performance being directly linked the Employee Wellness programmes of some major companies doesn’t sound so frivolous, in fact it makes perfect sense.

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

But you don’t have to be an organisation the size of Google to implement positive exercise initiatives. AgileCadence took their first steps towards improving employee health and fitness by setting up a simple Strava group. With employees in Scotland, England, India and New Zealand, this was a perfect way to unite the team and encourage a bit of healthy competition. With a ‘Most Improved’ prize every month, everyone is encouraged to do what they can, no matter how little.

 

MAKE IT FUN

It’s all very well encouraging your team to exercise but it’s got to be fun, or no-one will do it. The key is to identify what your employees like doing. The addition of a virtual reality based turbo trainer in an adjoining office has prompted even the most inexperienced cyclists to have a go in their lunch break and take up their place in the league tables. Egged on by the more enthusiastic road bikers, everyone is being encouraged to have a go. For the runners there are team entries into The lluminator and The Spartan Race, as well as family events and getting the kids involved with junior obstacle courses.

 

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

There’s no point investing in equipment or introducing a No Lunch at Your Desk policy unless the boss is willing to lead by example. If it’s a nice day, don’t sit round the boardroom table, get outside and walk and talk. Or if you know your colleague likes to jog then schedule a meeting at the same time as your lunchtime run.

 

REMEMBER…

It’s easy to put off exercise but with research clearly showing the cognitive benefits, it makes sense for employers to prioritise the health and well-being of their staff. Follow AgileCadence on LinkedIn or keep an eye on the blog for more sporting news from the AgileCadence team!