Physical activity in the workplace
It is so important to be physically active in the workplace.
Canadians spend more than half their waking hours at work, and many find it difficult to be physically active during the day. If you are unable to be active during your work day, you may not be active at all. Being physically active can:
- reduce the risk of chronic disease development such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease
- increase productivity
- increase a sense of well being, morale and job satisfaction
- reduce the risk of injuries
- reduce absenteeism
- reduce stress levels
- improve/enhance your overall health and fitness
How physically active should you be?
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, as an adult between the ages of 18 and 64 years you should spend at least 150 minutes per week on moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity. It is also important to do some muscle and bone strengthening activities at least two days a week.
How can you be physically active at work?
- ride your bike or walk to and from work
- use the stairs instead of the elevator
- park your car a further distance from work or get off the bus a few stops early and walk the remaining distance
- participate in walking meetings
- get up and move around at least every hour
- go for walks or jog during break time
- form a walking club at work
- work out at your local gym on your way to or from work
- take the longer route to the photocopier
- talk to a coworker in person instead of emailing
- stretch before shifts, during breaks and at the end of the day
Remember to be physically active during off work-hours as well.
What can you do as an employer?
- raise awareness about the importance of being physically active during the work day
- provide educational resources, for example, pamphlets related to being physically active
- provide skill building/education sessions related to physical activity (e.g. use of pedometers) for your employees
- provide employees with subsidies for physical activities, for example, gym memberships
- provide onsite bike racks and/or showers
- promote walking meetings
- promote stretching and movement (standing) during meetings that last longer than an hour
- promote physical activity challenges such as a walking challenge
- have a qualified instructor lead onsite group physical activities (e.g. Zumba or yoga) during the lunch hour
- allow flexible time for employees who wish to participate in some physical activity (e.g. working out at a nearby gym)
- develop a physical activity policy for your workplace
Contact the Sudbury & District Health Unit Workplace Health Team at 705.522.9200 or 1.866.522.9200.
Find Out More:
Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/07paap-eng.php
Health Canada – Healthy Living – Physical Activity: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/physactiv/index-eng.php and http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/maintain-adopt/weights-poids-eng.php
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology – www.csep.ca/guidelines
Alberta Centre for Active Living – Physical Activity at Work: http://www.ualberta.ca/~active/workplace/beforestart/benefits-bottom-line.html
This item was last modified on July 30, 2015