Categories
Fitness Sports Wellness

Boosting Workplace Well-being: Celebrating National Employee Health and Fitness Day

National Employee Health and Fitness Day is a national observance celebrated the third Wednesday in May and was created to promote the benefits of physical activity for individuals through their work site health promotion activities.

Well-being is the ability of individuals to address normal stresses, work productively, and realize one’s highest potential. Research shows that employees in good health are more likely to deliver optimal performance in the workplace. Healthy employees not only have better quality of life, but they also benefit from having a lower risk of disease, illness, and injury, as well as increased work productivity and a greater likelihood of contributing to their communities.

Apart from assisting employees in maintaining a work-life balance and enhancing their overall health, organizations are exploring supplementary wellness benefits. These may include recognition programs, paid time off, leadership training, and community volunteer projects, contributing to improved well-being and increased overall engagement in the workplace.

Reasons Why Fitness in The Workplace is Important

The significance of fitness in the workplace has grown considerably as employers seek avenues to foster the health and well-being of their employees. Numerous compelling reasons underscore the importance of workplace fitness, benefiting both employees and employers alike.

Improved physical health

Regular exercise has demonstrated effectiveness in lowering the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This is particularly crucial for individuals with prolonged working hours or sedentary occupations. Exercise contributes to better posture by strengthening the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, facilitating the pulling back of shoulders and enhancing overall alignment.

Increased mental health

Exercise has been proven to positively impact mental health by diminishing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This can aid employees in sustaining their mental well-being and fostering increased productivity in the workplace.

Reduced stress

Regular exercise has been demonstrated to lower stress levels and encourage relaxation, empowering employees to effectively manage the demands of their jobs.

Increased productivity

Research indicates that employees who consistently participate in regular exercise demonstrate higher productivity, experience fewer instances of absenteeism, and are involved in fewer workplace accidents.

Increased job satisfaction

Regularly active employees frequently report higher job satisfaction and a more positive overall outlook on life.

Improved energy levels

Consistent exercise has been proven to boost energy levels, enhancing employee alertness and productivity throughout the day.

Improved morale

Engaging in regular exercise has been demonstrated to enhance employee morale, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among colleagues.

How Can Employers Encourage Fitness in the Workplace?

Employers hold a pivotal role in fostering fitness in the workplace by establishing an environment that advocates for healthy habits and physical activity.

They can promote workplace fitness through various initiatives and support mechanisms. From incorporating pre-shift stretching sessions to providing on-site gym facilities and implementing supportive policies, there are numerous approaches to encourage a healthy and active work environment. Here are some ways employers can promote fitness in the workplace:

Pre-shift stretching sessions

Commencing the workday with a stretching session can aid employees in warming up their muscles and mitigating the risk of injury. This can be conducted as a collective activity before the start of each shift or as an individual routine.

Incentives for meeting fitness goals

Employers can motivate employees to partake in physical activity by providing incentives or bonuses for achieving specific fitness objectives. This might involve offering gym memberships, fitness trackers, or even granting additional time off as rewards.

On-site gym facilities

Employers can invest in on-site gyms or fitness centers, providing convenient and accessible opportunities for employees to participate in physical activity during lunch breaks or before and after work.

Ergonomic workstations

OSHA recommends that employers furnish ergonomic workstations designed to promote healthy posture and minimize the risk of injury. This may involve providing adjustable desks, comfortable chairs, and appropriate lighting.

Encourage breaks for stretching and physical activity 

Employers can motivate employees to take breaks for stretching and physical activity throughout the workday. This practice can contribute to stress reduction, enhanced circulation, and increased productivity.

Wellness programs

Employers can establish wellness programs that promote physical activity, encourage healthy eating habits, and provide stress management support. This might involve initiatives like fitness challenges, nutrition workshops, and activities aimed at reducing stress.

Supportive policies 

Employers can further facilitate physical activity by instituting policies that support such endeavors, such as permitting flexible work hours for those engaged in morning or after-work fitness activities.

References:

Categories
Physical Fitness Sports Wellness

Move in May: Embracing the Benefits of Physical Fitness and Sports for All Ages

In May, National Physical Fitness & Sports Month offers a chance to celebrate and advocate for physical activity and the advantages of participating in sports.

Engaging in physical activity is crucial for maintaining health and well-being. It enhances fitness, alleviates stress, lowers the risk of various chronic diseases, and alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression. Youth sports play a pivotal role in encouraging children and teens to be active, fostering the development of leadership, time management, and relationship-building skills.

Immediate Benefits

Engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity provides immediate benefits for brain health. Children aged 6 to 13 experience enhanced cognition, while adults often experience a reduction in short-term feelings of anxiety after such sessions. Consistent physical activity contributes to maintaining sharp thinking, learning, and judgment skills as you age. Additionally, it lowers the risk of depression and anxiety, promoting better sleep.

Measuring Physical Activity Intensity

Individuals can comprehend and gauge the intensity of aerobic activity by exploring the relationship between intensity and its impact on heart rate and breathing during physical activity.

Moderate Intensity

The talk test offers a straightforward method to assess relative intensity. As a general guideline, if you engage in moderate-intensity activity, you should be able to talk but not sing during the activity.

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on primarily flat or level terrain without hills
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

Vigorous Intensity

Typically, when participating in vigorous-intensity activity, you’ll find it challenging to say more than a few words without needing to pause for a breath.

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster that may include hills
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Adding Physical Activity to Your Life

If you are wondering how to meet the recommended amount of physical activity each week, do not worry. There is a surprising variety of activities to choose from. Essentially, any aerobic activity counts, as long as it is done at a moderate or vigorous intensity. It is important to note that any amount of physical activity, regardless of duration, brings about health benefits.

Daily Activities

Routine physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. 

  • Look for ways to reduce time sitting and increase time moving.
  • Set aside specific times to make physical activity part of your daily or weekly routine.
  • Start with activities, locations, and times you enjoy. 
  • Try activities with others in your household for motivation and mutual encouragement.
  • Start slowly and work your way up to more time or more challenging activities.
  • Use free apps and websites to find fun ways to be physically active or new places to put some variety in your activity routine.

Consider Starting an Exercise Routine

  • Assess your fitness level.
  • Design your program.
    • Determine your fitness goals.
    • Design a balanced routine.
    • Progress slowly.
    • Incorporate activity into your daily routine.
    • Allow time for recovery.
    • Put it on paper.

Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers

Recognizing common barriers to physical activity and developing strategies to overcome them can be instrumental in incorporating physical activity into your daily routine.

Suggestions for Overcoming Barriers

Lack of time

  • Identify available time slots: Monitor your daily activities for one week and pinpoint at least five 30-minute time slots suitable for physical activity.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine: Incorporate activities like walking or biking to work, organizing school activities around physical exercises, walking the dog, taking the stairs, exercising during TV time, or parking farther away from your destination.

Social support

  • Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family: Share your enthusiasm for physical activity with your loved ones and request their support in your endeavors.
  • Invite friends and family to exercise with you: Encourage your loved ones to join you in physical activities and plan social events that involve exercise.

Lack of energy

  • Schedule physical activity during times of the day or week when you feel most energetic.
  • Convince yourself that engaging in physical activity will boost your energy levels; then, give it a chance and try it out.

Lack of motivation

  • Plan ahead: Integrate physical activity into your regular daily or weekly schedule and mark it on your calendar.
  • Join an exercise group or class: Enroll in an exercise group or class to make physical activity a structured and enjoyable part of your routine. 

Lack of skill

  • Choose activities that do not necessitate new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
  • Enroll in a class to acquire and develop new skills.

High costs and lack of facilities

  • Choose activities that demand minimal facilities or equipment, like walking, jogging, jumping rope, or calisthenics.
  • Explore affordable and convenient resources within your community, such as community education programs, park and recreation initiatives, worksite programs, etc.

Weather conditions

  • Establish a routine of consistent activities that remain accessible regardless of the weather, such as aerobic dance, indoor swimming, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, or home-based activities like indoor cycling, calisthenics, and exercise videos.

References:

Categories
Physical Fitness Sports Wellness

Marching Towards Health: The Triumphs of DFAS March Mayhem Challenge 2024

Each year as the spring air begins to warm, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) hosts an event that’s become as much a harbinger of the season as the first crocuses pushing through the thawing earth. It’s the March Mayhem Challenge, and in 2024, it once again proved to be a cornerstone event for staff wellness and camaraderie.

From March 4 to March 31, DFAS employees formed trios to compete in an innovative fitness challenge designed to boost physical activity and foster healthier lifestyle choices. Embracing the spirit of March’s famous basketball tournaments, teams scored activity points for their exercise efforts, turning the heat up on both the competition and their workouts.

Game On: Fitness with a Competitive Twist

In this friendly contest, participants engaged in various fitness activities, each assigned a point value analogous to basketball scoring. High-intensity exercises like running and HIIT commanded more points, akin to sinking three-pointers, while low-impact activities such as yoga and walking were also in play, ensuring inclusivity and access for all fitness levels.

Teams then went head-to-head in virtual “basketball games,” where their weekly activity totals determined who would advance in bracket-style play. The aim was clear: accumulate the highest total activity points to clinch the championship title.

The Final Scoreboard and Victory Celebrations

The collective efforts were staggering, with the average daily minutes of exercise per participant reaching over 63 minutes. This commitment to health and fitness was palpable as teams diligently tracked and logged their workouts, with walking, general exercise, and running leading the charge.

The top-scoring team, aptly named ‘Mix Nuts’, demonstrated extraordinary dedication, logging a championship-winning 35,561 minutes of physical activity. Their victory was a testament to persistence and teamwork, qualities that DFAS holds in high regard.

The reward? Beyond the health benefits and bragging rights, top teams were awarded a sleek Qcen Stainless Steel Juicer Machine—a fitting prize to continue the momentum of health and well-being.

Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead

The March Mayhem Challenge underscores the DFAS commitment to its employees’ health, showcasing that a little competition can go a long way in building healthier habits. As the organization reflects on the success of this year’s challenge, plans are already in motion to make next year’s event even more impactful.

As teams disbanded and the minutiae of daily work resumed, one thing remained clear: the DFAS March Mayhem Challenge was more than a game. It was a collective journey towards better health—a journey that, for many, has only just begun.