Prioritising Fitness – Workplace Wellbeing

Nuffield Health’s 2024 Healthier Nation Index has spotlighted an essential overlooked component of employee wellness: the time allocated for physical activity. 

According to the recent findings, nearly half of the respondents (45.70%) indicated that their work schedules hinder their ability to engage in physical exercise, and 42.91% believe that more time should be dedicated to physical activity.

This year, correlating with the 2024 theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, “Movement: Moving More for Your Mental Health”, exploration of the mind-body connection has intensified. The Mental Health Foundation (2022) highlights the vital role regular physical activity plays in preventing the development of mental health problems, revealing it can increase our self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. 

A Harvard study (Forbes, 2019) reveals that regular exercise during the workday enhances time management and work output. The increased oxygen flow to the brain improves concentration and coordination, leading to sharper, more logical decision-making in the office.

Therefore, it is crucial for employers to listen to their employees’ needs and adapt wellbeing strategies accordingly to boost both employee happiness and productivity.

Three Ways to Support Employee Exercise

1. Understanding Whole-Person Health: The Mental Health Foundation (2022) suggests that even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking can increase our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Addressing this intrinsic connection between physical and mental health is the first step. Although the benefits of regular exercise are well documented, less awareness and understanding exists around the mind-body connection. Physical activity not only releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals like endorphins and dopamine but also promotes “emotional fitness”, the ability to stay resilient, positive and focused when experiencing stressful situations. Employers should consider the benefits of emotional and physical fitness as a whole-person approach for increased health outcomes.

Our CPD-accredited ‘Movement for Mood’ walking webinar encourages attendees to step away from desks and tune in whilst on the move! Think your team could benefit from this dynamic session? Get in touch today.

2. Consider Flexible Working Solutions: Flexibility in work schedules correlates strongly with improved physical and mental health (Nuffield Health, 2024). By allowing flexible work arrangements, employers can help employees find more time to engage in physical activities, which is particularly beneficial for those juggling multiple responsibilities, such as working parents or part-time carers.

3. Promote Movement in the Workplace: The NHS Physical Activity Guidelines (2021) state adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. Employers can take simple actions like sharing information about local gyms or fitness classes, or integrating physical activity into company social events. This includes promoting participation in events such as Cycle to Work Day (1st August 2024), signing-up to local fun runs as a company charity initiative and organising netball or football sports teams amongst company colleagues. At zeno HQ in Leeds, White Rose Office Park, we offer free lunchtime yoga and after-work PT sessions to anyone working at the office park.

Motivate your employees to stay active and aware by offering subsidised gym memberships and routine health assessments through zeno, your award-winning health & wellbeing partner!

zeno Health Club, our boutique Manchester gym, provides 4 state-of-the-art studios and a brand new open gym space. We offer special corporate membership discounts for those seeking to workout on their own schedule, or private corporate classes for the entire team to get involved! Get in touch to find out more.

Our Health Assessments are a pivotal point of reference when monitoring your physical health, offering expert advice on behavioural change and introducing healthy daily habits into your lifestyle. Book your team in today.

Why not benefit from our entire offering? Our CPD-accredited Mind & Body Starter Programme aims to educate, inspire and empower your employees through dynamic seminars & workshops, fitness classes and health checks.

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