The benefits of exercise are far from being a secret. With new boutique gyms sprouting up on what seems like a weekly basis, it would seem that we live in an exercise-obsessed culture.

Except, there's one thing missing--actually exercising. Despite being inundated with information about exercising around every corner, the average person isn't exercising enough. The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans approximates that 80 percent of U.S. adults aren't getting sufficient activity on a weekly basis.

According to guidelines appearing in a November 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults are recommended to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both. Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or doing push-ups at least twice per week.

With so few adults actually getting enough activity in on a weekly basis, simply telling people that exercise is good clearly isn't working.

It's time to look into integrating exercise into the workplace. After all, besides sleeping, a good portion of the average person's hours during the week is spent at work.

As this BBC article stated, integrating exercise into the workday presents the 'Golden Opportunity' to check off multiple boxes. Encouraging employees to exercise while on the clock makes business sense for these three reasons.

1.Fewer short and long-term illnesses.

It's hard to thrive as a company if your employees are calling out sick or are showing up at half their potential (hello presenteeism). If you're going to reach company potential, you need your employees to show up with ample amounts of energy and focus.

One simple way to help make this a reality is through exercising. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that incorporating 2.5 hours at a minimum was a high impact action to help alleviate the issue of short and long-term illnesses.

2.5 hours can easily be broken down into 30 minutes each weekday. Set aside time in the early afternoon to let employees get a quick workout in and the afternoon energy lull will become a thing of the past.

2. Increased intelligence and long-term memory.

Exercise helps with weight management, immunity, mood, and brain functioning. As we get older, you might hear someone state that "they aren't as sharp as they use to be or can't remember as well." However, exercise can help provide immediate cognitive benefits in as little as 15 minutes according to this 2013 study appearing in Psychology and Aging.

When it comes to memory, scientists found that after six weeks of short 20-minute bouts of interval training, improvements were made to the individual's memory according to a study appearing in the November 2017 issue for the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

3. Higher employee satisfaction and engagement.

There's no getting around it, at some point, work will get stressful and our mental and emotional intelligence will get tested. Too much stress and chaos in the workplace can warp an employees perception of their job. When perception travels down a negative path, this increases the likelihood of them looking for new jobs or disengaging from their current job.

Neither of which is ideal for a company since both will affect the bottom line. But all is not lost, a simple way to help employee satisfaction and engagement is to incorporate exercise into the workday.

In Vol 1., Issue 3 of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management appearing in 2008, more than 200 employees studied who had access and actually used a company gym were more productive during the day along with heading home feeling more satisfied on the days they exercised on the clock.

While it may seem difficult to consistently incorporate exercise into a daily regimen, it doesn't have to be. The two top ingredients to get started right away is to establish a schedule along with clear communication channels to get everyone on the same page.

Published on: Jan 29, 2019
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