Too Busy to Exercise

Nearly half (46%) of UK workers claim to be “too busy” to exercise, rising to more than half (52%) of those aged 25 to 34, according to a poll by office furniture firm DBI Furniture Solutions.

Of those who did exercise, the most popular ways of doing so were by going to the gym, participating in a sport or going for a run after work (26%), it found. Some 17% said they got their quota of exercise in at the very start of the day.

Just 6% said they used their lunch break in order to get active. Just 5% said their employer organised physical activity or “team energisers” during working hours.

What this indicated was that, compared with the Department of Health’s recommended minimum that adults do least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, many of us are falling woefully short of this, argued DBI managing director Nick Pollitt

“It’s worrying, but perhaps unsurprising, that such a high percentage of the British working public struggle to fit exercise into their day. Maintaining a healthy social life alongside work commitments is difficult enough, and by the end of the day rigorous exercise is the last thing on our minds,” he said.

“On the other hand, it’s clear that businesses could be doing more to promote exercise in the workplace. When it comes to encouraging exercise, it’s the little changes that make a difference. From bringing fitness experts into the office for quick sessions, to installing a fresh water cooler, you can easily encourage healthier life choices for your team. It will ultimately save businesses money in the long term,” he added.

Receptive audience

And this, of course, is the key point here for employers, not least because, as separate research from Virgin Active has suggested, when it comes to push health- and activity-related messages, employers will often be pushing at an open door.

Its research has argued 32 is the age when most Britons start exercising for their health rather than their looks.

Nevertheless, more than half (58%) of Britons aged under 25 stated that “looking good” was their number one motivator for working out. And just under a third (29.6%) of Britons said they kept fit for stress relief.

Of course, fitness and activity in this context doesn’t necessarily mean having to provide all sorts of expensive facilities or subsidised gyms.

Indeed, the fact so many people evidently use the excuse of being “too busy”, means it may even be valuable to be offering health and activity that can be fitted in around a busy working day, such as taking the stairs, getting up and walking round the office, getting out at lunchtime, regular stretching and so on.

And it need not just be about “in the workplace”. How about offering tips for being more active when just around the home – while watching TV, while preparing the evening meal in the kitchen and so on?

None of this, in itself, is rocket science. But employers do need to recognise they are in a valuable position to be promoting these healthier “use it or lose it” lifestyle and activity messages.

Employers have an important role to play in emphasising the fact that we can – or should be able to – carve five, 10, 15 minutes, or whatever it is, out of our busy, hectic schedules to look after our future health.

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Posted in News,Occupational health by OH Assist on the 18th April 2017

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