By DW Fitness

We all know the benefits that exercise can bring, but the truth is many of us rarely make it to the gym at all, let alone take part in the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week.

Due to hectic work schedules, employees are often spending more time in the office than anywhere else. People are guilty of putting their careers first as opposed to their health and fitness. This is detrimental to more than just staff waistlines, as research by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that 39% of all work-related illnesses were caused by stress and anxiety and 11.3 million days were lost annually due to these illnesses.

Considering this, a greater number of employers are becoming conscious of the fact that exercise may play a key role in boosting staff productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.

A positive way to release work stress

We all know that exercise is good for our heart and can help the body to maintain a healthy weight, but exercise is also extremely positive for our mental health as well.

When we exercise our heart rate increases and our temperature rises, which tricks our bodies into thinking that we are overcoming a stressful event. To combat this false sense of panic, our bodies release a flurry of pain-relieving chemicals into the brain called endorphins, which fill the person exercising with feelings of calm and euphoria. Over time, people that regularly exercise report more positive moods compared to those who don’t exercise.

Want your employees to have boundless amounts of energy? Then get them to the treadmill. Exercise is known to improve your energy levels, which can boost productivity in the workplace. Regular physical activity can also promote an improved sleep pattern, and we all know how important a good night’s sleep can be when trying to relieve anxiety.

Becoming more flexible

Employees don’t need to train like athletes to feel the benefits of regular exercise. The government recommends 2.5 hours a week but many people feel as though they struggle to fit this in around their working life.

Nobody wants to get up at 5am to go for a run, but this is often necessary to fit a workout in during a busy weekday. As an employer, one solution is to consider extending the working day so it starts and finishes an hour later than usual for two days a week, to allow employees time to exercise in the morning without ruining their body clocks. While this solution won’t work for every business, it could be a good alternative for many.

The benefits of group exercise

While you may want the best for your employees, you cannot realistically force them to exercise in their own time.

One option is to instigate a weekly exercise class that all of your employees could attend together. By choosing a group class such as Circuit training, you involve all of your employees without putting any of them on the spot. This not only encourages personal fitness, but also improved relationships amongst employees. According to research by the Health and Safety Executive, one of the biggest causes of stress in the workplace is due to strained employee relationships, so scheduling an activity such as group exercise will allow employees to bond in a neutral environment away from the office.

Another great way to promote exercise in the workplace and employee relationships is to sign up to do a race as a company. We all know that healthy competition is a good thing, and by choosing a race of 5km or 10km and setting the date, you will automatically motivate people to train because they won’t want to lose to one another. Plus, the shared goal will help to bring employees closer together, despite the competitive edge.

Paying a subsidy towards your employee’s monthly gym membership is another great way to promote exercise in the workforce. Many people believe that they can’t afford to pay a gym membership themselves, so putting some money towards it could make a huge difference. Instead of approaching employees individually, send a group email to the whole workforce and gauge whether anybody would be interested. You could even offer discounts for employees that sign up together to encourage a larger volume of people to attend.