In 2013, I purchased Fitbits for all of my staff at UC Funds and the results were remarkable.
I have always maintained that fitness is for life and by that I mean every aspect a person’s life is improved by incorporating physical activity. By providing everyone on my team with a wireless personal device to measure activity, quality of sleep and calories spent, I was able to foster a workplace of “doing” and collegiate behaviors that soon grew beyond teamwork to inspired contribution. Employees now use the stairs instead of the elevators, walk to work instead of taking the car and they even partake in friendly competition. As a result, UC Funds employees deliver even more creative, speedy and expert service to its customers and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
It is common now in the age of computers for employees to remain chained to their desk, spending hours on end gazing at a glowing screen. According to a poll of 1,023 US employees by talent development consultants, Right Management, only 21% of people now regularly leave their work stations for a midday meal. Referred to as the “sitting disease,” current studies show that sedentary behavior has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Experts everywhere are recommending we get up and get moving.
You won’t lose productivity by incorporating activity breaks into your work day, you’ll actually be more productive, focused and happier. Breaks keep us from becoming bored and as a result, losing focus. Tony Schwartz, head of productivity consulting firm The Energy Project reminds us that intensifying our workload to match the demands of our job has detrimental results “without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes and get less engaged with what we’re doing.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking several short breaks throughout the day which include movement.
Here are some great ways to incorporate some physical activity into your day:
Get out of the seat. Stand up every time you take a phone call for the duration of that call. Add some gentle stretches such as side bends, neck rolls or arm circles.
Eat lunch elsewhere.
Even if you’ve brought your own lunch, take a walk and eat it elsewhere. Find a local park or even just walk around your office building 3 times before you eat. If you are a bit more adventurous, choose a different lunch spot every day and walk a little bit further each time.
Turn off Facebook.
Think of the time you spend checking social media on your phone. Every time you go to pick up your phone, consider leaving it behind and do something else for 5 minutes instead. Walk to the kitchen and get a glass of water or walk outside, take 5 deep breaths and return again.
Swap body movers for moving your body.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Leave your car in the garage and walk to work or park your car on the outskirts of the city and walk through it to get to and from work.
Need your shoes repaired? Time for a haircut? Want to pick up a present for your niece’s birthday? Schedule small tasks throughout the week that involve leaving the office. This is especially important if you eat at your desk.
If you’re skeptical about receiving any benefits by making these small changes, try getting a Fitbit. You might be surprised!