Sedentary behaviour has certainly taken the spotlight in recent years. With the growing epidemic of obesity and other health concerns, many HR managers are attempting to get to the root of the issue within their own workplaces to ensure the health and wellness of their own employees.
If you’re not completely sold on the idea that sedentary behaviour and its resulting health consequences are costly to more than just the employee, then take a look at this fact: The global cost of physical inactivity for 2013 has been calculated at $US 67.5 billion ($A 90 billion), in a world-first study by the University of Sydney. And those figures tally in the cost burden of lifestyle diseases on health budgets as well as the cost of premature death relating to physical inactivity.
Here are some of the key points of the study:
- Study included data from 142 countries. That’s 93.2% of the global population, and Australia shared a huge portion of the cost.
- The cost included the healthcare expenses linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Employers are increasingly encouraging workplace exercise. Workplaces have taken on the task of encouraging people to physically move around more, with changes to office design and layout, creating activity-based workplaces.
- Workers are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps a day. “Disguised fitness is stuff like a walk-and-talk meeting, so rather than us sitting down and having a conversation, if it was a one-on-one we’d go for a walk down by the water or out around the park so you can do that in groups of three or four people,” said Andrew May is a partner of the Performance Clinic at KPMG, a section of the firm designed to help organisations increase the productivity and performance of their staff.
It’s time to focus on the actionable tasks to combat sedentary behaviour within your workplace. Simple ways of doing this is including workplace fitness or tai chi for low impact exercises and stretches for the workplace. HSG offer fitness classes, tai chi classes, and stretch break.
In addition to signing up for HSG’s programs, try to incorporate walking meetings into your workplace as well. Here’s the protocol from Medical News Today:
- Set a time and place to meet before the WaM
- Prepare an agenda and bring it with you
- To make the walk more comfortable, bring items such as water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and wear comfortable shoes
- Assign roles: for example, one person keeps an eye on time, another takes notes, another leads walk route
- Follow the prescribed walk route
- Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes
- After the WaM, sit to wrap up meeting and do any final tasks such as paperwork that cannot be done while walking.
Incorporate walking meetings and get in on our health and wellness programs through HSG to help reduce your organisational costs and improve your employee health.