Motivation experts PeopleValue say that employers wanting to promote wellbeing should support their staff to walk more.
They say that encouraging more steps will improve mood, ease stress, and helps fight off dementia and cancer
Quite a tall order for something as simple and basic as going for a walk, but the list of benefits doesn’t stop there. In fact, experts agree, walking is extremely good for you, it is a low impact physical exercise that most people can take part in that doesn’t require any special equipment or expensive kit.
Research shows us that walking helps to improve mood and positively increases feelings of calm and wellbeing. Walking fosters creativity, enables a change of scene and an escape from the computer screen, helps your mind to flow in a different direction and as a result, you will often find the solution to that knotty problem that you were wrestling with. Walking is a great way to help keep control of your weight, it improves your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce flab around your midriff, and by building more muscle you will be burning more calories.
Regular exercise such as walking also helps the body to fight disease, from dementia to cancer, diabetes to high blood pressure. The New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 found that those that met physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those that did not walk regularly.
So why isn’t everyone doing it already?
There are many reasons – inertia being the main one. Finding the time and getting into the habit. And this is where forward thinking employers can play a key role through Employee Wellbeing programmes.
A fitter, more active workforce provides many benefits to the organisation. As well as the more obvious benefits such as lower sickness and absence rates, staff tend to be more positive, more creative and more productive – so it is well worth making the effort to encourage staff to take healthier lifestyle choices.
Promoting wellbeing in the workplace can come in many forms. Why not encourage walking or other forms of activity during the lunch break, or regular monthly or even weekly events.
Keep it going
Starting something new is the easy part – keeping it going takes more effort. Again, employers can be key in supporting healthy habits.
With a health and wellbeing platform like The Zone, staff have access to a range of self-assessment tools and improvement plans that help them to manage their physical fitness, emotional wellbeing, their diet and even their personal finances (walking to work helps to save travel and parking costs too!).
As part of a wider service, The Zone can also link to the PeopleValue Recognition hub which comes with a social wall where staff can share messages and photos, arrange lunchtime walks or after work activities, and generally encourage each other.