Why Should You Incorporate Walking Into Your Work?

Walking In The Workplace

Keeping up fitness in the workplace can often be hard, particularly in office based jobs that require the majority of time to be either sat or stood in an almost stationery position. According to data from Public Health England, almost a quarter (22.4%) of the English population does less than 30 minutes of activity per week.

This also means that they unfortunately have the highest risk of ill health, resulting in a poorer quality of life. Due to the way we work today, it is easy to see how finding time to exercise with a busy home life and work life could almost be considered almost impossible.

Public Health England advises that 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity can help to both prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions. It is important to note that this exercise is not expected to be vigorous, so no gym time is realistically required, it can be as simple as taking a brisk walk for 150 minutes over a week.

Scotland Incorporating The Daily Mile Scheme

The Scottish Government is already taking steps to try to encourage workers to try to spend around 15 minutes of their break to walk a mile every day. This scheme, The Daily Mile, originally started by Elaine Wyllie, head teacher of St Ninian’s Primary, in Scottish primary schools as a way to encourage children to increase their fitness as well as encourage them to be more focused in their lessons.

It has proven to be incredibly popular with 1,000 schools across Scotland taking part. This in turn has led the Scottish Government to pledge that Scotland will become the first ‘Daily Mile’ nation. As such, the government will write to both public and private sector companies to encourage them to introduce the policy.

Scottish Power has already begun participating and their Glasgow headquarters saw the Scottish Sports Minister Aileen Campbell launch the scheme. This scheme, if workers choose to participate, only requires them to walk a mile every day. It is estimated to only take around 15 minutes, meaning that it could easily be done on a lunch break at the workplace.

Implementing Walking Across The UK?

There are many great benefits to walking every day and it has been shown that by simply walking a mile a day it can reduce many chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma, type 2 diabetes and more. A large study by the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences looked at 130,000 people in 17 countries.

What this study found was that by engaging in 150 minutes of exercise, the amount advised by Public Health England, death was reduced by 28% and heart disease cut by 20%. The benefit for employers in turn is that having a healthier workforce is that they can in turn be more productive and alert in the workplace.

It also means that with health problems shown to be reduced when engaging in an active, healthy lifestyle, there will in turn be less sickness related absences.

Employers should consider encouraging their employees to engage in some daily form of activity. It could be simply walking a mile like in the Daily Mile scheme, or perhaps a cycle to work scheme. Make sure that any scheme is well research to show the health benefits for employees and it is also important that employees are aware of any health schemes that are available to them.

It could even be as simple as encouraging employees to start having walking meetings instead of simply sitting. This has the added benefit of combining necessary work with exercise. Take a look at the article on OPInfo Blog that discusses why you should start walking your meetings.

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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