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You may already know that exercise improves your mental health. After all, most people will feel better just stepping outside for a brief moment of fresh air. However, a recent study went a little further and evaluated the impact of exercise on depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adults.

What they found was that the exercise needed to improve mood didn’t have to be long or intense to have benefits.

In other words, adults experiencing mild symptoms of depression, for example lack of motivation, fatigue and irritability might benefit just by adding a short, brisk walk to their daily routine.

Obviously, as mental health disorders are complex; for many it may take more than exercise to fully address their mental wellbeing. But this large and comprehensive study points to the power of physical activity to make a difference.

So translating this to the workplace – will moving more help your people? Well, yes, but how do you make moving more something that people actually want to do? Would something like a fitness challenge work? Walking meetings?

Read on for a few simple ways you can promote movement in your workplace…

  1. Invite employees to join or form in-person, hybrid, and virtual walking/running/cycling groups. Being active with friends and colleagues makes it more fun and motivating.
  2. Run a fitness challenge that includes a team feature to encourage participation wrapped in a fun travel theme. Participating with your colleagues is a great push to get started on creating healthy fitness habits. Check out our Fitness Challenge – it’s designed to get people started on the road to healthier exercise habits.
  3. Promote health events like Steptember, Walk to Work Day, Ride to Work Day, and Walktober. Something that people can focus and join in on can be a great motivator.
  4. Inspire workers to look for chances to be active throughout the work day – like a 5–10-minute brisk walk after meetings. If working remotely, suggesting a virtual walking meeting can get your people moving.
  5. Encourage outdoor activity where people can experience the benefits of exposure to nature… a double win.If your workplace is located near a park, a lunchtime walking group can generate the immediate feel-good perks of physical activity like a brighter mood, more energy, and stress relief.
  6. In your internal comms, highlight employee stories of the difference that moving more has made in their mental well-being, and what types of activities they have had fun with.

Not sure where to start? Ask us about workplace wellbeing and how to motivate your team to move more.


Author Healthworks

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