Is the workplace to blame for inactivity? Some solutions for you and your employer.

In a recent Ipsos Reid poll we commissioned some interesting stats were discovered:

  • 47% of working respondents believe that their job inhibits them from getting the amount of exercise they would like in a typical work week.
  • 34% of working respondents said that they spend 6-8 hours being inactive at work during a typical work day (so nearly the entire work day).
  • 76% of working respondents said they were exhausted at the end of the work day and that is why their job inhibits them from getting the amount of exercise they desire (46% said it was due to long working hours, 45% said it was because of wasted time commuting to and from work, 43% said it was the stressful job demands).
  • The majority of respondents felt that being inactive due to work was normal while only 17% were frustrated.


Sleeping-at-WorkThe results strongly show that people blame their work for not being able to get enough activity but it also shows that our mindset is that this is fine. I am reminded of old movies that show Japanese employees doing morning Tai chi or some other movement and I only wish that we placed the same emphasis on health in our workplace here in Canada. The studies show that those who exercise get sick less and take fewer sick days. In a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine they found that “those who exercised five days a week for 20 minutes or more experienced about 40 percent fewer days of illness compared with those putting in less than one day a week of activity.”1   That is a pretty good reason for employers to implement some sort of workplace fitness solution.

In the same Ipsos Reid poll it was found that “30% of respondents would like access to fitness facilities at or near their workplace and 33% already have access to facilities.” If you have an HR department or anyone else in charge of employee wellness you can use these stats to approach someone about getting some kind of program set up. The good news is that you don’t need that much space or money to set up reasonable facilities. Here are a few of the options you can look at:

As an individual:

  • Many employers reimburse their employees for purchases associated with health and fitness (usually up to a maximum dollar amount). See if your employer would be willing to the do the same. Sick days cost employers time and money so be sure to arm yourself with a cost analysis of this small change that can be easily implemented.
  • Set up your workspace with some of the basics. A simple set of dumbbells or powerblocks, a jump rope and a good pair of running shoes are a good start. If you have more room in your office you can consider things like a rower, a spin bike or other smaller cardio machines. We are visual people and seeing the equipment is often enough to prompt us to use these items. Use phone meeting time to do some arm curls or squats. Take a 10 minute break in the morning to do some rowing. It is a great way to de-stress or help keep you focused at an upcoming meeting.

As an organization:

  • Find an area where you can put a few fitness machines and accessories. Our staff can help you find everything you need and organize set up and delivery. For larger offices you will want to work with our commercial department to ensure that you get machines covered under a commercial warranty.
  • If you don’t have showers, see if your employer would be willing to add some (or one depending on the size of the organization).
  • Organize lunch time workouts, walks or runs.
  • Implement an internal contest. Using things like % of body fat lost or a points system based on certain actions that must be completed throughout the day is a great way to get your entire organization on board.

So there you have it, we often work at jobs that cause us to be sedentary but there are many steps we can take to change that. Just 20 minutes of activity a day is enough to reduce your sick days by 40% so keep that in mind next time you feel exhausted at the end of the day. You can make a change for yourself and even your organization as a whole.


“Always Keep Moving”




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