Prolonged hours sat behind a desk or computer are creating an epidemic of poor posture or human movement system impairments. Forward head carry and forward rounded shoulders, for example, creates shoulder pain, back pain, headaches and impingement through shoulder movement.
Companies in the know understand that investing in the health of their greatest assets — their employees — results in returns of higher productivity, less sick leave and increased morale. Fit employees have more energy and suffer less from stress related problems.
For instance, Bank of America reports a 600 percent return on its health promotion programme. Northern Gas CPY employees who engage in the company’s corporate exercise programme have 80 percent fewer sick days than non-participants. Saatchi & Saatchi reports that 63 percent of employees enrolled in its corporate fitness programme. They believe that their productivity has increased and 75 percent feel a stronger sense of morale.
But what does this mean for the workers? A study by the University of Bristol showed that after exercising, participants returned to work more tolerant of themselves and more forgiving of their colleagues. Their work performance was also consistently higher, as shown by better time management and improved mental sharpness. A very recent study has found that hitting the gym or jogging before or during the workday leads to greater productivity, reduced stress levels and even higher pay (due to better attitude, productivity and therefore performance).
Exercise fuels your brain; releases feel good hormones to help you be more focused and happy. The increased productivity comes from the stamina which physical activity gives us and also from less absenteeism owing to sickness. It is evident that physical activity strengthens our immune system and improves are ability to function.
Midday Exercise and Stretching
Saigon’s climate creates a challenge for midday exercise, especially now we are heading into the hot season. Many who find it hard to keep cool during a normal day find it impossible to stop sweating after a midday workout. Therefore, if you plan to exercise mid-day, try taking a class like Pilates where you are less likely to work up an intense sweat. Perform very short intense weight sessions consisting of only two to three exercises. If you make time each day, by the end of the week you can cover the whole body. By completing your sessions this way you can just change your clothes and get back to work, fitting in more intense cardio, resistance or sweat sessions over the weekend.
Stretching is another great tool to alleviate both mental and physical tension, stress as well as correct postural imbalances. You also do not have to take a lot of time out to implement stretching into your day. Use momentary pauses to shake out and stretch your back, neck, arms and shoulders. Stand up and stroll around the office, allow your body to reset and not adopt this work position as your permanent posture. In addition, don’t eat at your desk. Get out of your workspace and take a walk. It will clear your mind.
These are just some ideas to help you make physical activity an intrinsic part of your schedule. Analyse your day or even your week and identify opportunities for exercise and movement. The returns will make the investment worthwhile… A great fact to remember is that in the US it’s estimated that about US$130 billion (VND2.73 trillion) a year in health care costs are related to obesity and inactivity — it really makes good personal and business sense to promote healthy habits throughout your company.