Workplace Incentives for Business Leaders: Exercise.
What do you think of when you think of Offices?
Paper, chairs, the colour white, sneezing and white shirts- plenty of white shirts.
What about a gym? Weights, Cardio machines, grunting men…probably not.
Leaders in the workplace have great opportunities to greatly improve working environments that promote movement and exercise. Businesses have a moral and ethical obligation to look after their employees, so why not create a space that promotes healthy behaviors and productivity at work?
I mean, you have probably heard that sitting at a desk for long periods of time isn’t exactly beneficial.
Numerous rigorous studies have found that long time sedentary behaviors are largely associated to an increased risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. 
Great, now that I’ve REALLY got your attention, we can talk the talk.
Studies from the Health Promotion Journal of Australia also found that occupational excessive sitting primarily leads to:
- Musculoskeletal short and long term complications
- De-motivation issues
While life altering diseases are the outcome of long-term sedentary behavior, musculoskeletal, fatigue and de-motivation are the ones that are probably affecting you today  Sitting too long while working also attributes to the brain falling into a “slumbering state” contributing to:
- Diminishing one’s ability to learn
- Short Term Memory Loss
- Slower Brain Processing Speed
So why set up a recreational space in the office? It’s obvious:
Healthier workers have higher cognitive function from exercise. Multiple studies have concluded that exercise and mental productivity go hand in hand.
A study ran through the Journal of Sport and Health Science concluded that physical exercise at work benefits the worker in decreasing health risks indicators, particularly with people who were and are at risk of short-term neck, shoulder, core and abdomen problems.
Creating a better sense of community. Forming a common interest and even friendly competitiveness can be outcomes of installing a corporate gym. Positive relationships in the workplace are vital in communications and successful workplace outcomes.
Reduces possible healthcare costs and time away from the business.
The same study from the Journal of Sport and Health Science referenced before also concludes that: “Employees with the highest job strain have the highest risk of leisure time inactivity according to a meta-analysis,  which is an argument for employers to introduce physical exercise training”
That means that employees with the most strain in the company have the least amount of time to exercise, putting them at greater risk of health issues and thus leading to time away from the business.
Wonder why the most successful businesses in the world have gyms?
Google offices have 24/7 open gyms with classes.
Nike have weight rooms, yoga studios and even outdoor indoor basketball and turf fields.
Microsoft have office spaces for yoga classes and gyms.
The incentives to encourage workers to exercise is clearly there. There are social, economical and moral benefits that a business clearly benefits from with the inclusion of exercise facilities in the workplace.
Whether you are a office worker reading this, or perhaps in a position to make a change in your workplace, start the conversation- it will benefit you and your co-workers!
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 In-text: (Hero-health.org, 2019)Your Bibliography: Hero-health.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://hero-health.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Movement_Inactivity_and_Workplace_Effectiveness_lowres.pdf [Accessed 6 Aug. 2019
 Department of Health and Aged Care: National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians. 1999, Canberra: ACT
 Sjøgaard, Gisela et al. “Exercise is more than medicine: The working age population’s well-being and productivity.” Journal of sport and health science vol. 5,2 (2016): 159-165. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2016.04.004