You’ve heard the benefits of being physically active—decreased risk for chronic disease, weight loss, lower stress levels, and so much more! Did you know those benefits aren’t reserved for the Olympic athletes among us?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity—or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity—each week.
But what exactly does that mean? The easiest way to measure is with the “talk test.” If you’re doing moderate-intensity activity, you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you’re working out a vigorous intensity, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath.
That might mean that there are a surprising amount of moderate-intensity activities you’re already doing. One example? Walking or biking to work or school!
Many experts recommend working out first thing in the morning to kickstart your healthy habits for the day and avoid any unforeseen schedule conflicts later on. Actively commuting to work not only gets you moving first thing in the morning, but ensures you have to move later on in the day to get home.
There are lots of ways you can encourage your workforce to walk or bike to and from work.
Many people avoid walking or biking to work because it’s not clear what to do when they get there. Where can they change? How do they park their bike? Will they feel sweaty from their exercise all day long?
The more comfortable you can make it for your employees, the better. If you have the means, consider providing showers or changing rooms for employees to use when they get to work. At the very least, it’s necessary for your workplace to have adequate bike parking. That can be as simple as a bike rack in the front of the building—but it needs to be visible and accessible for employees to feel comfortable utilizing it.
A valid concern for many employees is that it takes longer to get to work when walking or biking. Be flexible with your employees. If you have hourly workers, consider allowing them to “clock in” as soon as they step off their front porch to head to work.
Compensating for your employees’ active commute time not only makes the logistics of the trip less intimidating, but it also shows that you are invested in their health and well-being. It demonstrates that your company supports them as they take steps toward better health.
Lead By Example
A great way to encourage employees to walk or bike to work is to physically show them how simple it can be. If your workforce sees corporate leadership actively commuting to work, it shows them that it’s possible to do the same without sacrificing any productivity at work.
A simple way to ensure your employees see others walking or biking to work is to host a “Walk and Bike to Work Day.” Reward employees who actively commute and make it an exciting, fun event!
Staying Active at Home
You can use your attitudes about wellness at work to even further impact your community! Encourage your employees to take their healthy behaviors home with them. That might mean extending some of your active commute messages to include walking and biking to school.
You might consider allowing employees who walk with kids to school a few extra minutes to get to the office—or an afternoon break to get their kids home. The more you invest in your employees’ health, the more they’ll invest of the health of those they love. Your workforce can be the drop that causes a ripple effect of wellness in your community!
Physical activity is a great thing—few people will argue with you there. Many people, though, might not realize just how easy it can be. Meet your exercise requirements by leaving the car at home and walking or biking to work and school.