It is a well-known fact and plenty of studies have shown that fitness within the workplace has a large number of benefits. Did you know that back pain is one of the most common causes of employees to be absent from work in the UK? It has been estimated that 16 million people are affected each year. Is this having an effect on your company? I will go on to talk about all the different advantages which fitness brings and what you can be doing to help bring fitness into your corporate life.

 

How can exercise improve alertness & energy?

When we exercise our heart pumps faster in order to supply our muscles with more oxygen and nutrients. Not only does this increase the blood flow to our muscles, but it also has an effect on the brain too. The arteries widen in order to meet the increased demand of activity. With more oxygen flowing to our brain it is now able to operate at its highest level. Not only does this supply individuals with more energy but increases alertness and productivity too. Many employees feel sluggish towards the end of the day, however, by exercising throughout a lunch break this will revitalise an individual and allow them to feel more switched on, which has a positive effect of work production.

 

Endorphins: The Happiness Hormone

FullSizeRender-12-300x300Firstly, what are endorphins? Endorphins are hormones which are produced by the body in certain situations. They have a similar effect to morphine, which is used by doctors to deal with pain. When endorphins are released a person will feel a sense of happiness and fulfilment, this is why it is known as the runners’ rush or the happiness hormone. With this chemical reaction occurring on a daily basis through exercise, this will improve your company’s morale, so employees can benefit from increased confidence and a more positive outlook.

 

How can fitness reduce the cost of absence?

According to the Physical Activity Task Force, ‘physically active employees take 27% fewer days of sick leave.’ Over time this equates to over two days’ enhanced attendance and ‘a savings of £135 per employee’. People who are physically active are less likely to become sick as their immune systems are a lot stronger. ‘People who exercise for 30-60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction to in the number of days of illness compared with those who don’t exercise’ says David Nieman, DrPH, director of the Human Performance Lab at Appalachian State University.

 

Can fitness improve mental well-being?  

Yes! Fitness has been proven to boost your serotonin levels dramatically. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps the brain to communicate with itself. If serotonin is too low it can cause depression. Lots of antidepressants raise serotonin to increase mood levels. Serotonin has effects on appetite, nausea, aggression and fear. Maintaining good levels of Serotonin will reduce levels of anxiety as well as depression. According to gov.scot ‘work related stress, depression and anxiety form the second most common reasons for work related sickness absence, costing the UK economy between £3.7 and £7 billion each year.’ However, we can increase our serotonin levels in order to feel happy, fulfilled and energised through physical activity and exercising has been shown to have an anxiety-reducing effect.

 

What your company can do to help?

IMG_4499-300x300Occupational psychologists’ Dr Myanna Duncan, Aadil Kazi and Professor Cheryl Haslam from Loughborough University, have reported that ‘prolonged sitting at a desk is potentially bad for a worker’s mental wellbeing as well as their physical health.’ Studies have also shown that the ‘pressure of work’ is one of the most common barriers for increased physical activity. However, our physical and mental health is more important than ever, so it’s time to use exercise and physical activity to our advantage through company fitness.

MotivatePT wants to help all companies big and small, to invest in their employees’ health & wellness in a much more meaningful way and make fitness accessible to all.