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Those of us in Corporate America strive to improve the cardiovascular health of our employees by providing access to structured exercise programs.  We have built on-site fitness centers and/or subsidize gym memberships.  As an exercise physiologist, I applaud these initiatives.  But let’s be honest – not everyone is going to participate in such structured routines.  Rather than just “give up” on these employees, I propose we target them with a secondary fitness goal – movement.  Let’s get them moving whenever and wherever possible.  Let’s show them simple ways to incorporate movement into their workday routines.  It will refresh their body and minds – thus resulting in a more productive employee.

As you plan your marketing strategy, keep in mind that these are not your exercise enthusiasts.  So I would steer away from the word exercise and use more gentle terms such as movement.  Do not bombard them with a myriad of exercise options – this can be overwhelming.  Instead, feature just one or two “movements of the month”.  The goal is to slowly sneak movement into their day, and to introduce the notion that exercise does not always mean sweating in a gym.  

The first step for you is finding simple exercises that can be done discreetly while at work.  When researching exercise ideas, even I would be a bit embarrassed to perform some of the suggested moves in an office cubicle.  But there certainly are some very good options that could be performed discreetly.  The Washington Post has a great article with 12 exercise options.  Readers are invited to then rate each exercise as to whether they would feel comfortable performing it at work or not.  The feedback is there for you to review and help with your decision whether to suggest this to your employees or not.  Remember – share only those exercises that your employees would realistically perform at your workplace.  
 

The second step is to figure out how to introduce your employees to your “movement of the month”.  I found lots of busy posters and serious you tube videos which did not inspire me in the least.  But then I did find two excellent videos which were simple, fun and informational in their approach.  Let me share these with you.

This first video clip (on YouTube) follows the K.I.S.S. principal (keep it simple, stupid).  It introduces the movement (calf raises), demonstrates how to do it and throws in some humor – all in 30 seconds.  See what you think.

 

A second video (from YouTube) which I liked introduces 5 movements, but manages to do it in a fun and simple manner, with upbeat music.  

In addition to featuring “movements of the month”, encourage your employees to look for other ways to add activity in their days. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
•    Walk to the furthest bathroom (passing by the closer ones).
•    Take the stairs.  While you are out-of-sight in the stairwell, go ahead and do some exercises.  No one will see you!
•    Instead of messaging your co-worker, communicate the old-fashioned way.  Walk over to their cubicle and speak to them in person.
•    Are you on the phone a lot?  Then purchase a headset and move around your office while on the phone.
•    Meeting with just one other person?  Then why not schedule a walking meeting?

The BGI Fitness Commercial team salutes you in your efforts to keep your employees healthy.  

Linda Hardcastle
Exercise Physiologist
Bicycle Garage Indy & BGI Fitness