How movement can boost workplace wellbeing

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is “Movement: moving more for our mental health”, which reminds us of the importance of staying active for mental as well as physical wellbeing.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate this idea into the working day.

Figure out how you can move more: Whether you are in the office, working remotely, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of ways to incorporate movement into your day. Try walking or cycling to work instead of driving or get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Even taking your lunch break outside in a nearby park can make a difference. “It has such a positive impact to break the day and get outside,” agrees Andrea Priestley, Director at Birch Print.

Stay active during work: How could you incorporate movement into your work routine? Try having walking meetings, which happens at Reuseabox where the team discusses business matters while getting fresh air and exercise. Take regular breaks to stretch or walk around, and if you can, use a stand-up desk to reduce sitting time.

Create opportunities for team activities: Building connections with colleagues is important for mental wellbeing, and active team-building events promote physical health and foster a sense of fellowship and support, as well as being good fun. You could think about running movement-based after-work activities such as regular team sports, or hold an annual Games Day, like Citipost Mail. Their Head of HR Hannah Simmons comments: “These events are fun, and also promote stronger working relationships.”

How much physical activity should I do?
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines recommend that adults should do the following weekly:

  • At least 150 minutes (about two and a half hours) of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing, or pushing a lawnmower;
  • Or, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as running, swimming, or sports;
  • Or, a mixture of the two.

However, the NHS has specific guidelines depending on age. They can be found here.

Any amount of regular movement, no matter how small, is important for mental and physical health. Small amounts of movement add up over time, and all have a positive impact on our mental and physical health.

By prioritising movement by making small changes to our daily routines, we can all contribute to a healthier and happier workplace during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.

For more inspiration on this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme, visit Mental Health UK.

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