As obesity and related disease increases globally, so too do the associated costs incurred by employers and governments. When it comes to exercise and activity the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. For many employees however, it is difficult to meet this recommendation.
Increasingly employer organisations are implementing wellness initiatives designed to help tackle the obesity epidemic which allow employees to incorporate exercise into their working day – reduced gym membership, complimentary exercise classes, corporate exercise challenges etc. There are big business benefits associated with having a fit workforce but what about a NEAT workforce?
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expenditure of all physical activities other than those done with the specific intention of developing or maintain fitness. Movement of some level is a necessity for everyone, however a sedentary lifestyle mean adults of similar sizes can have markedly variable NEAT levels – up to 2,000 calories per day.
Simply moving more and sitting less can boost a person’s health whether they are a couch potato or leading a more active life. There are easy ways to incorporate NEAT activities at work and behaviours which should be encouraged. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Make company-wide ‘appointments to move’ – Sitting for extended periods of time can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Encourage on the hour ‘walk abouts’.
- Invest in company pedometers – a lot of your team might already have these built into their mobile phones but providing company sponsored pedometers means you can set team targets and daily goals.
- Use the stairs – use posters and other communication channels to get people choosing the stairs.
- Meetings on foot – walking and standing meetings are becoming increasingly common. If there is an option to get people moving in their own meetings encourage that behaviour.
- Make sitting a strength – invest in some stability balls, these are great to help build core strength and burn calories.
- Offer standing desks – a few standing hot desks dotted throughout the office space will give people the option for a real change of scenery and will help improve their NEAT.
Author: Sara Glynn –Wrkit Marketing Executive