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Employers Take Different Paths To Get Employees Stepping

Posted: May 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Categories: News

Now that sitting’s health risks are better understood, employers have begun including quick activity breaks in their overall approach to wellness.

For a long time, employee wellness programs solely focused on the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity we need each week. We still need that. But thanks to the abundance of research on the ill effects of uninterrupted sitting, employers are supplementing their broader fitness programs with opportunities to just get up and move.

I rounded up examples for a presentation at WorldatWork’s 2013 Total Rewards Conference. Here are only five of the many techniques companies are using:

1. Web Camera Breaks: Ninety telecommuting Sodexo employees take a 10-minute activity break each week with a staffer who’s also a fitness instructor. Patricia Freshwater, Sodexo’s senior communications manager, told me “Rita’s sessions are the opening agenda item for our weekly team call.” Sodexo’s class mirrors a growing interest in webcam fitness.

2. PA System Bong: Intel employees are reminded to get up and move twice a day by “The Intel Bong.”

3. Home-grown Exercise Classes: Overit Media hosts “OverFit,” an hourly two-minute exercise break facilitated by an employee.  The D.C. Department of Health line dances twice a day. (Bet they’d like our “Shake Your Groove Thing” challenge!)

4. Designed Programs: Sellen Construction Company partnered with ErgoFit to design exercises and then train employees as shift-break facilitators. Datalogix in Boston goes hard-core with CrossFit classes in its Boston office.

5. Seeding the Environment: Google’s NY office lends Razor scooters to employees to help them get about, Novo Nordisk designed a one-mile scenic path, and numerous companies encourage employees to use the stairs or to play foosball, ping pong, and other games—even take the slides.

While we still don’t know how long is too long to sit or how frequent or how long our activity breaks should be, we can conclusively say we must get up.

These companies found methods that suit their environments and their cultures. What methods are you trying where you work?

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