exercise workplace wellness

Survey: UK Employees ‘Not Taking Required Amount of Exercise’

A central element of any well-run workplace wellness program involves finding ways to encourage employees to integrate regular exercise — even at light levels — into their daily routines.

Previously we reported on a study is titled “Prolonged sitting negatively affects the postprandial plasma triglyceride-lowering effect of acute exercise.” It concludes that the test results “[underscore] the importance of limiting sitting time even in people who have exercised.”

In reviewing the study, the New York Times reported that “People who work out but also sit for long hours — active couch potatoes, you might say — may often share the same elevated risks for disease and early death as their less active peers.”

We also notedEHS Today report that “The American Heart Association recently published a study that provides further support for well-rounded employee wellness programs.”

The AHA reports that ” Spending a cumulative 2.5 hours a week doing recreational physical activity is linked with a 25 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease in women under age 50, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.”

But how prevalent is the problem? How much work do workplaces need to do in order to make sure their employees move regularly?

Workplace Insight reports that “Third of office workers in the UK not taking the required amount of exercise.”

The post notes that “A third (35 percent) of UK office workers fail to get the National Health Service recommended exercise quota of 150 minutes per week,  a new survey… has revealed. According to the NHS website, it’s advised that adults between the ages of 19-64 should take part in at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week. However, approximately one in three office employees in the UK are currently falling short of these guidelines, with just over two thirds (73 percent) citing work pressures as a key contributing factor to this deficit. Top reasons noted for this lack of activity include, stress at work (17 percent), long commuting hours (15 percent) and insufficient lunch breaks (14 percent), with over a third (38 percent) of office workers attributing their exercise short fall to work related tiredness and fatigue.”

Indeed, workplace wellness programs would seem to have a clear opportunity. The post adds: “Given the demanding nature of a 9-5 office job, it’s perhaps surprising to learn that just half (52 percent) of UK employers offer organised and/or subsidised fitness services to staff, with only 23 percent of office workers currently taking advantage of these schemes.”