The human body is designed to be in motion. Although much of the day is spent sitting or lying down, our body feels much better when we move: physical activity makes us generate endorphins, the famous “happiness hormones,” and also allows us to stay healthy and fit. We always have the power to choose between a more comfortable option and another that may involve some physical effort and make us feel better physically and mentally: use the stairs instead of the elevator; walk instead of taking the bus… You can choose to lead a more active life and move away from a sedentary lifestyle to take care of your body.
Economic benefits of physical activity
Chronic diseases cause work absenteeism, directly or indirectly affecting the lack of productivity of companies and being a burden for economic systems. Many of these diseases are due to multifactorial processes, including sedentary lifestyle business or lack of daily physical activity.
For this reason, the work context is an ideal means for the peculiarity of having part of the population confined, feeling with social support, and thus being able to establish programs that stimulate approach and reinforce the physical activity. In this way, it has proved that intervention through occupational health programs is an excellent cost-effective method of social health resources since they reduce the days of absenteeism and the derived costs.
In this way, public authorities and companies must ensure the good health of the worker by offering programs that facilitate information, education, and the environment for the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
A study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that physically active people have, on average, less direct medical costs at the end of the year than sedentary people. The same study estimated that:
An increase in moderate physical activity among the more than 88 million sedentary Americans over 15 would have reduced direct medical costs by $ 76.6 billion in 2000 in the United States.
Physically active people have fewer days of hospital admissions and fewer doctor visits and use less medication than sedentary people. Cost-saving observes both men and women, with and without illnesses, and even among smokers and non-smokers.
The researchers conclude that adopting population-based strategies to promote physical activity can reduce health costs in different groups of adults.
Entrepreneurs also benefit
Physical activity programs in the company can reduce sick days between 6 and 32%, reduce healthcare costs between 20 and 55% and increase productivity between 2 and 52%.
In Canada, a program to promote physical activity in the workplace was evaluated after 12 years. The program consisted of professional-led physical activity classes 2-3 times a week for 30-45 minutes per session. A gym and sports equipment were also provided in the company. Health expenditures per capita at the intervention site were lower than at a control site where physical activity was not promoted. For each worker, the intervention saved US $ 679 in medical expenses per year, which means a return of US $ 6.85 for every dollar invested.
Studies show that an inactive lifestyle coupled with excess weight has adverse consequences for future health and current health. For example, in a 2007 Maine study, the direct and indirect costs of physical inactivity were estimated at $ 1.3 billion; costs related to overweight and obesity totaled $ 414 million and $ 863 million, respectively. This study also indicates that adverse forecasts can be modified; even modest improvements in physical activity and weight can yield substantial savings. For example, the research shows that if 5% of currently sedentary people in Maine walked briskly for 20 minutes, 5 days a week, it would save $ 150 million.
Benefits of promoting an active life help our business in companies
. Decrease in costs associated with sick leave.
. Decrease in absenteeism.
. Improved productivity
. Impact on the habits of workers
. Employee loyalty; a company that promotes health in the workplace and cares about its workers.
. Improvement of the corporate image; Positive projection towards internal audiences (workers) and also external (clients, suppliers, etc.);
Studies show that lack of time is one of the main reasons for not leading a more active and healthy life.
Although the beneficial effects of physical activity on health have been known for a long time, many of the population does not reach healthy levels. it is due to various factors such as the existence of misconceptions, for example:
. Only strenuous physical activity has beneficial effects on health.
. Splitting the total time spent being active in various sessions throughout the year is not adequate.
The total volume of exercise is more important than the intensity; the overall amount of physical activity can be obtained in short sessions throughout the day by doing varied activities. But it is necessary to be constant.
The workplace can be turned into a vehicle to promote a healthier lifestyle. With an action as simple as promoting the use of stairs:
. Positive health results are achieved.
. It directly affects productivity.
. An improvement in the corporate image is acquired.
Ten tricks to be more active life at work
. Use the stairs. If there are many, combine them with the elevator.
. Do standing activities: while you are talking on the phone, classifying documents, making photocopies, or waiting for a call.
. Instead of using the phone, see coworkers to talk to them.
. Participate in the organization and the offer of physical activities at work.
. Replace coffee breaks with walking breaks (you can have a coffee walking!).
. Do not sit for more than two hours at a time. Change your position and stretch your legs.
. From time to time, roll your shoulders and stretch your neck when you are in front of the computer.
. Contract the muscles of the back and abdomen while sitting in the office or on public transport.
. Adopt a more ergonomic position (consult the experts for each job).
. Hold active work meetings: standing or walking.