10 quick ideas for managers to inspire teams to live healthier

It’s Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM), so it’s time to consider some practical changes to our workplace. The following includes 10 practical changes you could implement into your team to keep employees healthier and fitter.

1. Create a ‘best outdoor photo’ competition

This doesn’t require award winning photography skills. By encouraging employees to take outside photos you can get them outdoors in a way that is completely their choice. Exposure to sunlight, walking and appreciating the moment when taking a photo are great for the mental and physical health of your employees.

2. Get the team outside at lunch

Consider moving your lunch breaks outside. This is as simple as encouraging employees to switch off from the indoors working environment to being outside for lunch, delivering a hit of fresh air air to boost their immune system and vitamin d to boost their mood and mind.

3. Run a ‘steps’ challenge

It’s recommended we walk at least 10000 steps a day – walking is very good for our health and fitness. Setting a challenge between teams or departments to see who can walk the most steps over this month is a great way to encourage some ‘healthy’ competition. Maybe do weekly updates to get the flames of competition firing.

4. Stretch at work

Living a sedentary lifestyle is a modern habit that does not bode well for our body nor mind. Build in stretch breaks into your meetings, getting your team to stretch or shake off their legs for 5 minutes every hour and watch productivity increase.

5. Start a ‘wellbeing fund’

Many organisations now allot a certain amount of money to employees for use on their physical wellbeing. For example, £30 a month could be used for a gym membership to keep them healthier and happier.

6. Introduce standing desks

Sitting on a chair is very unnatural for the spine, especially with the hours most of us work. Consider giving employees the option of a standing desk which can reduce back pain and even burn some calories. This is increasingly important as so many people are now working from home, in spaces not designed as an office. Ensuring the comfort and physical health of your team can be a game changer, boosting productivity, morale and health.

7. Have employees form a new habit

With a small incentive, ask your team which new healthy habit they could start (or remove an unhealthy one) this week. This is one of the best steps towards long-term health and fitness. This could be as small as drinking 5 cups of water a day.

8. Get everyone a reusable bottle

Drinking lots of water is crucial to our mental and physical health – it even makes your skin clearer. Company branded, reusable water bottles are a great way to encourage people to drink more. Simply having a water bottle on our desk has been shown to encourage us to stay hydrated with water and can help us curb excessive coffee consumption.

9. Try a group breathing exercise

We take around 20000 breaths a day and each one is intrinsically linked with the stress response in our body. Poor breathing habits can exacerbate the stress we feel, or calm our nervous system, depending on how we are doing it so it’s important to know how to breathe properly! Try taking just 5 minutes with your team to experiment with some box breathing techniques to get their minds and lungs working together.

10. Create a team Instagram ‘foodie’ page

A great way to encourage healthy eating is to make a company or team Instagram food page – give everyone the login so they can upload whenever they create a good-looking healthy dish. This encourages healthy eating, and you could even vote on the best dish for the month.

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