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Incorporating fitness around working life

20 February 2024

4 mins

Purple and orange illustration of two people walking together outdoors.

Finding the right balance between work and personal wellbeing can be challenging and when our calendars get busy, it’s easy to neglect our health.

Many of us spend hours sitting every day at our desks, in the car and watching TV. Incorporating fitness into your daily routine not only helps maintain good health but can also improve productivity, concentration, and overall job satisfaction.

Some of the benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Reduced risk of major illness: Research led by the University of Sydney, Australia, in collaboration with other major institutions including Loughborough University, found that short bursts of daily activity are linked to reduced cancer risk
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Better fitness and energy
  • Improved mood and brain function
  • Lower stress and better sleep

Research at the University has also found that playing sports benefits team function and organisational productivity, as well as employee health.

Find out more about the benefits of exercise on our wellbeing.

Challenge yourself to incorporate at least twenty minutes of exercise into your daily routine

Here are some practical ways to seamlessly integrate fitness, making it an enjoyable part of your day:

  • Schedule dedicated time in your diary for exercise just as you would for any work-related task and treat this as a non-negotiable part of your routine.
  • Take active breaks throughout the day, this could be short workouts, stretching, or quick walks.
  • If possible, consider alternative commuting options that involve physical activity such as walking or cycling to work, using public transport with a walk to the station, or parking a bit further away.
  • Suggest a walking meeting with a colleague instead of sitting across a table.
  • Every time you make or answer a call, get up and walk around, this will add to your daily step count.
  • Use your lunch break to take a walk, run or even go for a quick gym or swimming session.
  • Try simple desk exercises and stretches which can help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

Quick but effective workouts

Apps and resources that can help to plan, motivate and give you fitness ideas

  • Couch to 5K – NHS running programme for beginners that will assist you in gradually progressing toward running 5km in just 9 weeks
  • Active 10 – Tracks your steps and helps you to set active goals
  • We are Undefeatable – Has great advice on getting active for those living with disabilities and health conditions
  • Activity Alliance – Exercise advice, workouts, videos and activity guides to support disabled people to be and stay active

The key to incorporating fitness into your working life is to find activities you enjoy. Whether it’s dancing, cycling, swimming, or yoga, choosing activities that bring you joy will make it easier to stick to a routine. Experiment with different activities until you find what resonates with you.

You can try out a variety of sports at the University through the MyLifestyle programme, a free and inclusive recreational sport and physical activity offer, open to everybody of any ability. There is a series of sports and activities taking place during a weekly timetable including UV zumba, wheelchair basketball, yoga, and much more. These sessions are a great opportunity to keep fit, meet new people and have fun. There are also staff sport sessions you can join, taking place on a weekly basis including badminton, squash and football.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel immediate benefits from adding fitness to your routine, if you can focus on forming new habits then results will develop over time.

Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.

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