As a former classroom teacher, I was always on the move – walking the kids to art class, running to make copies, carrying heavy books up and down the stairs, and squatting down to meet students at eye level. It was quite a workout! Transitioning to an Account Manager role this year came with a lot of changes, one of them being the amount of time I spend sitting. Sitting in meetings, sitting while talking on the phone, and sitting while staring at my laptop, my typing fingers the only part of my body getting some form of a “workout”.
What initially drew me to Princeton Partners was Activity Works, the movement-based education startup that was originally created and produced by the agency for a major health system. With a background in special education and nutrition, I felt I had struck educational gold when I first discovered the website with its engaging, curriculum-based videos that get kids up and moving while going on fun adventures discovering dinosaurs, exploring wonders of the world, and journeying through a grocery store.
Activity Works falls into the “sweet spot” of active screen time, meaning that, yes, a screen is required to use the program, but the context is entirely different from, say, using a device to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed or play Fortnite. With growing concerns about the physical and mental effects of sedentary screen time on the body and brain in both children and adults, and the reality that devices are not going away anytime soon, I feel it is important to take a step back and consider how we can “reclaim the screen” and use technology in healthier ways to promote a more active lifestyle.
There is no escaping the fact that most of our jobs involve, and likely even require, sedentary screen time. But, maybe there are a few tweaks we can make. Some workplace hacks that can help us get fit while still maintaining a high level of productivity. Below are 5 solutions to consider that may help your company take a step in the right direction.
• Desk Cycle – Bike pedals that fit conveniently under your desk. Check it out here. If you don’t want to shell out $100+ for a fraction of a bike, but still want to pedal while you work, there are some great lower cost options on Amazon. (I just ordered this one and can’t wait to give it a try!)
• Upright – An adhesive wearable that pairs with an app to address “screen slouch” and improve posture. I’ll admit, this one seemed a little “out there” (and borderline invasive) when I first saw an ad for it. Then I spent a couple of days noticing my posture. Now I’m considering getting it.
• Activity Trackers – Both Fitbit and Garmin offer corporate health solutions with volume discounts for activity trackers and opportunities for friendly competitions in the workplace. That means more steps, and more motivation to use the stairs, have a walking meeting, or get up from your desk and take that phone call to go.
• Standing desk – “Tried and true,” these have been around for a little while now. Given the pros and cons that have emerged from standing desks, the technology has now evolved into electric sit-to-stand desks so you can sit when you want to sit, and stand when you want to stand, all with the touch of a button. These are an investment, but are arguably worth it.
• Corporate Fitness Classes – Leave the desk for an hour and try yoga, barre, kickboxing, or zumba as a group. The time spent exercising together is an investment in building community, and will likely energize employees to return to their desks (standing, sitting, or pedaling, and hopefully not slouching) refreshed and ready to work. Contact a local gym or exercise studio to book a class, or get started online.
There is no “one size fits all” model when it comes to making your workplace more active. I encourage you to take a moment to close your eyes and visualize what a more active work environment would really look like for you. Consider the costs, benefits, and realistic first steps. Start small, have fun with it, and get moving!
June 12, 2018
Written by Robin Schneider
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