Exercise in the Workplace (Top Tips)
WHERE DOES THE IDEA COME FROM?
In Japan, some of the traditional companies still integrate daily exercise as a routine for the workplace. They call it “Rajio Taiso”, which means radio and physical exercise in Japanese.
This idea was originated as radio exercise in 1928. They would do it in the mornings and start the radio show by saying something like: “we are going to start a radio calisthenics show to keep your bodies in condition, because good health among the population will be a great public benefit”. From here it became part of schools and businesses alike until people were repeating the same routine at work as part of daily exercise. They literally would exercise in the workplace all together.
Today, when it comes to thinking of exercise at work you might conjure the image of people jumping and shouting like crazed fitness freaks each lunch time. Of course, many of us look at that show and wince.
Perhaps you are reading this because you are attempting to introduce exercise in the workplace and struggling to find the right solutions. I mean, can you imagine getting every person in your workplace doing rajio taiso for 30 minutes inside a giant hall first thing? No, thought not. Perhaps you are just trying to find solutions for yourself because you don’t have time for the gym but need to improve your fitness.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY IF WE DON'T MOVE?
Before we address our 3 simple and scientific tips let’s think about what happens to the body and brain when we don’t get adequate movement.
Circulation becomeS less efficient:
When you move your body pumps blood and oxygen along with it. For circulation to work at its best it needs one of two things. First is a strong heart that pumps blood around the body with efficiency – ok giant elephant in the room, because we all know to get a strong heart you need to exercise it. The second area is literally movement. When you move your muscles, blood is squeezed around your body and this carries fresh oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and your brain. On that subject...
Your brain becomeS less alert:
When you lack movement your brain doesn’t get a good flow of oxygen and as a result you start to get very sluggish – often after your lunch break. However, there’s more to this story. You see, often during the day the stress of work releases higher than normal amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) and as a result it starts to literally affect your mood. Maybe you find yourself getting snappy and irritable often. Well, interestingly, when you exercise during the day your brain starts to release different hormones that have the reverse effect on how you feel. For example; exercise releases dopamine that motivates you and serotonin that helps you to feel better – it’s important to note that low serotonin levels are linked to depressed.
So, when you're sitting around all day long you may find yourself feeling tired, stressed, frustrated and snappy. You may be less able to focus and even think clearly. But, what type of exercise should you be doing during the day?
Well, literally any movement will have a beneficial effect on you. For example; walking has been shown to decrease stress hormones and improve mental focus. However, to get the best result you may need to walk for 5 miles per day. You may not always have the time. There is a solution that takes less time and has more of an immediate effect though, and it's called High Intensity Interval Training.
Yes, I'm sure you have heard about how short HIIT workouts can deliver the same fitness results as an average 60 minute gym session and of course there has been much debate on the subject. Currently, all the results are looking very promising for high intensity exercise to not just be as good as gym routines but in many cases they are proving to more even more effective. 7 Minute Mornings have conducted our own experiments with case studies to see what impacts 7 minutes of HIIT exercise can have on these areas:
1. Fitness Results
2. Weight Loss
3. Focus and Mood
FOCUS & MOOD
Case Study Experiences Doing HIIT
Check out what our case studies said about their experiences in the video below. In truth we were very impressed with the results. But, the most surprising was how it affects work performance. Every participant reported an improvement in focus, energy and mood when they exercised first thing (you can try our free 7 Minute HIIT workouts HERE.
3 TOP TIPS FOR YOUR WORKPLACE
So here are our top tips for getting your workplace fitter in 2019:
1. Get a FitBit or go old school and buy pedometers and start a competition for the most steps in a week or month with friends or family. No one wants to be last so it will really push you to move more!
2. Get a lunch time yoga teacher. Focus on light movement so people don't get sweaty and sticky with no way to wash. A little light movement like tai chi or yoga will open joints and muscles and allow for better circulation to the body and brain.
3. Do it first thing. Here at 7 Minute Mornings we have found that doing 7 minutes of HIIT exercise first thing in the mornings boosts energy, burns more fat and releases high amounts of happy hormones.
Whatever you decide, movement doesn't just make you lose weight. It makes you think clearly, feel happier and look better and doing it as a team helps everyone push that little bit harder.
Stephen Thompson - Co-Director (7 Minute Mornings)