Staying physically active can be challenging for some individuals, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has made it much harder due to gyms and other athletic facilities being forced to close in some areas. Prior to COVID-19, a study by ParticipACTION found that nearly one third of Canadian adults fell under the “low active” lifestyle. In addition, the study also found adults aged 18-79 are sedentary for almost 10 hours per day, meaning they are physically inactive for that time period.
In October, Canada released a new and updated 24-hour movement guideline for all age groups. The guideline states that adults aged between 18-64 should be physically active each day, get better sleep, and reduce sedentary behaviour in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Before the pandemic, Canadian adults have already been failing to meet the requirements of daily exercise. According to ParticipACTION’s 2019 report, only 16 percent of adults are meeting the national guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity each week. For many individuals who have been working at home, some may have experienced a bit of weight gain, that is being dubbed as the “Quarantine 15”, as a result of reduced physical activity.
Near the end of September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the second wave of COVID-19 had started in Canada. As a result of the pandemic, many Canadians have been forced to stay at home as a safety measure to prevent the spread of the virus. Along with the colder weather approaching, adults are more likely going to stay indoors for the next few months which could reduce their involvement in physical activity.
But having to stay indoors does not mean that adults cannot partake in some form of physical activity. Since adults spend a significant fraction of their time at work, some companies have turned to teaching their employees about ways to stay active, even while working from home. Well Street, for instance, offers a wide range of training seminars to companies and individuals, where one seminar primarily focuses on healthy practices to keep moving.
Benefits of Being Physically Active for Employees
Most people are aware that staying active is a key way to being healthy, that is why 87 percent of Canadians agree that they need to be more physically active, according to ParticipACTION’s Pulse Report. But some people may not be aware as to how financially costly it is to be inactive. The same study by ParticipACTION noted that physical inactivity costs the Canadian economy $6.8 billion each year. For companies, some employees may have likely had to take time off due to complications as a result of lack of physical activity.
The cost of physical inactivity is a staggering amount, but companies can certainly step in by introducing incentives that would encourage their employees to be more physically active, which could reduce absenteeism and improve the overall health of their employees. There are plenty of benefits for being physically active, but below are some of the most important takeaways.
1) Maintenance of Good Body Health
As obvious as it may be, staying physically active is integral to taking care of your body. According to the 24-Hour Movement Guideline for adults, staying physically active can include a multitude of different activities. The guideline states that any sort of movement, whether it is taking a leisurely walk, or engaging in a sport, is applicable as a form of physical activity that can be beneficial for your health.
An article from Harvard Medical School noted that exercising regularly is one of the key ways to strengthen your immune system, which is important during flu season as explored in our previous blog. Some of the other benefits of staying active include a lower risk of mortality and improved bone health, according to the movement guideline. As an example, a 96-year-old man took up exercising in order to improve his mobility with promising results, according to an article published by CBC.
2) Enhanced Mental Health
Overall health is not just dependent on physical health, but also on your mental health. The mental health of Canadians have been negatively affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March and May, Canadians who indicated that their mental health state was currently poor or fair increased by four percent in this time period, according to Statistics Canada. The same study found that 40 percent of Canadians exercised indoors to improve their mental health, plus 57 percent exercised outdoors for the same benefit.
Exercising can improve your mood and block away negative thoughts, according to the Canadian Psychological Association. The group’s fact page indicates that working out increases the production of endorphins, which reduces the amount of cortisol, that is otherwise known as the stress hormone.
3) Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is important for your health for a number of reasons, but did you know that engaging in physical activity can improve your quality of sleep? According to John Hopkins Medicine, exercising decreases insomnia, which is a disorder that makes it difficult to sleep. It is important to note that the method of rigorous exercise should be not completed prior to bed to be most effective.
The Canadian Psychological Foundation’s “Psychology Works” report also states that physical activity reduces the feeling of fatigue, and improves the sleep quality of individuals. The group also supported the findings that noted physical activity reduces insomnia. Sleep is important in restoring your body’s energy, which can affect your productivity for an upcoming day.
How Well Street’s Functional Movement Seminar Can Help
At Well Street, we are founded on the principles of introducing healthy practices to the workplace, which encompasses both mental and physical health. Comprised of medical professionals who have a background in naturopathy, we aim to help organizations foster a healthy corporate environment in order to boost productivity and morale.
With our “Functional Movement: Flexibility, Mobility & Strength From Home” seminar, you or your employees can learn about key movements that can build and maintain the strength needed for everyday life. The primary focus of this seminar is to reduce the sedentary times of adults who are working from home, which can affect their muscles, joints and posture. This seminar will demonstrate exercises and workouts that are geared towards corporate workers, who can then harness the benefits of being physically active.
If you would like to learn more about how our team can help your company, consider contacting us to find out more. We are happy to provide you with guidelines and approaches to support the wellbeing of your team members through virtual seminars.