It’s official. Office work might be keeping our brains engaged, but it’s slowly killing our fitness levels. A study of 1,000 office workers shows that only one in ten people exercise regularly, and even fewer actually break a sweat. Over in the UK more than a third of the population (37%) admits they never do sport or exercise, with similar figures recorded in other parts of the world.
Despite the clear benefits of exercise for health and wellbeing, many people find it hard or even impossible to fit exercise around their busy schedules and family lives. If we’re not chained to our emails, we’re rushing to a PTA meeting or hightailing it down the motorway to pick the kids up from drama club. That’s where active team building and training comes in. Helping employees to get fit while they engage with work, activity-driven options offer hidden benefits. Unlike sedentary meetings, they allow employees to get some fresh air or just stretch their legs around the office, ideal for getting that blood pumping.
So how could companies benefit from having access to a wider range of active team building options? And why should venues be providing them?
We know that inactivity is a major cause of chronic illness, and has been linked to an increased risk in heart disease, diabetes and obesity, among other conditions. But lack of exercise also impacts mental health and can exacerbate issues like depression and anxiety. By contrast, numerous studies have been done to show that regular exercise can boost your mood, and even improve your productivity at work by up to 21%. While high intensity training is best for increasing cardiovascular fitness levels, moderate and light activity can reduce fatigue and improve performance at work. Ensuring that active team building activities are easily available makes it easier for companies to choose the healthy option.
It’s not just productivity that’s affected, a 2013 study found that exercising regularly sparked greater creativity. In the office we can take small steps to improve activity levels, such as moving away from desks at regular intervals or taking a walk to the shops. But active team building can take this one step further, by allowing employees the chance to explore a new destination on foot and incorporate learning with gentle exercise. Companies can even combine these activities with some creative brainstorming.
Research shows that even small amounts of exercise have an impact on our happiness, with as little as 10 minutes a day helping to boost our moods. In turn, happiness in the workplace also leads to improved productivity and staff retention. It’s in a company’s best interests to promote physical exercise, and active team building add-ons are the ideal way to make this a reality. Activities like city treasure hunts or office scavenger hunts can be run for groups of any size, and make a fun, team building option that combines exercise and learning.
From constant firefighting to an overflowing inbox, corporate life can be stressful. Unsurprisingly, our current culture of work addiction and 24/7 accountability has increased levels of stress, with up to one in five employees now at risk of burnout. Exercise is known to relieve stress, and team events are a good opportunity to get employees up and about. As well as increasing engagement in work, active team building and training options also encourage keeping fit and relationship building away from the stress of the office.