Have you ever heard the recommendation that healthy adults should try to do 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days of the week to help maintain health and reduce the risk of heart disease? If you want to lose weight, you'll need to tack on an additional 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. But who has time for even 30 minutes of exercise?
To Improve Company Health Culture, Encourage Short Spurts of Exercise
Although it's ideal to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, it's not always possible or practical. Between commutes, packed work schedules, and other demands on our lives, many employees find it difficult to fit in three meals in a day, much less 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.
So, if employees can't exercise at least 30 minutes at a time, should they skip it altogether? The answer is definitely no. Physical activity has benefits even if you can only do it in 10- or 15-minute segments.
Short Bursts of Exercise Benefit Employee Health By:
Improving Employee Cardiovascular Fitness
Research has shown that even 10 to 15 minutes of walking at 2 to 3 mph can improve cardiovascular fitness. This means employees can improve their heart's ability to pump blood and oxygen to the rest of their body. People who currently have a sedentary lifestyle see this benefit most.
Boosting Employee's Calorie Burn
Ten minutes of exercise can give your employee's metabolism a boost for up to an hour.
Lowering Employee Blood Pressure
Hypertension Journal reports that individuals can decrease their blood pressure for several hours by taking a few short, brisk walks each day. In fact, individuals can lower it for 11 hours after completing four 10-minute walks.
Exercise, even if only for a short period of time, increases endorphins (the feel-good hormone), decreases cortisol (the stress hormone), and provides an outlet for frustrations.
Giving Employee Brains a Much-Needed Break
Employees can clear their head and prepare to focus on the next task at hand after only 10 minutes of exercise. Based on the answers to a questionnaire, study participants said a 10-minute bike ride helped them "feel more clear-headed" and "reduced feelings of fatigue."
Ten minutes of activity can help lower triglycerides and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Where Does Your Company Go From Here?
Encourage employees to look for opportunities to exercise in three or four 10-minute segments. This could mean giving them a few minutes of paid time during their lunch break to exercise, or encouraging a 10-minute walk before they go into their afternoon commute.
Consider this fact: People who begin a routine of regular physical activity by walking only 10 minutes a day are more likely to stick to the routine and add to it than are new exercisers who start with a 30-minute-per-day goal.