The results of a new study by Cambridge University should provide the motivation that the people packing into gyms up and down the country in a bid to keep their New Year’s resolutions to exercise more.
Its European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition study, which analysed data from more than 334,000 men and women across Europe in order to measure the link between physical inactivity and premature death, found that just a 20-minute brisk walk each day could cut the chances of early death by between 16-30%.
Although employees are free to determine their own lifestyle choices, I firmly believe the findings of the research represent a huge opportunity for employers that opt to help their workforce become more active.
Exercise has been proven to help improve how a person responds to stress by forcing the body’s physiological systems to communicate much more closely than usual. So the more sedentary a person’s lifestyle, the less efficient their body will be at responding to stress.
Studies have also shown that exercise can help to improve a person’s retention of information by stimulating the parts of the brain involved in the formation of memory.
Taking the time out of their working day to attend a gym class or go for a walk or run in their lunch break can also help an employee to switch off and return to work re-energised and de-stressed.
I used to be one of the biggest sceptics about such claims, but I’m writing this fresh from a lunchtime Body Combat class, which, even on a hectic press day, helped to reinvigorate my concentration and energy levels for the afternoon.
So, simply giving staff the flexibility they need to build exercise into their working day could have significant benefits for employers.
And if any of you are looking for ideas for classes, I’d highly recommend Insanity!