The Watercooler: is physical activity the key to workplace wellbeing?

The Watercooler - physical activity workplace wellbeing

We’re inching toward the halfway point of January, and as if on cue, a study has found that physical activity improves workplace wellbeing more than money or socialising. It’s exactly what most of us want to hear, when our bank balances and our diaries are looking a bit bare.

The study, carried out for Red January — a nationwide initiative to encourage people to move more for their mental health — found that not only did those with active lifestyles report wellbeing scores 25 per cent higher than others, but those who upped their activity, even just a little, experienced the biggest boost.

So how can employers use this news, and the resolve many of us have at this time of year, to help create lasting behaviour change around wellbeing at work?

Well, activewear brand Asics already has. Last year it worked with Dr Brendon Stubbs, a clinical-academic physiotherapist at King’s College London, to develop a scientifically proven Movement for Mind programme, which combined walking or running with mindfulness for two 30-minute sessions per week over eight weeks. Dr Stubbs found that those taking part in the trial spent less time sitting and more time active (even outside the sessions) and that their moods significantly improved.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the executives at Asics are all for this sort of thing — they do make trainers, after all. But now they’ve made the programme available to other businesses, hoping to spread the health.


This article was written by Libby Galvin on behalf of The Watercooler for the Evening Standard.