Putting the work in workouts
The people who surround us daily can have a huge impact on our lives. And, for most of us, we spend long hours in shared spaces with our work colleagues. There is a growing emphasis on wellbeing at work, some of this looking at mental health and stress, but another important feature is physical health. Employers are beginning to better understand the benefits of exercise and organising corporate exercise programmes for employees.
Exercise releases endorphins in our bodies, which help put us in good moods. Exercise is also a great stress buster and getting our hearts beating faster means there is more oxygen circulating the body, giving us more energy and making us more alert. This is good news for us on a personal level, but also great news for employers because if their staff are fit and active, they are likely to be happier and more productive in work.
I have been doing a lot of corporate classes recently and it has been great fun and a new challenge too. It’s funny when you get a bunch of people together who know each other for one thing and when you change the setting, they can be very nervous. This is true of sports teams more used to seeing each other sweating in a pair of shorts; but spruce them up for an awards night and everyone is almost unrecognisable. The same is true of work colleagues who are used to seeing each other in the office but suddenly find themselves out socialising with each or, even better, exercising together in Lycra and t-shirts.
This doesn’t last long, however, and once classes begin and the physical warm up is done, I find people begin to loosen up too.
As with all my classes, one-to-one, group or corporate, I try to ensure everyone enjoys what they are doing. Exercise can be tough, and we should always be pushing ourselves to be better each time – to run faster, to hold longer and to push further. But, if you don’t enjoy it, it makes it harder to come back to. While people can be nervous working out with colleagues for the first time, I often find that by the second and third session they are laughing together and pushing each other on.
We spend a lot of time around the people we work with. If they are binging on biscuits it can be very easy to binge with them, so they don’t eat them all themselves! It is also an opportunity to create a positive and motivating network with whom you will spend the bulk of your week. When a group of colleagues are exercising together, they can encourage each other to ‘keep up the good work’, to go to a class at the end of a tough day or week. If you have a target in mind they can help keep you on track, wrestling the complimentary baked goods out of your hand and swapping it for an apple, or comparing notes on what to have for lunch (a favourite topic of conversation for many). Having team support throughout the day can be a massive help in staying on track.
For some of my corporate clients, I have been running classes as lunchtime. It’s a 45-minute class. There’s no time to waste. I think it’s great to set a deadline on things. Often you will see people in the gym, and they could be there for two hours, much of that time is spent looking for the right weights, checking their phones or people watching. With a 45-minute window you have to get in and get it done, no time wasting. I find this is also a great motivator for people, on the days when it’s tough to get motivated the end is already in sight, and on days where you’re rearing to go, that deadline can make you push yourself harder. The group environment can also push you on, depending on how competitive you’re feeling. A little competition can be good for you sometimes!
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