Get physical at work

Being physically active at work is increasing due to policy changes because of health care issues.

Fall is here and winter temperatures are moving in. It is important to stay active to help maintain balanced health during the cold and flu season. It takes more than washing hands to keep your immune system strong. Washing hands before eating helps reduce germ intake but being physically active everyday helps build immunity to illness.

Think of being physically active  as the building blocks to health. Physical activity is a broad topic area and involves just about any form of upright movement. The three best types of physical activity are aerobic, stretching and strengthening exercises. Aerobic activities get your heart beating faster. Stretching is an activity that stretches the body’s muscle groups; while strengthening is any activity that pulls and pushes muscle groups. All upright activity involves using muscle but the secret is to do all three of these types of activities for a minimum of 30 consistent minutes three to four times per week.

Although the recommendation for these exercises requires working out several times a week, a lot of people don’t have the time to fit exercises into their daily life. There are many organizations and work environments that are now adopting physical activity ideas, programs and policy changes in an effort to reduce illnesses and disabilities. Office furnishings are beginning to change due to these policy changes as well as people wanting to be more mobile and active while working. There are now exercise ball chairs, balance disks, desk cycles that fit under desks, standing desk bikes, stand-up desk or tables and even treadmill desks. These office furnishings help accomplish the goal of getting employees to be more mobile, physically conscience and getting those hearts beating!

Besides furnishings, there are work sponsored classes and competitions taking place in the work place. Many are involved with counting their steps each day by using pedometers. Office breaks are now being provided with ideas to be physically active. Instead of heading to the break room for coffee, walk outside or do some stretching to boost energy levels naturally. Michigan State University Extension has numerous nutrition and physical activity programs throughout the state through Worksite Wellness. Call your local Extension office or visit MSU Extension for classes in your community. The benefits of being physically active are numerous and when done on a regular basis, can build up a healthy immune system and benefit your overall health.

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