Getting Exercise at Work Just Got Easier Thanks to Wearables

Encouraging employees to exercise at work gets easier with wearable technology.

Wellness, company culture, wearable technology

Getting exercise at work has always been challenging, but thanks to new wearable devices, your employees can be prompted to build in time for physical activity throughout their days.

While fitness trackers won't actually do the hard work for users, they can prompt individuals to get physical activity during a time when they wouldn't normally — on the job. There are a number of fitness trackers that monitor (and report on) everything from heart rate to daily steps taken to calories burned, including blood sugar levels, hours slept, time spent seated and even your mood. Once you see your employees start to embrace these tools, you can help them get the most out of their fitness routines.

What Gets Measured Gets Done

The key to success with wearable technology is consistent use. The tracker itself won't do any good unless you find a way to make daily exercise at work a routine part of your day. According to research conducted in the 1960s by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, 10,000 steps a day is enough to burn approximately 20 percent of daily calories consumed. That figure has been adopted by several health organizations, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Taking 10,000 steps a day may seem daunting, but the good news is that you don't have to do it all at once during a workout. Using your fitness tracker to guide you, try some of these strategies to build in exercise at work:

  • Climb the stairs (instead of using the escalator or elevator) to get in more steps
  • Take a break at lunch and walk around the block before eating
  • Park your car as far away from the front entrance as possible
  • Walk and talk at the same time (for example, you can place business calls while outside)
  • Hold quick meetings while walking
  • Get off the subway or bus one stop early
  • Walk or bike to work
  • Set an alarm on your device to remind you to get up and move every hour

Adding even a few of these strategies to your regular routine can help improve your fitness level and trim your waist.

How to Encourage Exercise at Work

If the key to getting results is usage, then the trick is to find ways to motivate your employees to regularly leverage their wearable devices. Some strategies for doing that include:

  • Providing everyone with a device and creating teams for mutual support
  • Hosting contests that reward most steps taken or lowest heart rate
  • When weather permits, encouraging employees to hold meetings outside
  • Taking 15-minute fitness breaks at specified times to push employees to get up and move around
  • Posting notices about upcoming local walking events or running races
  • Rewarding employees who walk or bike to work a certain number of days per week or per month

The key with wearable technology isn't to completely overhaul your workday schedule or routine. Change is hard and many — including you and your staff — probably often resist it. Fortunately, there are ways you can spend a few minutes here and there during the day to boost your heart rate and put your wearable device to work. By embracing fitness trackers, you'll be helping your employees make smart choices (when they have time) that will improve brain functioning and boost their confidence and health.