I would say I am a pretty lucky person. As a freelancer, some projects allow me to work wherever I want. So, when my housemates are out the door to commute at 7 am, I get to keep on snoozing.
Considering this, you can imagine how I felt when I found myself (at 4 am!!!!) in a taxi on my way to a lake on the outskirts of London with my flatmate Tamara; I was pretty bewildered. How did I get here?
Tamara knows me well and proposed I come out and support her “swim with work” event when I was at my most vulnerable and enthusiastic; after three glasses the night before.
Her company, Fourfront Group arranged the event as a networking day that involved triathlons and a two-mile swim down a lake.
So, I make it there and the first thing I noticed was the buzz. I was surrounded by morning-people who were getting into the team-building spirit. Nothing says ‘teamwork’ like your director, you, and the guy in sales, standing in line in matching yellow swim caps about to jump into a lake.
(And nothing is cooler on an individual level than beating all of them to the finish!)
This event was an amazing thing to experience. The company’s culture and the support they gave each other were incredible. I felt healthy just being around them!
This got me thinking, how much of a difference a fit and active work culture would make to everyone’s day. When I worked in gyms, they would say that you are 70% more likely to be fit and active if your spouse is.
And remember Dan Buettner’s big takeaway after he had studied centurions around the world and their healthy habits. He concluded that:
Healthy living is easier to do if your community or home (and it stands to reason your workplace where you spend almost as much time) is conducive to it.
Buettner is now busy implementing what he calls the Blue Zones Project, an effort to bring the nutritional and lifestyle habits of the centurions in his study to 20+ cities throughout America…including this one in Los Angeles.
Last week’s early morning swim and experience with the Fourfront Group inspired me to encourage you, our readers, to create your own fit cultures.
With the help of Tamara and friends, I’ve come up with a dozen suggestions to inspire you to create a fit company culture in your workplace. Doing this is a great way to form your own fit community and to incorporate more wellness practices into your workday.
- Start a sports team with co-workers.
- Immediately before or after lunch, grab a bunch of colleagues to go for a good “lunch walk.”
- If you live in a city like NYC or London that offers free classes in the parks, organize a group to take a class one day a week.
- When you’re on holiday, turn off work completely. Stop making yourself available and letting work disrupt your vacation time. Throw your phone in the sea if you have to!
- Use an extension to convert your regular desk to a standing desk or ask your employer to replace yours. Psst, they help to reduce cellulite too. You’re welcome!
- Get to work earlier so you can leave earlier. If you can’t do this every day, at least do it 1x week, maybe on Fridays.
- Take a “mental health” day once a month, and if you’re the boss, implement this on your team.
- Do annual charity events, such as Cancer Walks, with coworkers; especially if your company sponsors one.
- Every week buy a bowl of fruit for your desk! And to get in the water habit, pick up a massive 2-liter jug that you fill every morning (you will be surprised how you go through it by the end of the day!)
- When the weather is nice, arrange to have some meetings outside. If not outdoors, then over brown bag lunches somewhere less formal than a conference room.
- Weave in exercise into your day. Take the stairs if you’re going 3 floors or less and when you are the host, get everyone to do a few simple stretches before your meetings.
- Encourage and support your co-workers’ health and wellness plans. If a member of the team has dietary restrictions or is on a fitness kick, be thoughtful when you place group orders, purchase snacks, and the like.
As for Fourfront Group, well done to everyone that took part in the race, and keep up the great work, guys!
Jackie is a northern English girl living in 'The Big Smoke', London. She enjoys her work as a Digital Marketer and is passionate about multimedia including content creation and graphic design. She's almost as passionate about peanut butter as she is about fitness (which she needs to shift the peanut butter!)