Evidence suggests that most Americans need to get more physical activity. Two-thirds of people in the United States weigh more than they should and nearly three-quarters don’t get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. Because many adults spend 20, 30, or 40 hours or more a week at work, adding physical activity to employee’s workdays may be one way to help working Americans become healthier.
Walking or biking to work is one way to increase physical activity, but for many people it isn’t an option. However, for many employees, walking while at work is a way to increase their physical activity.
What is Walkability?
Walkability is the idea of quantifying the safety and desirability of the walking routes. At work, these can be streets and sidewalks in between buildings on your campus, city blocks if you work in a downtown area, or even walking or nature trails at your work. Many people work on campuses that have more than one building, and they might work in one building and have meetings in another. Do your employees walk to those meetings, or drive? Do they walk for exercise or recreation at lunch or during breaks? Do they walk to restaurants or parks to have lunch? Sometimes people don’t walk at work because they don’t feel that the walking routes are safe or convenient.
There is scientific evidence that providing access to places for physical activity increases the level of physical activity in a community. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services strongly recommends creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity, in conjunction with a well-run communication and marketing campaign. A typical study of an intervention to create or enhance access to places for physical activity reports a 25% increase in physical activity levels.
What do you recommend for increasing the physical activity in the workplace?