I recently met someone who works for StepJockey and was intrigued and excited by the implications of their work. We got chatting and I learnt about the various ways the system can be used to encourage team and individual health and fitness goals.
I learnt how StepJockey technology in the workplace makes exercise easy and fun. The great thing about StepJockey is that you can start with small steps and build up your fitness levels over time.
You might not feel you are the kind of person who can easily exercise and keep your body moving, but once you get started, you begin to notice the benefits and it becomes much easier to continue. Very soon you'll be doing regular exercise.
Not everyone fancies themselves as a sporty superstar, and lots of people wouldn't be seen dead in a gym. If this is you, then why should you make time for yourself and your body? How might you benefit?
Perhaps you haven’t realised yet how much exercise can affect your mood, metabolism and mind. As a wellbeing practitioner I am well aware that exercise is a great stress-reliever. And I also know that when you are very busy and feeling tense or anxious, it is difficult to make time for yourself and prioritise your health. Yet there are many studies that explain the link between exercises that are as simple as climbing the stairs, and your mental health and physical health.
Having StepJockey installed could also help build a sense of community at your organisation by encouraging colleagues to be fitter and healthier. This is done by creating an atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie, giving you all something else to talk about as you achieve valuable goals together.
A small change that's worth the effort
If you are going up and down the stairs several times a day instead of using the lift, you will be on the way to improved cardiovascular health and building stronger muscles in your legs. And in fact, the National Osteoporosis Society recommends stair climbing as a way to build and maintain bone density.
As for your mood, at the very least, this mini-workout could burn off adrenalin that is accompanying anxiety or stress. At best, it could also give you a bit of an endorphin high, as the feelgood hormones activated by the exercise pour into your bloodstream. You might also feel good that you have added to your step count and calorie burn, or enabled your team to be further up Everest.
There is evidence that shows that if your mood has been low, including exercise in your daily routine may be an effective way of treating yourself to a more optimistic outlook.
Finding the time for exercise
If life is too busy to fit in an enjoyable activity on a regular basis, it’s worth remembering that there have been plenty of studies that show many health benefits from exercise. Remember that you are likely to live longer than your parents, so it is worth taking care of the one body you have been blessed with - there aren’t any others you can exchange it for.
How much exercise you should be doing has also been studied. The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences has reviewed the literature on physical activity and its impact on health. Its expert panel recommends that, “All healthy adults aged 18-65 years should aim to take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or equivalent combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activities.
“Moderate-intensity activities are those in which heart rate and breathing are raised, but it is possible to speak comfortably. Vigorous-intensity activities are those in which heart rate is higher, breathing is heavier, and conversation is harder. Aerobic activities should be undertaken in bouts of at least 10 minutes and, ideally, should be performed on five or more days a week.”
What better way to begin the road to better health than by simply ascending and descending those stairs at work?
Taking control of your health
Your life is shaped by the choices you make. Will you get up early enough to have a nutritious breakfast before you leave for work? Or will you get up at the last minute, fly out the door and buy a double strength latte and a flapjack at the station to kick-start your day? The first option will give you a steady release of energy, the second will throw your blood sugars into mayhem, spiking upwards followed by freefall and a slump.
Another choice occurs when you are standing and waiting for the lift when you have a perfectly fine pair of legs and a staircase nearby. You have an opportunity to fast forward your brain to that sense of achievement: choose to take the stairs and feel proud of yourself! Small decisions can lead to your trousers feeling looser round the waist and you doing your belt up a notch or two tighter. Simple ways to more satisfaction and pride while building fitness and wellbeing. All without joining a gym or trying to find time to go swimming several times a week.
If you view your working day as one long sit: straining your neck at a screen; feeling a bit dozy after lunch; counting the hours until home time; how does that make you feel? Not so good?
Consider your day more as blocks of concentration. Break them up with those little visits to different floors via those stairs, getting the blood circulating and muscles and joints warmed up, enjoying the natural lift that movement gives the mind, and laughing with your colleagues that you’re winning the next steps challenge together. I bet that feels better. Your body will be thanking you too, as your fitness levels improve.
So the stairs are there to give you a chance to make choices for your own health and wellbeing. StepJockey enables you to keep a tally of your calorie expenditure and goals.
Take control and take the stairs, they will give you more of a lift than the lift!
Nicola Preston Bell is a hypnotherapist and solution-focused psychotherapist based in West Sussex. Visit Nicola’s website: www.nicolaprestonbell.com
1. Daley A. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. Exercise and Depression: A Review of Reviews. 2008;15:140-147
2.O’Donovan G, et al. The ABC of Physical Activity for Health: A consensus statement from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Journal of Sports Sciences 2010; 28: 573-591
Image Credits: Nicola Preston Bell, Foutriq Jeez