Work Out to Work Better?
Physical fitness is more than being able to run a marathon or hold a complicated yoga pose. It’s also being able to move comfortably throughout the day and perform your work without pain—an issue that is affecting Canadians of all ages
In a recent survey by TELUS Health, 13 percent of Canadians reported that they currently experience physical health challenges, while 15 percent reported that a physical issue interferes with their work. And this can add up to big problems in the workplace. Manulife reports that in 2022, Canadian workers lost more than 48 days to reduced productivity and health-related absence— a week longer than they reported the year prior.
The good news is that the majority of Canadians (66 percent) are sharing their physical health concerns with their employers. Even better, their employers are overwhelmingly accommodating, with nearly 90 percent of those surveyed saying their employer always or often helps them in managing their condition. The benefit is that employees who are supported in their workplace exhibit higher quality output and have more time to devote to their family and post-work responsibilities.
Preventative measures can be taken to counteract future physical health issues, both at home and at work. Small changes can help workers stay mobile and flexible throughout the day, and put them on a path to a happier, healthier work-life.
According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, adults aged 18 to 64 should • participate in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week; • sleep seven to nine hours each night; and • limit sedentary time (when you aren’t moving, like when watching TV) to a maximum of eight hours every day, with less than three hours of screen time.
Unfortunately, that same TELUS Health study revealed that Canadian workers are far from hitting their activity benchmarks, with nearly 30 percent getting less than a half hour of exercise over the course of seven days.
If minor aches and pains as you go through your shift aren’t enough to change your mind about your activity level, the global statistics might convince you otherwise.
More than three million deaths worldwide are attributed to insufficient physical activity annually, making it the fourth leading risk factor for mortality. This is because inactivity is linked to a higher risk of cancer and other conditions such as heart disease.
In the end, there’s little downside to increasing your number of steps, time outdoors, and minutes you get your sweat on each day. And if you are finding a physical challenge is preventing you from working to your fullest, don’t be afraid to bring it up. Speak to your supervisor, talk to your steward, and remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Sources: Canadian HR Reporter, csepguidelines.ca, movember.com, Manulife