Getting active at work
Discover ways to improve your wellbeing and get active at work.
Date: 25 May 2023 Author: Energise Me
Kelly is a naturally energetic person who has always found fun in being physically active. She is passionate about sharing that love with others. This is how she helps keep the Energise Me team moving.
Over the years, my definition of ‘being active’ has changed. For me, it used to represent sport and high intensity activities. It was something you did to stay healthy and a lot of the time there was a competitive edge. Now, I would urge people to consider what they think physical activity is and what it means to them. It has changed for me. I now appreciate a walk and talk, yoga and stretching, and love trying different activities. I also do the things that I enjoy rather than what people tell me is good for me. For anyone that knows me, I am still involved in the sports I love and enjoy competition, but I have a much broader perspective.
I try to organise activities that are positive, accessible and get people away from their desks.
The older I get, I am aware that not everyone has the same opportunity or mindset as me to be active. I enjoy sharing my passion and am inspired to support others. There has been a lot of learning about how I encourage people to consider building movement into their day.
As the Energise Me team have settled into hybrid working, creating opportunities to bring us together has been really important. The strength of our team is that we have good relationships and have opportunities to build our connections. It’s not always just about work. The team have described me as a ‘Duracell Bunny,’ so I know not everyone will relate to me. But I try to organise activities that are positive, accessible and get people away from their desks.
As we emerged from Covid, the obvious choice was a team walk. Getting everyone outside and together, if and when they felt comfortable. Initially, I went about it quite casually sent an invite to members of the team. I’m not going to lie; I didn’t anticipate the number of questions people would have and quickly realised I had not provided enough information. So, I went about rectifying the situation.
Trying to co-ordinate something for a group of people that don’t all like the same thing can be challenging. But that’s also why I think it’s important. It means that I must listen to what they want and need. I must outline parameters for the whole team to work within so that everyone understands what the purpose of the activity is and can enjoy taking part.
The team on their most recent walk.
It wasn’t enough for me to say just ‘team walk.’ Some people prefer shorter distances, everyone walks at different speeds and for others not knowing the terrain was off putting. So, I updated the invite with more information:
Location – ***** Walk approx. distance – **** (in km)
Meet time – **** Estimated time to be out – ****
Walk start time – **** Terrain – ****
Some of these things might seem obvious or things that could be taken for granted but, I learnt that setting specific times can cause concerns about pacing expectations. Providing an estimated overall time can help people gauge that rest stops have been factored in. Knowing if there are hills or gravel tracks was useful for multiple reasons. Both place greater stress on the body but for those who might have an injury, a health condition or are feeling less confident, this may influence their decision to get involved.
I often tested out the routes with my dog beforehand so that I could provide updates about terrain or adjust the route. My lifestyle lends itself to being very active, so this wasn’t any extra work for me really. I also knew that for some of my colleagues, the walk was just a way to socialise. So, I provided a lunch option for drinks and food after the walk too.
This is one example of an activity that works for our team. We have since done a few and have more pencilled in the diary. We have a lot more meetings as ‘walk and talks’ too so that we have time away from our screens, re-energising our bodies. It helps to break up the busy schedules and catch our breaths.
It’s kind of grown from there. We have since had after work group runs, open water swimming invites, and a games lunch with a sack race, a skipping activity and a scavenger hunt. And I am hopeful that this is just the start. There will be new challenges but something that I am determined to do is keep listening, have an open mind and be there to support my colleagues when they want to be active.