Spacer Physical Activity @ Work inner page Physical Activity at Work: Bringing Physical Activity into the Workday

Before You Start > Keys to Success: What it Takes to Make a Difference

Stretching before workTo make a difference in the lives of your fellow workers, you first need to understand that getting active is not simply a matter of choice. Some things are within our individual control, but others are shaped by the people and circumstances in which we live and work.

It‘s Easier to Be Active When…

  • We know what to do and have the confidence, skills and opportunity to do it.

  • It’s fun. For instance, “working out” at the gym does not appeal to everyone. Activities need to reflect what people enjoy.

  • Our friends, family or co-workers are active with us (or at least support us).

  • We feel safe, e.g., streets and stairwells are well lit.

  • Sidewalks, walking/biking trails, parks and gyms are nearby.

  • We have money to pay for equipment, instruction or memberships.

  • We can walk, bike or take public transit to work.

  • Active choices such as taking the stairs, having stretch breaks at meetings and going outside at lunch are “normal” in the workplace.

  • Managers support and recognize employee efforts. Better yet, they participate.

  • We can juggle our work hours to fit in physical activity.

Think about how you could create some of these conditions in your workplace. By taking these steps, you’ll make it more likely that employees both want and are able to be active during the workday.

Workplace physical activity initiatives that focus only on individuals have limited success. Research shows that reaching people in various ways gives the best chance of long-term success.

A strategy directed at multiple levels is also called an “ecological approach.” For more information about ecological models, go to the Research section of this website.

What’s in This Section for You?

The “levels” in this section are simply the different ways to reach people in your workplace. Physical Activity @ Work calls for a broad approach to increasing physical activity that reaches people through the five ways, or levels, listed below.

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