Are you working in front of a computer all day?  If the answer is yes, it’s likely you spend most of your time tied to your desk, rarely taking breaks or stretching your legs. It’s easy to do; busy workloads and stressful environments can soon see you falling into bad habits.

So the question is, how do you break the cycle? It’s likely that many of your colleagues are also feeling the strain, so why not turn it in to an opportunity for a bit of healthy competition? It could be the perfect opportunity to get yourself and your colleagues involved in a health challenge for 2024!

Benefits of moving more

One in four people is physically inactive, and in 2022/23, 1.8 million workers suffered from work-related ill health in Great Britain. Shockingly, on average, men sit for 78 days and women for 74 days per year (British Heart Foundation). Regular physical activity can prevent various lifestyle-related conditions, including leading causes of workplace absences like back injuries, stress, depression, and anxiety. Sedentary behaviour, ranked in the top four leading causes of death by the World Health Organization (WHO), can be mitigated through active engagement.

Being active improves overall circulation, including to the brain, enhancing productivity and reducing mental health issues. It also reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease by 35 percent.

Why are workplace health challenges important?

Companies promoting health and wellbeing, along with employee engagement across their workforce, tend to have more engaged and valued teams. An office health challenge is a perfect way to achieve this! It can have a hugely positive impact in so many areas:

  • Increased workforce productivity – if employees are healthy, happy and active, they will be more productive in their role
  • Reduced sickness absence – having a healthier workforce should see a reduction in time taken off due to illness, workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders and mental health issues
  • Positive morale – team challenges bring people together
  • Improves communication between employees and employers
  • Encourages creativity – employees come up with new ways to stay healthy and active
  • Team bonding – improves trust between people, encourages them to get to know each other better and have respect for each other
  • Improved fitness – getting up from your desk, moving around and taking those all-important breaks from your workstation to get involved in a health challenge is a simple way to improve your overall fitness and wellbeing
  • Fun! – what better way to motivate people by letting them have fun?
Choosing Your Next Workplace Health Challenge

Depending on the type of challenge you and your colleagues are looking to get involved with, there are plenty of places to draw inspiration from.

If you are not sure where to start, why not have a brainstorm in the office? Not only will this create some great ideas, but it will also be a fantastic way to get everyone together and talking, fostering team building and morale within the workplace!

Ideas like a walking or running group, step count competitions to see who can accumulate the most amount of steps over a certain period of time or a planking challenge. They can be completed in teams or as individuals, and you could even incentivise them with prizes for people’s involvement – all great ways to stir up a bit of healthy competition with your colleagues! Don’t overlook healthy eating challenges for a holistic approach.

If you’re looking for organised events outside of the office, Find a Race has a list of challenges from half walks/half runs, 5km and 10km runs to triathlons, swimming races and cycling. If you fancy learning about London’s history while you are running, the Secret London Runs are just for you! These guided running tours will take you through London’s hidden past such as the Great Fire of London and Jack the Ripper. The Secret Gin Run on the 3rd of February 2024 is a 10km run through London’s gin-drenched history.

Don’t forget about the marathon! The London Marathon is on the 21st April 2024 and if you can’t be in London, you can enter and complete the 26.2 miles your way, on the route of your choice on the same day as the mass event in London and entries are open now for the TCS London Marathon MyWay.

You can also check out some local charities as they may have some sporting challenges or events you can get involved with, whilst raising money for good causes too!

Finding Free Training Plan

If you and your colleagues decide to participate in an organised sporting event, training will be vital to minimise the risk of injury. If you’re unsure how to start your training, 220 Triathlon offers free training plans suitable for all fitness levels! This enables you and your colleagues to prepare for the event, getting to know the people you work with, fostering team cohesion and enhancing fitness simultaneously. It’s a win-win for all!

Promoting workplace fitness through challenges not only improves individual health but also strengthens team dynamics, creating a positive and engaging work environment. So, are you up for the challenge in 2024?

Related articles:

Employee Health: A Priority Worth Pursuing

Creating a Safer and More Comfortable Work Environment: A Guide to DSE Risk Assessments

How to Keep Active in a Workplace