Working for Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the work environment for countless salaried workers including their habits and how they connect with colleagues. Many people are now working from home. Some have adopted a hybrid model of work, alternating working between their pre-COVID workplace and home “office.” Others, such as essential workers, are typically engaged fulltime at their workplace.
Regardless of where you are, working in a healthy environment contributes to wellbeing. In fact, long term absence from work and unemployment can have a negative impact on a person’s health and wellbeing.
The Workforce is Ageing
Given the importance of work in our lives, it is in our interest to remain as physically fit as possible so we can be productive as we age. Overall, the workforce is getting older because the worlds’ population is ageing as witnessed in most countries including Australia and the USA. The United Nations (UN) estimates that by 2050, one in four people living in the developed world will be over 60 years.
In Australia and many western countries, the labor participation rates are falling, due to retiring workers. Too, public health care costs are escalating as a result of increasing life expectancy. To offset this dilemma, the pension age has increased, requiring older persons to continue working beyond age 65. In Australia, this increase started several years ago, is currently 66 years and this will increase to 67 years by July 2023. Physical fitness therefore is paramount to remain productive in the workforce.
Regular Exercise is Key to Work Well
Regular exercise is a key to maintaining optimal health: it is foundational to older Australians who wish to maintain their quality of life, functional abilities and remain in the workforce. The benefits of exercise are tremendous. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend the following for older adults:
- Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Perform aerobic activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
- For more health benefits, older adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week.
- Older adults, with poor mobility, should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week.
- Engage in muscle-strengthening activities, involving major muscle groups, two or more days a week.
Try These Exercise Challenges!
If you are looking for specific ideas about starting exercise, the exercise challenges below feature strengthening, stretching and aerobic activities. These challenges target your arms, core, and leg muscles. When performed regularly, they can be very effective in preventing injuries that may occur during your workday.
Challenge 1 7-Day strength-based exercises
Challenge 2 7-Day strength-based exercises
Challenge 3 6 Week aerobic exercise – running
Challenge 4 6 Week aerobic exercise – walking
Challenge 5 7-Day strength-based exercises
Challenge 6 7-Day strength-based exercises
Challenge 7 7-Day strength-based exercises