Creating a happier healthier workforce, one step at a time

Creating a happier healthier workforce, one step at a time

Research confirms exercise makes us happier and healthier. It helps prevent disease; is the only proven way to slow the aging process; keeps us young in mind, body and spirit; and is more effective than some medications in treating anxiety and depression. It can even add years to our lives.

Only 15% of Canadian adults however, are active enough to meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines which recommend at least 150 minutes of heart pumping activity each week. There are many factors contributing to our sedentary lives: desk jobs, time we spend commuting in our cars, and the perception that we have “no time,” at the top of the list.

Over sixteen million Canadians spend half their waking hours at work, the vast majority in sedentary jobs. Happily, a growing number of employers better comprehend that if they want a healthy and productive workforce, they need to invest in the wellness of those they hire. When they don’t, they can expect higher rates of employee stress, burnout and related absenteeism; difficulty recruiting and retaining talent; and of course, a negative impact where it often hurts most…the bottom line.

Employers often puzzle over how best to create a happier, healthier workforce, and one Canadian company, Urban Poling, has a simple solution — get employees out of their chairs and outdoors, with a customized Nordic walking program. Urban Poling’s new Walk@Work Program is available to businesses big and small; is quickly and easily implemented; invites employees to be part of the program design and implementation; and happily, doesn’t cost the earth to initiate. In parks, on trails, and even on city streets, a vigorous 30-minute walk a day is a healthy lifestyle game-changer.

I’m actually delighted to be working with the company to spearhead and launch this new initiative – I’ve led fitness classes and developed programs for over 25 years and am very familiar with the benefits of adding poles to walking workouts. They add challenge and legitimacy to walking as a means of exercising, and enable users to engage over 90% of the muscles in the body. Really and truly, it’s possible to fit in a ‘workout’ as part of the workday, even where shower facilities aren’t available. Nordic walking is a game changer: it makes regular exercise accessible, affordable, and fun — and since walking more is the single best thing most Canadians can do to improve their health, can help prevent and manage disease, and change health outcomes.

It all begins with an initial consultation followed by an opportunity for would-be participants to learn more about the benefits of Nordic walking and to try out the company’s walking poles. From there, customized group programs are created, poles delivered, an instructor is hired (or employees are trained and provided with ongoing support to administer the program), and other related details negotiated.

Ready to invest in the health and happiness of your team? Urban Poling is ready to help!

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A marketing communications professional with over 25 years of experience and a fitness instructor/trainer of over two decades, Catherine has inspired thousands of Canadians to lead active, healthy lives. Catherine lives in Toronto and has two daughters, ages 20 and 17. Visit Catherine's website