How to improve your health, productivity and community
Think back to New Year’s Day 2016. It’s 9 months ago now! Did the year seem full of promise as you excitedly made resolutions to get healthy, advance your career or help your community? Many of us here at Peoplebank thought so. And only now are we starting to hit our stride – pun intended!
In the 20 days of September passed, 128 Peoplebank employees have walked over 20 million steps. This equates to about 16,000 kilometres, or walking from Sydney to New York, or traipsing across China from East to West… 3 times over!
By participating in Steptember, a month-long charity initiative where team members commit to taking 10,000 steps a day for 28 days, Peoplebank employees have found easy ways to get healthy and improve their productivity, all whilst supporting the community. Admittedly, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance have helped make it a breeze. And for that, we’re grateful!
So, as we’ve made it past the half way point with some success, we thought we’d share our tips and tricks to help you achieve your goals too, whether they are health, career or community related. Here goes!
Health experts suggest walking 10,000 steps a day can not only improve your fitness but also “reduce your risk of disease, increase your energy levels, manage your weight and boost your mood and mental wellbeing” (Medibank, 2014).
From our experience with Steptember, to get healthy, we suggest you:
- Set short-term, stretch goals
The Steptember challenge encourages people to walk 10,000 steps day – not for a year, not for a quarter, but only for a month! It’s a stretch goal – the average office worker takes only 3,000 steps a day – and a short-term goal, so it’s challenging whilst still being realistic and achievable. It motivates people to reach their goal without getting discouraged. So, to ensure your peak performance, follow Steptember’s lead and set yourself small but challenging milestones.
- Find a buddy
Humans are, by nature, social creatures. We thrive on building relationships. And so it’s no secret that we’re more accountable to others than we are to ourselves. Often the first step to getting fit is easy – you might go for a walk, do some yoga or engage in some other active venture. But, what’s difficult is maintaining consistency and keeping those activity levels up. To help with this, we’ve found buddies are best. You just need one, but the more the better!
- Put it in the calendar
No doubt, as you read this, you’ve got emails coming in, projects on the go and personal to-dos pervading your mind – in short, you’ve got lots to do and very little time. It’s easy to let exercise fall by the wayside, but blocking out time in your calendar every day or week can make all the difference! Try it and see. In fact, we’ve managed to create a Tuesday and Thursday run club by doing this in our Sydney office, 12pm to 1pm, never fail. Truly, it’s going swimmingly!
- Spark some healthy competition
Let’s admit it. We’re all a little competitive. And what we’ve learnt from Steptember is competition breeds success! With teams of 4 competing to get the most steps, there’s a buzz in the office and a desire to win. So, in your own health endeavours, we suggest you gather some friends and spark some competition. There are many health apps which allow you to compare stats and compete with friends – FitBit and RunKeeper are two to start!
- Embed activities in your daily routine
Any activity counts – that’s our mantra! So the easiest activity you can get is that which is embedded in your daily routine. Don’t take the lift, take the stairs. Don’t drive to the shops, walk instead. Don’t have sitting meetings, have walking ones! We’re sure you get the picture. So, what are you waiting for?
Increase your productivity
Research has shown that activity and exercise improve productivity at work so you can achieve more, with less. Throughout our Steptember journey thus far, Peoplebank employees have reported feeling “more energised and productive”. So, in the short-term at least, the research seems to ring true. To maximise your productivity, we suggest you:
- Work to the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule, refers to the observation that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes – or more generally, the observation that “most things in life are not distributed evenly”. Although this is not particularly related to Steptember, we believe Geoffrey James has great insight in how to use this principle to improve productivity so we thought we’d share it here.
- Use exercise as a break
As much as we don’t like to admit it, most of us aren’t 100% productive 100% of the time. Sometimes, this is due to our natural flow of energy during the day, which weathers without regular breaks. Use exercise to create a break in your day, and to provide your brain time to rest and recuperate for maximum productivity. Two birds, one stone – a decent break and physical activity! Schedule in a lunchtime walk or 3pm swim and we promise, it’ll do wonders!
- Feed off the positivity
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings and increased energy levels. To maximise your productivity, take advantage of the natural energy boost following any physical activity – focus on tasks which require more mental energy and those tasks which produce results (refer back to the Pareto Principle).
Help your community
Steptember is organised (and very well, we might add!) by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. All funds raised go towards research, vital equipment, therapy and services for children and adults living with Cerebral Palsy.
Whilst Peoplebank are getting fit, we’re also aiming to raise $19,000 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) and have raised almost $14,000 to date. If you started the year wanting to help your community, or just want to show you support and help find a cure for cerebral palsy, please help us help CPA and donate HERE.