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NZREPS encourages employers to consider mental and physical wellbeing of staff
The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (NZREPs) has highlighted that with the rapidly changing landscape of work and life in a post COVID world, looking after the physical and mental wellbeing of staff will become less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
Exercise Association of New Zealand Chief Executive, Richard Beddie notes “It is a fair statement to say that 2020 so far has been a year of challenges. Massive changes to the structure of our everyday lives, along with global and local uncertainty have raised the anxiety across the country.”
One of the areas that this stress became immediately apparent for many was professionally, as sudden changes in work arose with most workers moving into a physical situation of no separation between work and life. Those with already stressful work environments were subjected to a whole new range of circumstances as businesses set about operating in a new way.
The issue of workplace stress is not new. In fact, it’s an area of concern that organisations here and across the world have been investigating over the last few years. It doesn’t help when a workplace becomes home based and there is little room for movement and physical activity, which is one of our bodies ways of dealing with the hormone response caused by stress.
However, the COVID19 lockdown was not all bad news. At the same time as the world became smaller, many people found that without other options for spending leisure time, or from a need to get out of a confined space, that physical activity became more regular.
Beddie adds “One of the consistent messages around managing stress is the contribution physical activity can make. So, the lockdown period created an opportunity for many New Zealanders who were usually sedentary to get moving and experience the benefits - many for the first time.
“These benefits often included a break from sedentary tasks, better sleep, and a more positive mood.
“As NZ has moved out of lockdown and slowly back into some normality, many are reflecting on the positive aspects of the time away from usual life. With physical activity being counted amongst the positives for many, there are those who are now feeling that there is a risk that old stressful work habits could replace any new found stress busting exercise gains.
“For most of us, reducing stress now that we are back at work by changing jobs to a more active one is not a reality. Instead, we need to look at how we manage returning to the old ways of working, and also look at getting meaningful support from employers and workplaces as well.”
Adopting an effective programme and culture of exercise and activity can therefore result in a win/win situation for both employees and the business they work for, and it’s not just about the way an office is set up.
One of the issues in workplace stress management is that while many employers can see the benefits, they have lacked the resources or the incentive to take the step to get their team healthy. Even pre COVID 19, over 60% of businesses considered improving employee wellbeing to have some level of priority over the next 12 months.
If you had the chance to get moving over lockdown and want to keep up the benefits, it can be as simple as heading out for a walk on your lunch break, a bike ride with the kids, or you could try something with more support like joining a gym, or yoga classes, or having the support of a personal trainer to keep you motivated. The choices are limitless.
For more information on NZREPs go to https://www.reps.org.nz/
Image courtesy of NZREPS
19th February 2020 - NZREPS shares research insights into exercise and fitness trends for 2020
2nd September 2019 - NZREPs highlights benefits of exercising in water
22nd January 2019 - NZREPS reviews the top Exercise and Wellness Trends for 2019
10th March 2018 - NZREPs flags warnings over energy drinks and exercise
26th March 2017 - NZREPs asks if a Sugar Tax is the Best Solution to Obesity?
25th October 2016 - NZREPs highlights the real cost of physical inactivity
25th March 2015 - NZREPS highlights the need to be physically prepared for sport
17th September 2014 - NZREPs highlights need for exercisers to ask key questions about High Intensity Training
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