Why Pilates is Perfect for the Workplace
Pilates at work. It works!
Humans were never designed to sit behind a desk for hours at a time. We were designed to run, stretch, jump, walk and MOVE throughout our days.
Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and early death. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.
Adults are advised to exercise for 60 minutes a day to counteract the effects of sitting. (Source: www.nhs.uk).
But it is not just us that suffer. Businesses are losing out through absence due to sickness.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a report into workplace absence (March 2017) which stated that in 2016, 24.8% of total days lost to sickness were caused by musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain and neck problems and 11.6% for mental health issues, including stress and anxiety.
As more and more of us become shackled to our desks, constantly attached to our smartphones, it is imperative that we look for ways to counteract its effects. Which is where Pilates comes in!
Pilates is a truly functional exercise. It improves posture, is highly effective in injury rehabilitation, for lengthening muscles shortened through sedentary positions and improving all around body awareness. Pilates works all of the intrinsic muscles in the body to strengthen from the inside out.
Pilates encourages awareness of our alignment and how to move well making it so good for the workplace. It enables us to recognise where pressure and stress is held in our bodies and the effect this has. And in knowing this, we can perform exercises to counteract them. All too often, office injuries such as lower back pain, can be avoided through regular Pilates practice.
But it is not just the physical benefits, there are psychological benefits too. Through the practice of Pilates, your attention will be on your breathing, your alignment and your movement. It gives the mind the headspace to be in the here and now, concentrating on the exercise, rather than on our seemingly never ending things to do list!
You can leave a Pilates class feeling more focussed and mentally invigorated, as well as with the knowledge that you have done something positive for yourself.
Kingston Hospital has recognised the importance of this, having implemented a health and wellbeing strategy for their staff, who in their 2015 staff survey stated that they “consistently felt stressed and under pressure and that the organisation wasn’t doing enough to help them”.
After offering staff options for weekly pilates classes and relaxation groups, a recent staff survey showed that they feel that the trust is taking positive action on this issue and would recommend the organisation as a good place to work.
So if you are an employer, looking for ways to improve your staff’s working week, Pilates is the perfect option. Either through getting a teacher to come into your place of work, or encourage them to find a class they can attend before, during or after work. You too could feel the benefits of a happier, healthier workforce.
And if you sit behind a desk day after day, speak to your employer! Encourage them to do some research into the benefits of having Pilates as part of your working week. Or get a group of colleagues together and invite an experienced teacher into the office in a lunch break. And if you can’t get Pilates at work, for the sake of your body, get out there and get to a class! Your whole body (and career!) will thank you for it.