Physical activity - Healthy Working Lives

Physical activity

Why you should promote physical activity at work and ways to do this

​​​​​​​​​​​​As an employer you have the opportunity to encourage employees to increase the amount of physical activity they do.

Here you can find out the benefits of doing this and also some ideas to help you get started.

Why promote physical activity at work?

Physical activity is essential for good health.

It can help

  • improve sleep
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • manage stress
  • improve quality of life
  • reduce your chances of joint and back pain
  • reduce your risk of major illnesses such and heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers.

Healthier, happier employees will in turn benefit your organisation.

Active employees can lead to

  • reduced sickness absence
  • increased productivity
  • lower employee turnover
  • higher morale.

How to promote physical activity at work

We recommend that you develop and continually review an organisational wide plan or policy to support employees to be more physically active. This will ensure you are taking a consistent and planned approach.

You can encourage and promote increased levels of physical activity in a number of ways.

Suggestions include

  • Flexible working hours - such as the option of longer lunch breaks allowing time for a walk or run.
  • Corporate gym memberships - linking up with local leisure centres to offer discounts for employees.
  • Cycle to work schemes - encouraging employees to cycle to work.
  • Lunchtime walk or jog clubs - giving employees the chance to get together and go on a planned route.
  • Walk and talk or standing meetings - rather than sitting in a meeting room.

You can find out more about how to promote physical activity in your organisation in our 'Simple Guide: Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace 'publication.

Go to our promoting physical activity publication​

Take part in our award programme

We would also encourage you to take part in our Healthy Working Lives award programme. Through this you can encourage and promote physical activity in the workplace and we will provide you with lots of ideas and support.

​​Register now for our award programme

​Find out more

The following sites have more information on specific types of physical activity.

GOV.UK - Cycle to work scheme implementation guidance

Jog Scotland

Paths for all

Sustrans

Cycling Scotland