Active Works invites employees to make the active choice

By Melissa Morgan | Emory Report | Sept. 17, 2020

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Healthy Emory encourages faculty and staff to add more movement to their day by taking the Active Works pledge and finding small ways to incorporate activity.

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Healthy Emory’s Active Works initiative helps faculty and staff find ways to add movement throughout the day by making the active choice versus the inactive choice.

This can look different depending on each person’s work environment, especially while working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether working onsite, telecommuting or splitting time between the options, there are many ways to make the choice to be more active throughout the day. A few simple options include:

  • Periodically standing instead of sitting
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Incorporating stretches a few times each day
  • Using the furthest restroom to add additional steps
  • Scheduling a virtual walking meeting instead of sitting at the computer
  • Biking or walking to work or meetings

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, activity can be beneficial  for brain health, as well as reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans stresses the importance of not only exercise, but “moving more and sitting less” to increase health benefits.

While teleworking, Christine Baker, a senior accountant in the Rollins School of Public Health, has found ways to limit her sitting time. “I’m using my ironing board as a standing desk, so I’m not sitting all day while at the computer,” she says. She also notes the importance of taking a stretch break when possible.

Emory employees working onsite are also finding ways to add more activity to their days. “Our team has set an alarm on our watches for every half hour or every hour, depending on the workload,” says Jovan Monfort, a mammography technician at Emory Hillandale.  “When the time comes, we go to our tech area and count off reps for whatever specific exercises we will do. Twenty squats can become 200 by the end of a work day.” 

Active commuting

With the decrease in traffic due to the pandemic, this is a great time to consider implementing an active transportation method. Emory supports cycling on or near campus and biking or walking can be options for those who live nearby. Learn more about Emory’s Smart Commute options here.

Some teams at Emory have found ways to limit their vehicle use outside the regular commute.

“Our team focuses on running errands without cars – by bicycle or on foot,” says Tonio Andrade, Emory College professor in the Department of History. “Making routine tasks into physical tasks is a great way to integrate healthy activities into daily life.” 

Active programs at Emory

Another way to integrate daily activity is by participating in Healthy Emory programs throughout the year. These include the popular Move More Challenge, Walking on Wednesdays, Blomeyer virtual fitness classes, Emory Healthcare yoga sessions and resources such as healthy habit trackers on Healthy Emory Connect.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, virtual walking groups have been popular among employees.

Walking on Wednesdays provides an opportunity for employees to earn Healthy Emory Connect points by walking anytime on Wednesdays during the challenge and recording their activity. Walks incorporate various themes, which adds a little fun. Join the next Walking on Wednesday series beginning Sept. 23.

“The feedback we have received from employees about the virtual walking groups has been incredibly positive,” says wellness specialist Marisa Hutchinson. “Employees look forward to being able to get in at least one walk each week, which has helped them maintain motivation during this pandemic.”

Employees are encouraged to take the Active Works pledge to show their commitment to incorporating activity in the workday. It’s never too late for a more active lifestyle.