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Encourage physical activity in your community for residents and staff alike

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Monday, October 26, 2015

Stay active. Go for a walk. Engage in regular exercise. These are all tips and pieces of advice you're likely familiar with by now, as they're common maxims that your residents live by to remain healthy. But have you ever considered turning them around on you and your staff?

Encourage physical activity in your community for residents and staff alike After all, your retirement community isn't just populated by residents. There is a huge number of nurses, support staff  and other employees who spend their days interacting within your community and those who live there, and it's just as important that they stay healthy so they can continue to provide quality care to the seniors who live in your community. Encouraging regular physical activity while your staff members are on the job may seem like a challenge, but there are several simple ways you can liven up the workplace and encourage your employees to be more active while they're being helpful. 

Rethink your seating arrangements

Despite your best efforts, the fact remains that a large portion of the work day may, by necessity, be spent at a desk. You may think that it's difficult or impossible to encourage a healthy lifestyle when you're chained to a desk for hours a day, but the good news is there are options for even the most desk-bound employees.

You may have noticed an increase in people replacing their standard desk chairs with stability balls - large balls that people sit on. Aside from looking curious, the idea is that replacing a chair with a ball can increase posture, reduce lower back pain and even help burn more calories. According to the Livestrong Foundation, stability balls force people to constantly engage their core muscles, resulting in tighter abs and a straighter back. 

Host community exercise programs

Many assisted living communities include exercise facilities with free weights and equipment like treadmills. These are great ways to help residents stay active, but there's no reason your staff members can't also take advantage of these amenities. 

It may even be worth it to organize an exercise club or similar program to incorporate an element of community into the otherwise monotonous activity of going to the gym. 

"In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system," Wayne Andersen, M.D., cofounder of fitness development program Take Shape For Life told Experience Life.

Explore wellness programs

The Obama administration's health care law enacted in 2010 has encouraged businesses across the U.S. to experiment with workplace wellness programs and other means of taking a preventive approach to health care. Hospitals are leading the charge in this initiative, according to a report from NC Prevention Partners. 

The study also pointed out the positive role that organizations such as WorkHealthy America can have in helping community administrators and other managers create wellness programs for their communities.