You’d like to mingle more with your co-workers, but every opportunity seems centered around eating and drinking. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to integrate your healthy lifestyle with your on-the-job social life, enabling you to boost your social capital while staying true to your health goals.
Studies show that healthy habits are strongly influenced by the people we spend time with, for better or for worse. Don’t let your co-workers’ negative health habits bring you down. Instead, be a positive role model for an active, healthy lifestyle and help build a corporate culture of health from the ground up.
Go For a Walk
- Invite a co-worker to join you for a quick walk instead of a coffee or smoke break. You’ll have a chance to catch up on work or personal matters, and return to your work stations reenergized and focusing on the tasks at hand. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and creativity.
- If you have a standing 1:1 meeting, suggest making it a walking meeting and reap the benefits of physical activity while getting the job done.
- Take the stairs whenever possible and others will likely follow your example.
- Take it one step further and organize a workplace walking group. Meet before or after work, during breaks or at lunch time for fun, fitness, and camaraderie.
- Bring your lunches to a nearby park or other outdoor area. After eating, enjoy a walk together.
- Visit a local bookstore, art gallery, or museum during your lunch break.
- Join a company-sponsored or community sports league and have fun playing basketball, softball, hockey or soccer with your work team.
- Find a local fitness event, such as a 5K walk/run, walk-a-thon, or sprint triathlon and invite your colleagues to train together for the upcoming event.
- If your workplace has an onsite gym or fitness classes, or if a nearby gym offers a corporate discount, participate. It’s a great way to meet like-minded co-workers.
- Help organize and promote an internal fitness event: Climb stairs to benefit a charity or create a pedometer step challenge.
- Bicycle or walk to work. Find other employees who get to work on foot or on wheels and commute in together, if possible.
- Take 2-minute stretch breaks throughout the day together.
Just For Fun
- Organize a potluck, but bring a healthy dish to share and pay attention to your portion sizes.
- Play Frisbee® or freeze tag on your lunch break.
- Organize a weekend company day hike or volunteer to help organize active games at the employee picnic.
- Volunteer as a work team to plant trees, clean up a park or walk dogs at the animal shelter.
- If unwinding at a pub after work is part of your workplace culture, join in once in a while. Practice moderation, and if you don’t want to drink, order a sparkling water or orange juice.
- Invite co-workers to your home for a barbeque and a backyard Badminton tournament.
- Start an employee bowling league.
- Invite a co-worker to join you for an after-work run, bicycle ride, or game of racquetball.
Developing good relationships with the people you work with is important, not just for your career, but for your health. Don’t let your commitment to good health stop you from getting to know your co-workers. Take the initiative to be active at work and encourage others to join in. When you inspire your co-workers to make physical activity a priority, you create even more of the social support you need to keep yourself moving.