Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Should I be allowed to exercise at work? | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Should I be allowed to exercise at work?

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Great questions this week about exercising at work, and the minimum requirement of exercise with a chronic condition.

Thank you to the Her Canberra community for being so engaging and asking the tough questions. Addressing your concerns is the first step in finding answers.

I’ll get to the other questions on morning routines in winter, mountain running, the benefits of exercising with depression, Hiit training and sciatic pain over the next month.

New here?

Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Each week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

I am 59. I have a chronic health condition, what is the least amount of exercise I need to do weekly?

— Bethany, 59

Hello there Bethany,

It is best to start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up to the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.

Your first priority should be to get a clearance from your GP, then book in with an allied health professional who specialises in your specific chronic condition. Find a form of activity that you enjoy, so you get long-term benefits.

If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount. The minimum recommended requirement is:

  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days each week.

I hope those simple guidelines help your new pathway to wellness.

Take home message: “Doing any physical activity is better than doing none”.

I want to convince my manager to allow me to exercise at work. Any tips?

Exercising before or after work isn’t an option for me, being a single parent. 

— Anon, 32

Your manager should be grateful that you want to look after yourself. Companies who invest in employee wellbeing programs experience $5.81 of savings for every $1 invested.

I’d be throwing that figure at your manager, and explain your home situation.

You could also educate your manager about workplace research, indicating that “employees who spend 2.5 hours per week exercising during work hours, attain the same or higher productivity levels than their less physically active colleagues”.

On a side note—have you considered a home program? Or working out with the kids? There are plenty of options to get them involved – so you don’t miss out on your recommended physical activity levels.

Once you talk to your manager, come up with a plan, consult an allied health professional for guidance, and stick to the plan! Keep it simple and fun.

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The information provided by Ask an Exercise Physiologist is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice.

HerCanberra advises our community to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they’re seeking more specific medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

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