Is 'body shaping' fitness worth the price?

The state of a healthy mind and body is key to a productive workforce. Equally so, the employer should have wellness programs and activities that would best meet the needs of employees of all physical abilities in order to maintain good health.

We congratulate the department’s Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) unit with all the support programs it has put in place in creating awareness on health lifestyle matters. The unit including regional offices has since 22 March 2017 implemented promising workplace wellness ideas with limited resources.

On Wednesday 16 August 2017, the Head Office EHW team coordinated an aerobics session for officials in the Auditorium precinct. The 1hr service, which resumed at 16:00, has been long on the wish lists of most personnel. Attendance was average, with female officials dominating the numbers, taking into account that it was the first session of its kind. Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic, energetic and physical conditioning intended to improve the body through stretching and strength training routines with the aim of improving all elements of fitness such as flexibility, muscular strength and cardio-vascular fitness.

It is a service often performed with a group of people to music that will add agility and vibrancy to the participants. Aerobics exercises may involve running, jogging, swimming and dancing to stimulate the heart and lung activity.

The following are benefits of aerobics within a workplace for both the employer and employee:

  • Increases energy;
  • Improves circulation of and assisting the body to use oxygen better;
  • Assists the reduction of body fat;
  • Improves sleeping disorder;
  • Assists in reducing stress, tension, anxiety and depression
  • Assists in weight control and management;
  • Assists in the reduction of developing diabetes;
  • Assists in reduction the risk of developing heart disease;
  • Assists in the reduction of absenteeism; and
  • Increase endurance to afford one to workout longer without quickly getting tired.

Aerobics have to date directly and indirectly made positive strides of helping employees of all physical abilities maintain good health. Other ideas and suggestions that seek to supplement ‘aerobics’ and support employee participation to active and healthy living while at work are centred on the following areas:

  • Identification of strategic areas within the worksite and or around the building for physical activity;
  • The use of stairways within the building;
  • Encourage employees to stretch at various intervals while at work;
  • Encourage physical activity breaks during long meetings, training, seminars and conferences;
  • Encourage personnel to joining running and or biking clubs as well dancing groups, etc. outside the scope of work;
  • Incorporate physical activity into departmental events such as team building, strategic planning sessions, etc.
  • Establish a support group for weight management and also sponsor a weight reduction program a workplace;
  • Encourage personnel to be involved with community volunteer activities;
  • Initiate a recipe exchange of healthy meal ideas among personnel;
  • Create awareness about the psychological benefits of humour. This will assist personnel beware of what makes for appropriate humour in the workplace and provide practical suggestions for using humour successfully at work;
  • Offer (where possible) chair massages at the workplace;
  • Arrange and provide personnel with a library of relaxation CDs that they could borrow and exchange among themselves;
  • Promote smoke-free zones in the building/ meeting rooms and where circumstances permit, provide health information about tobacco cessation;
  • Celebrate and support government health programs with appropriate ‘themes’;
  • Assist the EHW units (Head Office and Regions) in the establishment of brainstorming teams for ideas and help in wellness activities;
  • Highlight healthy lifestyle success stories; and
  • Conduct recognition activities for personnel making efforts at healthier lifestyle while at work.

Every day of our lives, the world is talking to us on ‘healthy lifestyles’ and ‘body shaping fitness’. Mother Nature too is running amok, acting adversely and viciously on all those who treat life upside down, continuously ignoring healthy lifestyle tips such as ‘getting active and becoming healthy weight’, ‘cutting down on saturated fat and sugar’, ‘eating less salt’, ‘basing a meal on starchy carbohydrates’ and ‘eating lots of fish, fruit and vegetables’.

A question remain asked. Is body shaping fitness worth the price? A reality check is that taking aerobics, as a norm at work will logically, without being too critic, significantly benefit the employee through reduction and or cutting costs of joining private fitness clubs; training is offered free of charge; the training venue for aerobics is right at your doorstep – at your workplace; flexible training schedule and time can suite all participating employees.

Message from the MEC
Public Works employs a variety of communications tools to engage its stakeholder community. Since websites are usually the first port of call, the Department seeks to maintain a site with up to date content that is of value to our diverse audiences.
Mr Ravigasen Ranganathan Pillay


Private Bag X9142, Pietermaritzburg, 3200

Tel no: 033 355 5500

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