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How I blended fitness and work life

At the start of the year, Susan committed to running. Now, half-way through her project, she's making sure that work isn't an excuse not to run. She does this by planning fitness activities with her coworkers.

Businesspeople working with computers

Fitness and work life don’t always have to be separate.

Introducing running or cross-training activities into your work life is a great way to create healthy habits and to network with colleagues. I work in human resources and it’s typical for my job to include corporate training or conference planning. When I can, I sneak an exercise element into these events.

RELATED: What is sweatworking?

I think others can relate to me when I say that some of the best networking with colleagues comes during conferences. Oftentimes, in my case, my best networking happens during the fitness activities during our free time. I tend to connect better with individuals one-on-one than in big groups, and I treasure the opportunity to be able to connect with colleagues during these times.

Blending running and work life is pretty simple. With my experience, I’ve come up with some tips to get active with coworkers.

Keep it short. When scheduling sweat sessions, the activities don’t have to be long. Even a 30 to 40 minute maximum run will do the trick. They can be scheduled during a lunch break, right at the end of a full day, or first thing in the morning before work.

Advertise your activities. Once it’s out there, keep putting it out there so that it catches on. Let people know the location and give them a reminder to bring running gear, shoes and a water bottle. This may seem obvious, but in the flurry of the workday, these are the items that are easy to overlook.

Mix it up. Use the resources available to maximize whatever it is that you’re planning. The good thing about planning running activities at work is that it applies to all fitness activities and it’s readily available. But if there’s another fitness facility close by, take advantage. If there’s a pool close by, include a swimming component.

Make it competitive. Look for ways to enter in a workplace team. Perhaps that could be in a regional road race. Challenge other companies or organizations to a race and solicit team members from your organization.

Reward your coworkers for participating. Maybe this could be in the form of setting up some sort of draw. For example, the more runs a person participates in, the more chances they have to win the prize. Get prizes from sponsors, ask for company swag or purchase some small prizes out of the budget.

Don’t forget to ask for feedback. See if there is a way to improve your office running club or if there are any major components that you missed.