It’s important to include physical activity breaks during meetings, especially those lasting longer than an hour. Including physical activity in meetings not only can help attendees stay attentive and involved; it can also demonstrate how easy it is to be more active on a regular basis.
Make physical activity easier. Providing time for exercise during breaks, meetings and at lunchtime is a huge endorsement and incentive. Support for physical activity can also be provided by encouraging “walking meetings”, setting dress codes that allow for comfortable clothing and shoes. Also, make space available for walking or provide a list of nearby walking routes with varying distances.
Here are some suggestions to encourage everyone to get their move on:
• Use icebreakers that encourage people to move around.
• Activity breaks can include stretching exercises, low-impact cardiovascular activities (e.g. aerobics, salsa dance steps, etc.), and/or strength training activities (e.g. elastic band routines). Just put on some music and demonstrate some simple activities.
• Include physical activity as part of the meeting agenda by having “walk and talk” sessions. Encourage participants to go for short walks while they discuss agenda items. Not only do they get a much needed activity break, but a change of scenery can encourage more creative brainstorming.
• Encourage attendees to use the stairs when possible.
• If it’s a multiple day meeting, list nearby activity opportunities in the meeting information. Encourage attendees to get physical activity by using hotel workout rooms and/or walking in safe, well-lit locations.
• Give participants maps of nearby attractions and walking trails. Help to organize walking groups.
Adapted from “Meeting Well” from the American Cancer Society, and “Guidelines for Offering Healthy Foods at Meetings, Seminars, and Catered Events” from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health