Time for sustained exercise to bend the healthcare cost curve — and promote better thinking
Knowledge workers earn their livings analyzing, abstracting and communicating. In today’s Information/Internet economy, all too many knowledge workers needlessly do so working under legacy Industrial Age 8-5 office schedules, spending even more time each day relatively immobile than sleeping. Add to that another 1-3 hours spent sitting in a daily commute to a central office location. Month after month, year after year of this occupational lifestyle sets the stage for the development of preventable chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity that drive the health cost curve and the health insurance crisis.
But that’s not all. Lack of physical movement can also dull the knowledge worker’s most important tool: their brain. This Sacramento Bee article cites research linking physical activity to the brain’s ability to perform learning and memory tasks.
The clear conclusion to be drawn is sustained exercise could produce dividends for organizations by not only lowering their healthcare and insurance costs, but also the added bonus of better and more creative thinking. For knowledge organizations, affording workers control over their schedules and time for sustained exercise probably is likely the most cost effective “workplace wellness” program going. A key program component is ditching outmoded Industrial Age commuting and office hours and becoming a more virtual organization and maximizing the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Knowledge work can be done anywhere, and some of the most creative thinking happens during and after sustained exercise. That requires freeing up time for it every work day by getting people out of their cars and cubicles.