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Maija Laurikkala-Dewes | 19.11.2020

Ten ideas how to encourage a colleague to move

Mars kaamos! step campaign

When I was thinking about this blog, I had to make dinner for the family at the same time. I came up with a combination of two tasks: When we were eating, I asked the kids what ideas they had on the topic “How to encourage a friend to increase exercising”. I was amazed at how high quality ideas flowed from them, the topic took off and the conversation was energetic. We adults would have a lot to learn from our children. Here’s the output directly from the next generation, without major modifications. These ideas also work in working life when you replace the word “friend” with the word “colleague”.

1. Justify
You have to tell why. If someone doesn’t know why it’s good to move more than before, it’s a little hard to be motivated to do something differently than before. Instead, if you know how good it is to exercise and why you should increase it, the friend (colleague) will be more motivated.

2. Ask about goals
Everyone has their own goals to move more. For example, better fitness, health, a desire to look better, a desire to be more energetic, a desire to recover from something, a desire to lose weight, or something like that. It is good to program own goals into a calendar and plan how to reach them. If someone hasn’t exercised before, you can help them with planning. And if your friend (colleague) is a true mover, you can plan exercises together on a calendar. On a day when you wouldn’t feel to move, a peek at the calendar will help if the goal and schedule is scripted in there.

3. Throw challenges
Various challenges can inspire when you run out of your own ideas. Squat challenge, walking challenge, morning jog challenge, stair challenge, etc. A little competition sets in the mood to exercise.

4. Reward
Promise to your friend (colleague) something nice if he/she starts to move more. It doesn’t have to be anything big, the idea is the most important.

5. Ask to join
Plan a jog together! Some people don’t like to exercise alone, so a joint exercise can be motivating. If a friend (colleague) is in a completely different condition, it doesn’t matter. You can always agree to go at a pace that suits everyone. If there is planned time that forces to move, it maintains enthusiasm even when tired.

6. Be an example
It is not very credible, if you just tell others that you need to move more and you don’t move yourself. If you set an example and outwardly show that moving does good, it makes others think about starting to move as well.

7. Listen
Ask a friend (colleague) how he/she is doing and how exercising is going. Listen to what are his/her interests, what he/she likes, ask more and be interested. Then you can tell what exercise you like yourself. Both of you can get new ideas. You can also try everything new together.

8. Cheat
If your friend (colleague) is not in the mood to go for a jog, cheat a little and say that let’s not go then. Suggest that you just go out, you don’t necessarily have to go for a jog if it doesn’t feel like that in the outdoors. Because when we are outside in the fresh air, you don’t want to go back inside immediately, and mayby instead want to go for a little jog. And after the jog, it feels so good that it doesn’t matter that you’ve been a little cheated.

9. Hit directly to the weak point of a friend (colleague)
Think about what hits a friend’s (colleague’s) weak point and hit it straight so you get the friend (colleague) moving without excuses. That’s it, direct speech. Finally, friend (colleague) will thank you if you can make his/her own goal come true.

10. Remind
Don’t forget in the middle of everything what is the goal and always remind about it in regular intervals. Always try to come up with something new to get a friend (colleague) moving. Because yes, exercise makes you feel good and healthy.

So these ideas how to encourage a colleague came from my children at dinner. Ideas number 8 and 9 perhaps give me reason to think about what kind of parenting methods my children are used to, and with idea number 9 I would be a little careful! Does purpose sanctify the meaning? The work atmosphere and warm-hearted attitude towards others is hardly worth sacrificing because of the step campaign.

I’ve heard from some members admirable descriptions of the work community sports enthusiasm, where the people have been inspired to increase stair climbing, steps, or even daily muscle movements, planking, push-ups or have a candy break together. Wouldn’t it be nice to work in a community that has a positive attitude towards exercising, accepting everyone’s own starting points for increasing it? Encourage your colleagues to get moving and take those 10,000 daily steps yourself too!

Maija Laurikkala-Dewes: Toimin Heltissä työfysioterapeuttina. Olen aikaisemmalta koulutukseltani diplomi-insinööri, ja oman liikunnan rakastamisen myötä lähdin kutsumukseni perään opiskelemaan fysioterapeutiksi. Tavoitteeni on auttaa ihmisiä jaksamaan arjessaan paremmin, niin työtehtävissä kuin työn ulkopuolellakin