Go Green and Get Lean

Posted on November 12, 2010

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Published in SME Advisor – June 10

Did you know that UAE residents are the highest consumers of natural resources in the world?  With this in mind please read on for my eco-friendly tips to stay fit and healthy in the workplace.

Our lives in the UAE centre around convenience, with our days spent in air-conditioned offices and our nights spent entertaining current and potential clients in starkly-lit artificially-controlled restaurants.  It is no surprise then that we want our health & fitness schedule to centre around convenience too and more often than not this means a daily trudge on the treadmill in a climate-controlled gym powered by plasma tv screens, treadmills and artificial lighting.

With a little bit of thought however, you can go green, get lean and make some smart choices whilst enabling you to take positive steps to make your organisation a more eco-friendly place.

Here are my top tips:

  • Ditch the wheels; Dubai is not the easiest city to get around but why not try getting to work or travelling to meetings by walking to your nearest metro station then catching the train?
  • Or why not start car-pooling if you have any neighbours travelling in the same direction; not only helping the environment, you will have a more enjoyable journey and some company along the way.
  • If you plan your day to include a little more walking, keep a pair of sneakers or flip flops close to hand so you can ditch the heals and walk in comfort.
  • Never throw away your old trainers; there are plenty of great charities in Dubai who will happily pass them on to people less fortunate than ourselves.
  • Bury the bottle; ditch the disposable water bottles that litter our desks in the workplace and replace with a water cooler and plastic cups.
  • Instead of dragging yourself to the gym after work, opt instead of taking the stairs instead of the elevator wherever possible; stair walking uses none of the energy that gym machines do and but are just as effective.
  • Natural fabrics; socially conscious workout wear is now widely available. Do your research and select clothing that is made from organic or recycled materials and that contain the minimum amount of synthetic fibres.
  • Introduce some ‘Green Guidelines’ to incentivise you and your team.  Bonuses can be given for giving up parking spaces, biking to work etc.
  • Invest in a pedometer so you can keep tabs on the number of steps you take each day.
  • Bring the outdoors in and enhance your office with some green plants. Not only will they have a positive emotional impact on your team but they also improve the quality of the indoor air.
  • Rely on natural light wherever possible. Sunlight reduces stress and fatigue and has none of the
  • Organise a brown-bag lunch workshop to educate your team on heath & fitness topics and promote the benefits of preparing your own healthy lunch at home instead of ordering food for delivery.
  • Beat stress and increase the physical fitness of all your team by organising an office sports competition; it can be outside or in the park, kind to the environment and kind to the morale of your team, both in equal measures.

Once you have incorporated the above tips into your routine, why not take your eco-efforts to a whole new level and replace your gym membership with an outdoor fitness programme or set yourself a new goal to get walking.

We can all take small steps to improve our world; it’s up to you as individuals and you as an organisation.  You will undoubtedly feel better for it too; your body will be releasing ‘feel good’ hormones at the same time as you do your bit to save the planet.

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