The Fit Life Movement: More Than Just Three Work-Outs A Week

And how your workplace can get on board​

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Fitness, in 2016, is more than an instance of going to the gym three times a week and cutting out refined sugars.

We talk now about making lifestyle changes, rather than going on a diet and we insist we are 'training' rather than heading to the gym for a workout. 

The jargon aside though, there is something really interesting about the way health and fitness is increasingly permeating everything we say, do, wear and eat.

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Is it just a way for clothing companies to push up their premiums on athleisure-wear, or for the fitness bloggers of the world to sell more of their bikini body diet plans?

 Or, is there something deeply positive about the way we're now buying into 'the fit life'?

Let's take a look at why it might be really important to join the fit life movement and how you and your workplace can make health a top priority.

ELLE's Joely Walker takes part in a boxing class with the team
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Why Now?

Arguably, the fit life movement isn't really a step forwards but, rather, a retreat back to a time when we the hunter-gatherers were more naturally active. 

ELLE's fitness editor Bangs and a Bun explains: 'We've become very sedentary in the way we live.'

By which she means, we work on laptops while sat in cafes or at desks, we order food to come to us in increasingly rapid ways, rather than hauling ourselves to the shops and carrying everything back.

We watch television or scroll on our phones, rather than walking, tidying, meeting up with more of our friends; hell, even reading requires more energy than looking at an iPad.

And justifying all that sitting around with three short sessions in the gym or a jog in the park is something of a false economy. 

ELLE's fitness editor Bangs and a Bun
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'Going crazy in the gym for an hour, but then spending the rest of the day on your backside, [confuses your body],' continues Bangs. 

'If you can build movement in throughout your day, it's actually much more effective.'

What If You Have A Desk Job?

Sadly, office culture is (on the whole) totally appalling for your health, and women tend to suffer the most. 

If we're not sitting around staring at a screen, we're out at the pub consuming great quantities of post-work drinks in order to lament how much of our lives we spend sitting around staring at a screen.

Recent research has shown the impact that the 'tea and a biscuit' culture has had on our bodies. We consume more sweet treats in the office than we do anywhere else and, unfortunately, women tend to pile on the pounds more than men. 

There are, of course, small changes that you can make: getting up to speak to people instead of firing off an email, never eating lunch at your desk, having walking meetings, taking the stairs.

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But really, to overhaul office life, the changes need to happen systemically, at an organisation level.

How Your Office Can Contribute

Healthy minds and bodies mean a more productive, happy (thank you serotonin levels) workforce, so putting a value on employer contribution to healthy lifestyles is easy. 

Some employers have incentivised health by creating a point scheme, whereby employees can collect points for healthy choices, and points can be cashed in for prizes.

Others have introduced standing desks.

ELLE's Harriet Stewart cartwheeling outside the office
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Better approaches to flexible working has made slotting in exercise easier. 

Arguably, the most important thing an employer can do, though, is invest in food.

You can exercise yourself into the ground, but without the right fuel, it means barely anything.

According to Bangs: 'I think it really comes down to ensuring healthy snacks are around at all times. Don't have vending machines with sugary treats in the office, have meetings catered with healthy foods. Some companies provide dieticians, counselling, financial advisors and more, to ensure their employees are taken care of.' 

'I'm big on personal responsibility too, though, - companies can do all they can, but unless we take charge of our health individually, it won't make a difference. '

What Do We Do At ELLE Magazine?

Here at ELLE magazine, the company is something of a torchbearer for turning office culture into a healthy culture. 

Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Candy runs her Wednesday run club, which any and all members of the team are encouraged to join (and we run at the pace of the slowest person, so it's not intimidating).

We make group trips to other fitness classes before and after work - it works brilliantly as a team bonding exercise, as well as the more obvious physical benefits. 

Team ELLE boxing class

We've accepted that, if you need to slot in a quick workout between meetings, to minimise the time out of the office, you might need to be at your desk in your fitness gear. 

So of course, while the important meetings with Chanel or Armani require stylish dressing, other meetings that take place between ELLE  Team members do not, so fitness gear around the office is a regular and acceptable sight. 

ELLE's Eva Pineda does office activewear

When we celebrate birthdays, we ensure that on top of the vegetable crisps, we always provide some celery, carrots and hummous too and we're always trading tips on different herbal teas. 

Our ELLE Fit Events

And to make fitness a priority beyond the office, we've engaged and played host to a string of health and fitness events, where you the readers can come and be part of the ELLE Team's fitness lifestyle.

Our next event takes place this week: we've joined up with MATCHESFASHION.COM for a series of fitness and style masterclasses. 

Last chance to grab some tickets before  the July 14th London event:Get Tickets Here

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