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Your Office Needs a Climbing Wall

Topics: Work Culture

Silicon Valley workplace trends have been spilling out of California and into the rest of the country for quite some time now. Not surprisingly, researchers are starting to investigate the effects of these perks on workers’ health, productivity, and happiness. One perk that might make the cut: an office climbing wall. Let’s take a closer look at how you might benefit from having one at your workplace.

climbing wall

(Photo Credit: Jesse Wagstaff/Flickr)

Fitness perks are good for workers’ health.

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Arcade games and pet grooming centers might be trendy cool-office items, but are they really helping us succeed? Fitness perks, on the other hand, help workers stay healthy and happy. So many of us work more hours than we should. Finding a way to squeeze in a little exercise during the day, be it in the company’s gym or at a bike desk, could be a good solution.

Dr. Peter Snell, an assistant professor and exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says that “the availability of facilities to exercise at the work site removes many of the barriers to exercise.” These obstacles include things like time, money, and convenience.

Companies would be wise to look for opportunities to help workers improve their fitness and overall health. Then, it’s on us to actually utilize the perks that we’re provided. New research has found that standing desks could lead to more sitting, if we slack when we’re not desk-ercising. So, fitness perks are great for workers’ health and productivity, provided they take advantage of them.

Climbing walls do more than just keep us fit.

Exercise is about so much more than just health and fitness. It improves the clarity of our thinking, and helps us be more creative and productive. Now, new research suggest that climbing exercises are particularly good for improving our cognitive skills and abilities.

Researchers from the University of North Florida found that “dynamic activities” like climbing a tree, even when done for a short period of time, can have dramatic effects of working memory, which helps us process and learn new things, solve problems, etc. This is probably true because this kind of exercise keeps us thinking and navigating obstacles.

“This research suggests that by doing activities that make us think, we can exercise our brains and bodies as well,” Ross Alloway, who led the study, told Forbes. “This research has wide-ranging implications for everyone from kids to adults. By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom.”

The benefits of a rock wall are so compelling that one co-working space in Somerville Massachusetts has even based their offices inside of a big climbing gym.

If all of this isn’t enough to convince you, keep in mind that office climbing walls just look super cool. If the boss won’t go for adopting a perk with such a big price tag, you can always ask about organizing an office field trip to a local climbing gym. Even if the event happens after working hours, you’ll still enjoy the cognitive benefits of the activity, and you’ll probably have a pretty good time too while you’re at it.

Tell Us What You Think

Does your workplace have a climbing wall? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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