Last week I decided that I should do more exercise.  This thought normally occurs to me when I have eaten a particularly large piece of cake.  Usually however, by the time I have got home from the particular purveyor of cake, I have discarded my plans to become an olympic athlete and I continue as before.

This time however it was different.   Firstly, more than 1 suit had shrunk whilst hanging in the wardrobe.  Then, which caused greater concern, I was invited to play the organ for a performance of Karl Jenkins ‘Armed Man’.  The problem here was that I needed to wear all black and it turned out that I didn’t own a black shirt!   Unperturbed I went to the nearest purveyor of such things and found a rather stylish Ted Baker shirt.  This shirt fitted well, indeed almost as if it was tailored for me.  I then realised to my horror that the shirt in question was a size 16 collar.

This was the final straw. But instead of rushing out to join a gym I did the unthinkable and bought an electronic tag to attach to my wrist.   Moments later, Apple became the first US company to ever be worth 1 trillion dollars.   It turns out that joining a gym might have been cheaper.

On the plus side this unstylish piece of plastic is quite good at encouraging me to get out of my chair and wander around for a bit.  If you go for a walk it draws a little map which shows at which point you nearly died of a heart attack.

Day 2 of life with an electronic tag saw me go for a short walk, attempt a bit of exercise and stand up some of the required 12 times a day. I then headed to Cirencester for a rehearsal with my Male Voice Choir.   I was a little concerned because my annoying piece of plastic was telling me I hadn’t done enough exercise so far that day and there was now not really much time to do anything about it.

I ran the rehearsal as normal – the men are currently preparing to record their first CD (I’ve got a hand in that too) and so we were focussing a lot on the detail of their performance and much time was spent making sure everyone was together – or at least all singing the same song!

2 hours later, feeling inspired by the progress which had been made during the rehearsal I walked out of the church and was greeted by a ‘ding’ and a gentle vibration on my wrist to say I had completed the required exercise for the day.    And so there you have it, being part of a choir and spending just 90 minutes singing is apparently better for you than going to the gym – it’s also probably quite a lot cheaper.

All of this got me thinking.   Lots of companies are keen to promote a healthy workplace.  The ‘stand up’ is apparently now a term to describe the morning briefing where everyone has to stand up instead of being sat around a table.   Biscuits are now rarely seen at meetings or seminars, and coffee is giving way to health drinks. Ive also come across gyms actually in the workplace or staff being given gym membership as a ‘perk’.  The trouble is, even if it’s given free, going to the gym isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.

So as an alternative why not set up a choir in your workplace, or perhaps form a choir at one of your seminars.   The HR department will be pleased that you are undertaking a group activity as this will tick the teamwork box.   The finance department will be delighted that it turns out to be cheaper per head than a gym membership.  Mostly however, your staff who actually quite like biscuits and don’t want to wear lycra to the office, will also be delighted they can do something a bit different which is in fact quite good for their health.

Jules Addison once worked in an office and his best friend was the girl in accounts who always brought in lots of cake!  Now he runs choirs – there is still cake, but no office politics!

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