“Walking 20,000 steps a day” or “losing 50 lbs. in five months” are just fantasies for ordinary office workers in Hong Kong. But miracles do happen. To my amazement, my friend made the impossible possible.
Hong Kong has the longest working hours in the world, according to a survey conducted by the Swiss financial services company, UBS, last year. With an average working time of around 10 hours a day, we do not have the leisure to enjoy a proper meal at home, not to mention the luxury of doing sports. The unhealthy working style does have a harmful effect on our health but we cannot place all the blame on it so stop finding excuses and explore a better lifestyle.
In fact, the government and developers have been creating recreation space in commercial areas for nine to fivers to have time for some short breaks and simple stretches. Sometimes all we need is a short walk or an easy leisure jog. For instance, the Kwun Tong Promenade in Kowloon East is a place built by the government for local residents and office works for recreational purposes. The promenade, with a total length of over 1km, connects Shun Yip Street and Tsun Yip Street and is next to numerous industrial and commercial buildings. It only takes one minute to walk from Citi Tower or Manulife Tower, or five minutes from the industrial clusters around Wai Yip Street. A healthy lifestyle is not as far away as you thought.
If we turn our eyes to the Island, the soon-to-be-completed Lee Garden Three project blends the element of exercise perfectly into the workplace. The developer has built a jogging track around the building, with the intention to provide a place for exercise during non-working hours. I would suggest independent shower facilities also be available for this wonderful idea to fully put into practice. Meanwhile, to facilitate tenants taking up two or more floors, the developer has adopted transparent curtain walls for its back staircases, which should help promote the use of stairs. After all, who doesn’t like a bit of sunshine in their work life?
Those in Central near landmarks like Jardine House, Exchange Square, World-Wide House, Chater House and The Prince’s Building can walk around the Central Elevated Walkway. The Central-Mid-Levels escalator is another 800-meter runway for those who want an after-meal walk with colleagues or a solitary journey to temporarily escape from the tensions of work.
“Workplace exercise” is nothing new. Many European companies have offered quality exercise environments for staff for a few years, such as gyms and swimming pools in offices. Developers in Hong Kong should consider adding similar elements to future projects, especially when sports are becoming an increasing phenomenon in the city. Busy is no longer an excuse with all these facilities in place. Come on, everybody. Time to shape it up.
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