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Physical activity in the workplace

Being physically inactive has been linked to an increased risk of a range of health conditions including, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, osteoporosis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and mental health problems.

On the other hand, evidence shows that participating in physical activity can help to prevent disease, maintain a healthy weight and promote mental health and wellbeing.

People who take part in regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes

  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer

  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer

  • a 30% lower risk of early death

  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression (NHS Choices)

The cost of inactivity

In England, the costs of lost productivity due to physical inactivity have been estimated at £5.5 billion per year from sickness absence and £1 billion per year from the premature death of people of working age (Start Active, Stay Active, 2011).

Resources to help your employees become more physically active

Here are some toolkits, ideas, tips and campaigns to help encourage your employees to become more physically active:

Business in the Community has partnered with Public Health England to produce this simple and informative toolkit.  It aims to help employers of all sizes to achieve a healthier working environment, by encouraging staff to eat well and move more.

Around 60% of middle aged adults have not walked for 10 or more (consecutive) minutes in the last month. This level of inactivity is a serious health risk.

We all know how important exercise is. The good news is that just 10 minutes of brisk walking counts as exercise. Brisk walking is simply walking faster than normal, at a pace that gets your heart rate up a bit.

Each Active 10 minutes of brisk walking has big benefits for your health; it gets your blood pumping, reduces stress levels and reduces your risk of heart disease.

Start with just 10 minutes a day. Encourage your employees to download the Active 10 app to track how much brisk walking they actually do.

Cycle to Work Day encourages adults across the UK to get on their bike and give cycle commuting a go for one day.  It’s an easy way to boost your employee’s health and improve their wellbeing.  Not to mention being good for the environment.

This year’s event takes place on the 8 August 2019. So why not encourage your employees to dust off their old bike and get ready to join in the UK’s biggest one-day celebration of cycle commuting. 

On the 24 April 2020, workers across Britain are being encouraged to: Wiggle it, Waggle it, Just don’t sit on it!

The On Your Feet Britain Challenge is a national awareness day to get 1 million office workers to unite together to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities to get workers to #SitLess and #MoveMore at work. It’s free to sign up.

For tips on getting moving and fitting exercise in to daily life, see the One You website.  There’s also loads of free Apps to download, and a ‘How are You?’ quiz.  What will you and your employees score?

For loads of top tips on how office workers can fit physical activity into their working day.

The Health and Wellbeing Planner that is found on Staffordshire Connects is an excellent tool that your employees can use to find local (Staffordshire) and national advice, information and support. It covers a range of health and wellbeing related issues, such as alcohol, healthy eating, mental health, physical activity and stopping smoking. 

It also provides details of sporting clubs and activities taking place across Staffordshire, that your employees might like to get involved in.   

They can use the Health and Wellbeing Planner to help them make some positive, healthy changes to their lives, by identifying what they want to achieve, what they can do differently to achieve their goal, and understanding what advice and support will help them along the way.

Get in touch

Let us know the great things that your business is doing in relation to physical activity by emailing Emailing Workplace Health

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