What should I know?
Being physically active on a regular basis can make a big difference to your employees’ physical and mental health and allow them to get the most out of life. Physical activity can: reduce the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes and reduce the risk of having a stroke. Becoming more active can also help control weight, make you feel and look better, give you more energy and help you relax.
Physically active staff also tend to have less time off sick, are more productive and have fewer accidents at work. Physical Activity can be as simple as walking and doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. National guidelines recommend that we should accumulate 30 minutes moderate intensity physical activity on 5 days of the week.
However, at least 61% of the population (2008 Scottish Health Survey) fail to do enough physical activity to benefit their health. Lack of time is often a barrier for people so it is ideal if staff are able to be a bit more active during the working day.
What should I do?
Physical activity leaflets are available on a variety of topics eg. losing weight, exercise during pregnancy, hassle free exercise, etc. These can be displayed on a staff noticeboard or on the staff intranet.
Physical activity events are always popular with staff. Examples include: setting up walking or running groups; taking part in running or cycling events such as Jogscotland 5K, Pedal for Scotland, Great Scottish Walk; organising a 5-a-side football league, promoting stairclimbing, etc. Corporate leisure club memberships can also be offered to staff. It may be worthwhile conducting a survey to find out what staff would like.
If staff walk or cycle to work they can get fitter, save money and reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint all at the same time. A staff travel plan can be introduced with inducements to actively commute such as bike racks, showers, lockers, cycle mileage and interest free loans for cycles etc.
Developing a workplace physical activity policy can be a useful way of demonstrating the company’s commitment to employee health, setting out what initiatives are in place and keeping these under review.
Organisations such as Jogscotland, Cycling Scotland and Paths for All can offer training to workplaces wishing to set up walking or jogging groups or provide cycle training for their staff. Grants may also be available to support these initiatives.
Where can I get help?
Jog Scotland - http://www.jogscotland.org.uk/
Cycling Scotland - http://www.cyclingscotland.org
Paths for All - http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/
Walkit - http://walkit.com/