Make a deal for Workplace Health Week – and join Shropshire’s ‘Midday Mile’
Shropshire companies are being urged to let staff swap their laptops for lunchtime yoga, or ditch their desks for dumbbells, as part of a nationwide initiative designed to boost physical activity.
The second national Workplace Health Week kicks off on May 23, raising awareness of the importance of adding more activity into the typical working day.
The campaign is organised by Workplace Challenge, in collaboration with county sports partnerships including Energize Shropshire Telford & Wrekin.
The highlight of the Shropshire programme will be a ‘Midday Mile’ on Thursday May 26, when workers are encouraged to meet at the Hercules statue in Shrewsbury Quarry for a gentle stroll – and the chance for some healthy networking.
Helen White, Business Development Officer at Energize, said: “The aim of Workplace Health Week is to encourage companies to make a deal with their staff, to help them reach the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity.
“A study by the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health revealed that time is the biggest barrier to exercise.
“That’s why Energize is backing the ‘Flexible Lunchbreak Manifesto’, which encourages employers to tackle the lack of physical inactivity by offering flexible working and encouraging employees to get active.”
Throughout Workplace Health Week, Shropshire businesses will be encouraged to offer and take part in activities during their lunch break, from table tennis in the boardroom to the Midday Mile.
Energize is also offering free workplace consultations – and is on the lookout for companies to sign up in the first ever Shropshire Business Games, a light-hearted evening of competition for teams of five, being held in Shrewsbury on June 17.
Helen White added: “NHS guidelines state that adults should try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week to stay healthy – but an estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough.
“And it is not just our health that is suffering. An unhealthy workforce contributes to sickness absence, reduced productivity and an estimated cost of £14.9 billion to businesses in lost working days every year.”
Shropshire companies and staff are also being encouraged to sign up to the Workplace Challenge (www.workplacechallenge.org.uk) which includes a free, online activity tool with tailored sport and physical activity knowledge and opportunities.
Participants can even track their progress towards the recommended 150 minutes of exercise with their own personal dashboard.
Helen White said: “We want to encourage people to get away from their desks and get active, but they need support from their employers to be able to do that, so we are asking businesses to revolutionise the lunch break – and what better time to start than Workplace Health Week?
“When you consider that we spend 60 per cent of our waking hours at work, there is no better place to introduce the means, motivation and encouragement to exercise.”
Energize, based at University Centre Shrewsbury in Frankwell Quay, promotes sport and active lifestyles, and believes there is an activity out there for everyone, whether they see themselves as ‘sporty’ or not.
Last summer, Energize organised a Festival of Rugby to encourage local firms to get active. Food company Faccenda of Telford was among those taking part, and production scheduler Dan Bentley said: “It was a fantastic day for all of our colleagues that took part.
“It was a great opportunity for production colleagues to mix with office based staff in an informal environment which is often hard to facilitate.”
- For more details on the Midday Mile in Shrewsbury, Shropshire Business Games, or other Shropshire-based opportunities to get involved with Workplace Health Week, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01743 297192.