The physical activity of your employees may feel like something that is out of your control but there are many ways in which you can promote physical activity as part of your healthy workplace. Take a look at our handy tips and information about local support below.
What is Physical Activity?
Physical activity is a movement of the body that requires energy. This can include everyday activities such as walking to work or doing housework (moderate activity). Exercise is a type of physical activity but not every physical activity you do is exercise (vigorous). To stay healthy, adults should try to be active several days throughout the week, using moderate or vigorous activity, or a mixture of both - see the guidance below:
At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking or cycling and strength building exercises on two or more days a week that work all your main muscles.
75 minutes of vigorous activity such as running or playing a sport, plus strength building exercises on two or more days during the week.
Mix it up
Or a mixture of the two, i.e. 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
The best way to think about this is: one minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity. Strength-building exercises are in addition to your 150/75 minutes of activity.
Doing any physical activity is good for us and can have positive health benefits. Encouraging staff to start small and move more is better than doing nothing at all.
For more guidance on moderate and vigorous activity visit the NHS website.
When getting more active, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
More than half a million adults in the South West aged 40-60 struggle to get 10 minutes of walking into their daily routine.
In Gloucestershire, almost 25% of adults over 16 are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week. Compared to the national average, Gloucestershire is one of the most inactive areas.
Employees who are less active can have consequences on your company’s performance. This can include:
• lower energy levels
• More likely to feel stressed
• decreased productivity
Being more active can reduce the risk of illnesses such a heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.
People with these types of conditions in Gloucestershire, cost the NHS £160 million per annum.
Physical inactivity has major health consequences and is estimated to cost the UK economy about £8.2 billion per year.
Physical activity programmes at work have been found to reduce absenteeism by up to 20% and physically active workers take 27% fewer sick days.
What you can do to support Physical Activity
Promoting physical activity within your workplace could be simple things such as encouraging staff to go for a walk at lunchtime, offering lunch-time yoga or Tai-Chi sessions, or promoting local fitness activities such as walking groups or the Park Run. This will give people the option of getting more active without forcing it upon them which could discourage them. We have listed some ideas below.
Best-You is a FREE online platform and app that you and your employees can use as your own personal platform to communicate, create goals and track your progress.
Create a private group and invite employees to discuss healthy lifestyles at work – activity, healthy eating or anything else that fits your organisation.
Employees can create goals for activity, healthy eating, smoking and more! Users can track their progress against their goal each day and Best-You will give motivational feedback.
Best-You is full of helpful guidance for activity, healthy eating, smoking, alcohol and more.
Having a healthy workplace scheme should encourage employees to take on a more active role in a healthy lifestyle. When people are more active they tend to want to eat healthier too. See our other sections for advice on Healthy Eating, Stopping Smoking, Mental Health and more!
There are lots of resources online that can support you with Physical Activity in the workplace and that you can recommend to employees, if appropriate.
Best-You - An online platform and app for self-care, create a healthy eating group and more – see Best-You section below for more details.
You can find more apps and tools in the NHS apps library
Location: HLS Gloucestershire, Suite 1B,
First Floor, Eastgate House,
Gloucester GL1 1PX
Phone: 0800 122 3788
HLS Gloucestershire offer FREE one-to-one health coaches to support with healthy weight, getting more active, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption
Visit Your Circle to find gyms and activity classes in your area