How active should I be?
How active should people be? Creating changes in your workplace can seem like a huge task. Thankfully, a few small steps is all that’s needed to make a big difference
The Chief Medical Officer recommends we should be moderately active for 150 minutes each week. This equates to 30 minutes of activity each working day. However, currently, 33% of the Greater Manchester workforce do not meet these recommendations. This is a great concern.
Moderate activity means that your heart and breathing rates are increased. For example, if you’re out on a walk with friends on your lunch break, you should just about be able to hold a conversation and be slightly out of breath.
As our region spend 60% of our waking hours at work, you as employers have a huge role to play in enabling employees to be active both in and out of work. If 15 of the required 30 minutes of activity each day could be completed in the workplace, Greater Manchester would be a much healthier place.
At GreaterSport, we know that active workplaces is all about simple steps to help your colleagues move more. Start with small targets, such as just 10 minutes of activity three or four times a week, and we’ll begin to see positive changes.
Motivators and Barriers
Overcoming the barriers to physical activity can be a challenge. A busy family life and the struggle to find an enjoyable sport are two commonly cited reasons for inactivity. However, enabling your employees to be active during the working day can result in increased activity both in and out of work.
At GreaterSport, we’re here to help you break down barriers to activity in the workplace. An active workplace culture, and leading by example to encourage more movement, are two great starting points. They support employees to form active habits that help them to make a lifestyle choice that improves health and productivity both in and out of the workplace.
People take up activity for a variety of reasons. Using these motivations, and being aware of the barriers, will help employees to make the right new habits. We can support you with this when you develop your active workplace plan.
Enjoyment & Socialising
Home & Family Life
Dislike of Sport
Bad Experience/No Confidence
Motivation for activity is unique. The reason why someone is active, or inactive, is entirely personal and varied from person to person. That’s why, at GreaterSport, we promote a wide range of initiatives. Each one is different, and suited to each and every individual.
As an employer, you’ll have great insight into what works best for your team. Think about individual and team needs, workplace interests, the working environment, and even policies and practices. All of these can give you excellent ideas of how we can work together to get your employees moving.
The ideas below are a great starting point.
Being active helps with:
Negative messages such as:
Preaching about activity
The risks of being inactive
Simple steps to activity
Being active is whatever you want it to be. Use simple steps to become active, it’s not about running a marathon, being active is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your shape, size, age or ability. It’s likely that you are already being active but just don’t know it. Walking to work or the bus stop or taking the stairs instead of the lift all count.
Bring excitement to lunchtimes with office table tennis or other easy equipment you can set up in a spare meeting room or shared space
Break time walks
Get away from your desk and get outside for a quick 15 minute walk with your colleagues
Meeting Room Activities
Have one less chair in your meeting rooms so there is always one person standing and take it in turns during the meeting or go the whole hog and have regular stand up meetings
Run an “Active Champion of the Month” award to celebrate colleagues who take part
Beat the boss
Everyone loves to try and beat their boss, challenge employees to beat the management team with an activity challenge
Allow employees to switch from formal shoes to trainers and sports shoes to encourage more movement and activity
Workplace sports teams
Set up your own workplace sports team who can take on other companies in fun competitions or set up inter department leagues
Workplace activity classes
There are many organisations who can deliver yoga, tai chi, circuit training or Zumba sessions in your workplace
Office themed days
Have a schedule of regular themed days such as Table Tennis Tuesdays, Walking Wednesdays or Football Fridays
If you have a have a meeting planned take it outside, enjoy the outdoors and walk and talk at the same time
10 MINUTE BLASTS
Allow staff 10 minutes of paid time in every day to take part in physical activity
CYCLE/Walk to work day
Offer incentives to employees who choose to cycle or walk to work and promot events like Walk to Work Day or National Bike week
Pay employees for active travelling to meetings
Encourage employees to leave the car at the office and cycle, scoot or walk to meetings and still pay mileage for these trips
Research has shown that standing desks can reduce daily sedentary behaviour and lead to improvements in health in employees
Office running groups
You could set up a beginners running group and train staff as run leaders to make sure it is sustainable
Put a treadmill, exercise bike or step machine in a communal area allowing employees to jump on and off for quick bursts
Do exercises when performing routine office activities like walking while on the phone or squats while waiting for printing
Signposting to Local links
Set up links to local sports clubs, parks or leisure facilities sites and create signposts to these activities
The Live Well Day
- Easily achieve 30 minutes of physical activity per day
- Short sharp bursts of activities - reduce sedentary behaviour
- For a Working from Home version of The Live Well Day Click Here
Commute: 5 mins / 30 cals
- Get off the bus one stop earlier
- Park further away from work
- Walk to the station
Use the stairs: 5 mins / 100 cals
- Don’t use the lift
- Use toilets/water fountains on a different floor
Lunchbreak: 10 mins / 60 cals
- Swap your desk for a 10 minute walk
- Walk to the shops instead of taking your car
- Have a quick game of table tennis
Mid-morning desk exercises: 5 mins / 50 cals
- Chair based exercises
- Resistance band exercises
Walking meeting: 15 mins / 90 cals
- Swap the meeting room for the great outdoors
Commute: 5 mins / 30 cals
- Head to the next nearest bus stop or train station
- Park further away from work
Workshops to support workplace health and wellbeing
GreaterSport along with our trusted partners will be running a series of workshops to support workplace health and wellbeing. As well as events on being an Active Workplace you can expect sessions on the psychology of work and support for employers as the world starts to get back to normal after the Covid-19 Pandemic.
No workshops are planned at the moment
If you'd like to run workshops exclusively for your own organisation's employees on subjects such as physical activity, sleep, nutrition or the psychology of the workplace, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Active Champion Workshops
Introducing an active workplace plan can seem like a huge task. Employers are often put off: how will they fit the plan into their schedule? Can they manage it alone?
At GreaterSport, we alleviate this worry by offering Active Champions Workshops in the workplace. Active Champions are employees you can choose to lead physical activity in your workplace. They help you by delivering the active workplace plans and support their colleagues to increase their activity levels.
Our training offers the following:
- An introduction to Greater Manchester Moving, and national and local strategies for workplace wellbeing.
- Understanding your colleagues. We know not all your employees will be keen to get involved in activity. Together, we’ll look at how we can address this.
- Benefits of an active workplace: why should you promote an active workplace? What are the benefits for employers and employees?
- Signposting to best practice active workplaces across Greater Manchester, as well as other local and national support networks. We’ll introduce you to partners who can help with overall healthy workplaces and active travel solutions.
- What next for your workplace: what are the active workplace tips and takeaways? What are your next steps?
Encouraging people to move more is our main focus. However, we do look at mental wellbeing and work with partners who can offer you more in-depth support.
“Physical inactivity is an issue across the GM region, and can have negative impacts on physical and mental health. We’re committed to improving the wellbeing of our staff, and the Active Champions Workshop was a great way to achieve this. All physical activity counts from taking the stairs rather than the lift, to a quick lunchtime walk. We’re already starting to see positive changes in our sites.”
Adam Cunnane - District External Relations & Wellbeing Lead North West Region
Department for Work & Pensions