Sussex businesses are being urged to leave their laptops for lunchtime yoga and ditch their desks in favour of dumbbells this month, as part of a nationwide initiative designed to bring physical activity into and around the workplace.
Workplace Health Week, which runs from 23-27 May 2016, is a week-long programme of activities designed to inspire businesses and encourage workers to get active. Now in its second year, the campaign is organised by Workplace Challenge in collaboration with Active Sussex and other County Sports Partnerships taking part across England.
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, according to Public Health England.
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.
Research conducted by Workplace Challenge partners, the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (BHFNC) shows that time is the biggest barrier to sport and activity, which is why Workplace Health Week is encouraging employers to focus on flexible working and active lunch breaks to help bring physical activity into and around the working day.
More than 48,000 employees from over 8,000 businesses across England have already signed up to Workplace Challenge. Employers are urged to get involved with a different focus each day via a free, online activity tool, which includes 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.
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.