Kick-start your fitness goals

The warmer months often get people thinking about improving their fitness and getting their bodies ‘summer-ready’. Yet, according to research from the NHS, 1 in 4 adults exercise less than 30 minutes a week. In fact, 58% of women and 68% of men are overweight or obese.

When you think about the health risks of being overweight – including Type 2 diabetes and cancer – this statistic is pretty shocking.

Our top tips towards a healthy lifestyle

Luckily, there are several ways to improve your fitness:

  • Walk frequently. Walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk for stroke, heart disease and more. Consider using the Walking for Health website to find a walking group that will keep you motivated every step of the way.
  • Exercise in intervals. Completing short, high-intensity workouts can yield the same results as longer, steady workouts. Plus, they can help you achieve the recommended weekly exercise amount of 150 minutes.
  • Join the NHS Couch to 5K programme. The NHS offers Couch to 5K information on its website, via a free app for iOS and Android devices, and through a weekly iTunes podcast. Following this exercise programme for as little as five minutes a day can lower your risk of premature death.
  • Lift weights. You don’t have to use heavy weights to make a difference. Using light weights burns fat, reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes and improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Set goals. Set benchmarks for yourself, and reward yourself when you meet your goals. Or, sign a contract with a fitness partner and encourage each other along the way.

If you are new to exercise or it has been a while since you undertook any, you may wish to seek professional advice first to help avoid any potential injuries.

A workforce that is well, works well

It’s no secret that an unhealthy workforce can have a significant impact on productivity and presents a real risk to business. There are various ways that you can help keep your employees and your business healthy, and they needn’t break the bank:

  • Healthy lifestyle programmes. Encourage healthy eating and regular exercise to maximise your employees’ physical wellbeing. This could be as simple as internal communications to educate them and raise awareness. Or revamping your work canteen to offer more healthy options on the menu.
  • Access to gym memberships. Help your employees improve their fitness. You can offer this as a corporate discount, or paid gym membership.
  • Health screening. Consider health screening for your employees to benchmark their current health and identify potential problems so you can take action and stop issues arising.
  • Health Cash Plan. This provides cashback to employees, up to set limits, for a range of day to day treatments from health professionals, including consultants, dentists, opticians and physiotherapists. They often have built in shopping portals as well, offering cheaper access to fitness wear, wearable technology and gym membership.
  • Review your existing benefits providers. Many health and wellbeing insurances now incorporate propositions to assist their members, and potentially help the whole workforce get fitter and healthier.   

Source: Zywave – Live Well Work Well newsletter May 2017