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Active at Work Champion Training


Lisa and Becky from Kent-Teach recently attended the Active at Work Champion Training course delivered by Kent Sport, in association with the British Heart Foundation and Lisa has shared her account of the day and what she has taken away from the course.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the training course to be honest. The training was a voluntary course and not something either myself or Becky were required to do for work, but we were both passionate about the subject and were fortunate enough to attend together. At the start of the course, we found out what organisations delegates were from and got to know a little bit about each other. It was evident that there was a wide range of workplace wellbeing experience in the room; from people who were seasoned pros and had already had a huge impact on their workplace, to those who just didn’t know where to begin.

We all know the feeling. You sit down for a presentation and see a projector with PowerPoint slide 1 of 20 on the screen and you let out an internal moan. Well I can honestly say this wasn’t the case here, the slides really did get us all talking amongst ourselves and we were definitely not just bombarded with stats for an hour. 

Lucy and Elise from Kent Sport took us through some theory which provided us with information and figures surrounding workplace health. Some of the statistics were quite shocking and the presentation really highlighted the importance of physical activity with 19% of Men and 26% of Women  classified as ‘physically inactive’. In between slides we would have an animated discussion around the table about the information in front of us.

We completed active tasks throughout the presentation to keep us engaged and practice the notion of being more active. In smaller groups, we spent some time brainstorming, involving getting up and down and putting post-it notes on a flipchart at the end of the room with our answers. We covered a number of topics, including highlighting a number of excuses that people come up with as to why they are inactive and the benefits to an employer of having active employees in the workplace.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons/excuses for not exercising, in fact we had a whole flip chart full of the – I’m too tired, I don’t have time, it’s too expensive to join a gym. But we all know that most of these excuses are just that, and that there are many solutions to overcome each of these barriers to exercise.

It was time to get up on our feet again and practice what we were going to preach. From the excuses we managed to list off as a group, time seemed to be the most common reason for not participating in exercise. Time doesn’t have to be setting aside hours in the gym each week, there are so many simple activities you can incorporate into your day, from the second you wake up, to brushing your teeth before jumping into bed in the evening. These exercises can be done at home, on your daily commute or in the workplace and are about making small achievable changes to your day. Have a look at the Kent Sport video for simple exercises to incorporate into your day.

Another eye-opening part of the training was the nature of the word inactive! Over 60% of men and 70% of women don’t do the recommended amount of exercise to benefit their health but perhaps more shockingly, 80% of people think they are active enough. To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week. 

Understanding the nature of inactivity led to some serious self-reflection amongst our table, where do we fit into those categories?

7% of people do nothing – no activity at all in the last 28 days

3% of people are not doing enough – less than 30 minutes activity

19% of people are missing the intensity – only light intensity activity

For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. Whilst it may be great that you are taking your dog out each day for a walk, if you aren’t raising your heart rate it is unlikely to be having the health benefits you think it is.

The theory side of the training was so informative and got us to approach wellbeing in a completely different way. Before discussing ideas of what we can do in our workplace to make them more active, we needed to understand the scale of the problem, and how to overcome the potential barriers for those who live a sedentary lifestyle.

At the end of the training we were given some great practical ideas to get our workplace more active. Not all of these exercises will be suitable in your own workplace, some offices may not have the spaces, means, or relaxed work environment to incorporate some of these fun-filled office activities, but it’s about finding something that works for you. The average UK worker spends more than 8 hours a day sitting down (whether that’s at a desk or sofa) and it’s time we did something to change that. 

So now Kent-Teach have two ‘Active at Work’ champions and I could not feel more motivated to help other people in my workplace to be more active too. I have definitely been guilty of being part of the “excuses club”, but what excuse do I really have when I am surrounded by a supportive team of colleagues. So since attending the training, I have been promoting the Kent Sport resources and everyday active ideas to the team and to our wider Kent-Teach audience. I wear my Fitbit each day (other trackers are available), which gives me an encouraging little buzz every hour to remind me to step away from my computer for a few minutes. At Kent-Teach HQ we actively encourage each other to go for a power walk around the building or have standing meetings when we can.

We are slowly changing our behaviours in the workplace and the ‘Active at Work Champion’ training course really opened my eyes as to what can be achieved by introducing small changes into our busy working lives. The feedback from the team has been really positive and I would highly recommend the course to anyone looking to make a difference in their workplace.

Champion Training courses in Kent are delivered by Kent Sport, the County Sports Partnership and are scheduled to take place at various times throughout the year. For more information contact Lucy Tomlinson on lucy.tomlinson@kent.gov.uk 

If this blog has got you thinking about ways you can be more active at work, here are 8 ways you can incorporate more exercise into your working day.


Sources:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health 
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/ 

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