Do you have what it takes to be a Workplace Challenge Champion?

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What is Workplace Challenge?

Workplace Challenge is a partnership programme with the British Heart Foundation offering a series of training sessions across the UK that delivers a hands on approach to improving health and wellbeing within a workforce.

It encourages a person, or two, within an organisation to adopt the role of workplace challenge champion, and with a full day training session provides them with the “skills, confidence and resources to promote better health and increase participation in sport and physical activity“[1].

Why is promoting health and wellbeing at work important?

Having a healthy workplace environment is both good for mental and physical wellbeing.

The average person spends around 60% of their waking hours at work.

It’s estimated that the annual economic costs to businesses of sickness absence is over £100 billion, with around 23 million working days in the UK lost due to work-related ill health [2].

The benefits of having a healthy and active workplace can lead to improved morale, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, and increased staff retention.

What does it mean to be a Workplace Champion?

Being a workplace champion might be part of your job permit, or you might simply be keen to promote wellness amongst your colleagues.  The idea is that you are there to support your colleagues in an active lifestyle, organise activities, and be a point of contact if they’re looking for advice on how to increase their activity.

What to expect from Workplace Challenge training:

Workplace Challenge is an interactive workshop, so you are encouraged to come dressed for casual movement.  Throughout the day you are introduced to a number of resources available to businesses specifically designed to promote activity in the workforce, which can be recorded through the Workplace Challenge website.  Sports and activities ranging from tennis to volleyball, from table tennis to running.

The course also provides advice on how to introduce the Workplace Challenge into an organisation, and how to gain support and commitment from both employees and employers.  Information is provided on how to write and submit a business case to senior staff in order to introduce the programme, as well as highlighting case studies of programmes that have already proved successful.

The day is also a great way to meet others who are promoting health and activity in the workplace, and share experiences and ideas of what has worked well so far for yourselves and others.

The cost of the full-day workshop is £50, which includes a Health at Work pack, and lunch & refreshments.

Workplace Challenge Website:

The website offers news on upcoming events in and around local areas, as well as contact details of local sport organisations and trusts.

There is a great online free activity log, where you can track all your activities and compete in self-set challenges or challenges with colleagues and friends.  And there are prizes and incentives for completing challenges.  As well as some fun little quirks, including a count of how much C02 you’ve saved in being more active.

Workplace Challenge also has an app to go along with the online Activity log, which means you can track your activities on the go.




NHS England to deliver tailored diabetes prevention scheme

This year NHS England are launching ‘The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’ (NHS DPP), the first nationwide programme of its kind to help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes currently costs the NHS around £8.8 billion a year, which is just under 9% of its annual budget.  It’s a leading cause of preventable sight loss, especially in those of working age, and also contributes to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

It is thought that around 5 million people in England are currently at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but that with the roll out of the ‘Healthier You’ programme, this number could be seriously reduced through preventative measures.  The hope is to offer up to 100,000 people a year in England tailored help on how to change up their lifestyle habits in order to become healthier and more physically active, as evidence has shown that “behavioural interventions, which support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition”.

Further reading and resources:

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes | CHOHS

NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP)

Tips for reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

The NHS estimates that around 5 million people in England are currently at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  It’s a huge contributor to preventable sight loss in people of working age, heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure, as well as leading to around 100 amputations a week and 20,000 early deaths a year.  But unlike Type 1 Diabetes, the development of Type 2 can be avoided through preventative measures, of which there are many little ones that can be incorporated into everyday life.

Eating consciously

  • about 10 mins before a meal drink a glass of water, this will help you to feel less hungry whilst eating
  • use smaller plates to dish up a meal, encouraging smaller portion sizes
  • enjoy your meals away from distractions, such as television which can distract from being conscious of how much you’ve eaten
  • keep the serving dishes away from the table, you will be less likely to reach for seconds, and more aware of the fact if you get up for them
  • eat more slowly and give your stomach time to feel full. It often takes the body around 20 minutes to feel full after having eaten
  • try to ensure that at least half of your meal is made up of vegetables
  • half a dessert with a partner or friend
  • keep a water bottle on you throughout the day. Water is great for curing hunger pangs and will also keep you hydrated, helping you to stay feeling fresh
  • make a list of the things you need from the supermarket before you go and stick to it
  • eat a handful of nuts or some fruit before heading out for the weekly shop, to avoid feeling hungry and tempted in the supermarket
  • read the nutritional labels on food packaging, you may become aware of a higher salt content for example than you had imagined, which might influence your purchasing decisions in the future
  • read a book instead of unwinding with television, if you’ve seen a trailer for a film coming out that you think looks good, see if it’s based on a book. You’re much less likely to snack whilst holding a book and hopefully if you’re enjoying the story, you’ll be distracted from thinking about snacking
  • if you find yourself mindlessly opening the fridge or snack cupboards, pause and consider if you’re actually hungry or just grazing

Moving around

  • listen to upbeat music whilst doing chores and cooking dinner, you’ll likely find yourself dancing along, and feel good songs are great mood boosters
  • try some YouTube workouts and/or yoga, there are many for all ages and stages. They’re free, varying lengths, and often presented by professionals, who will talk you through particular moves and their benefits
  • walk about whilst your on the phone. A 20 minute phone call can lead to over 1000 steps, a 1/10 of the daily recommendation (10,000 steps)
  • whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or the toaster to pop, strengthen your muscles by doing some squats or arm stretches

Further resources and reading:

Can you reduce the risk of diabetes? | Diabetes UK

Diabetes: Reduce Your Risk of Getting It | NHS