This year, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital adopted a new initiative, ‘Fit in 50’ to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. Jennie Jones, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager at the trust talks about the positive effects of promoting regular exercise and healthy eating throughout the working day.
I think we can take it as a well known fact that all staff in the NHS work terribly hard. Most staff will be very active in their day to day work activities; however we recognise that we have many individuals in the organisation who are sat at a desk for many hours during their working day. They are so focused on their work that they forget to get up and move to stretch their limbs. This then has a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing.
The effects of a sedentary lifestyle and its negative influence on office-based workers have been well documented over previous years. Sitting for long periods has been associated with many health-related conditions and consequently a significant impact on employee sickness absence within the NHS. As health professionals in the NHS, we are always seeking new initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of our workforce.
This year, we implemented a new Fit in 50 wellbeing initiative. The Fit in 50 initiative is a booklet, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of sedentary/office-based workers. The recurring 14 day plan can easily be incorporated into a working day and aimed to promote independent exercise and good nutritional habits. It is produced in a booklet format to give the reader the opportunity to refocus that attention every hour on to something other than our computers.
The feedback from other NHS trusts was very positive and I was keen to encourage our staff to take part. The Fit in 50 booklets and posters gave me the perfect opportunity to remind staff of the importance in moving a bit more. So far, the therapies administration team, breast screening team and the risk governance and legal team are all having fun and moving a bit more.
It’s surprising the positive effect that just 50 seconds per hour of exercises can have and even more importantly staff reported as it being a good fun team building experience!
The exercises are going down a storm in breast screening. They have been doing them for two weeks now, every hour…..they don’t miss. They are great for keeping the team moving, especially as they sit at our desks for long periods. But the best thing about them is the fun they are having, everyone gets involved, it’s great bonding.
I'd really recommend moving and stretching a bit more even if you don't do it every hour, the impact on moving has had a great effect on our teams.
For more information take a look at the Fit in 50 initiative.