Why it’s vital to transform the way we work

Why it’s vital to transform the way we work

We need to make being active part of the working day

The importance of being active for health and wellbeing has long been recognised. 

Yet in North Wales, in line with patterns across Wales and the UK, we are moving less and less active than ever before. 

Over half of adults don’t meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes a week, with a third of the adult population in North Wales active for less than 30 minutes a week.

And the challenge grows when we look at habits in the workplace.

People working in offices or working at their desk from home are spending up to 75% of their working hours sitting. 

This can have some detrimental and long-term impacts on health, increasing the risk of a variety of conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Not only that, but evidence shows that even if you exercise regularly but spend most of the rest of the day sitting down, you can still be at risk of the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. 

Physically active employees are often more focussed and productive – research has shown that employees that do at least 75 minutes of physical activity a week have fewer days off sick, with other reported benefits including decrease work related stress, improved creativity and problem solving and a more positive outlook. 

Increasing levels of physical activity during the working day needs a shift in culture and mindset, and this is what the Active Soles movement is all about. 

Active Soles aims to support teams to be more active by filling the workplace with energy and motion, starting with what we wear to change the way we think and behave. 

It aims to encourage employers to enable and empower their staff – to give them permission – to consider what would make it easy for them to move more during the working day, so that we can all build movement into our day. 

This could be in a wide range of ways such as arranging walking meetings, taking the stairs instead of the lift (if you’re in the office), or popping the headphones in and going for a walk while you make work calls if you’re working from home. 

Small changes really do add up over the course of the day and can make a big difference to our health, wellbeing, and work performance. 

As the first regional physical activity and sport partnership to go live in Wales, Actif North Wales is delighted to be one of the first organisations to get on board with Active Soles in Wales alongside Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Cardiff Council.    

This is a key part of our new ten year strategy which launched earlier this year and aims to bring a wide range of partners together to work with our diverse communities to really understand the root causes of inactivity across the region, and encourage everyone to start moving more in a way that works for them.

If you’re an employer who believes in the power of an active workforce, I’d encourage you to join the Active Soles movement and to help create a culture that enables the workforce to be more active in the workplace.

All organisations in Wales, regardless of size or industry, can take part and it’s designed to be flexible so it can be adapted to meet the needs of individual organisations. 

Find out more here

Manon Rees-O’Brien, Regional Director
Actif North Wales


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