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WellMe – Be Active

Last month, we launched a comprehensive wellbeing strategy called ‘WellMe’. The programme identifies five main wellbeing pillars that we’ll be promoting to all of our employees. The first pillar is ‘Be Active’.

The benefits of physical activity are well-documented. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline, and regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Just 10 minutes of physical activity has been shown to be beneficial to mental health.

Exercise doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous for the benefits to kick in – even slower-paced activities such as walking have positive physical and mental effects.

Nor does exercise have to take one big chunk out of the day. Small amounts of physical activity throughout the day all add up. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing them and going for a short walk at lunchtime all help.

The challenge can be making a conscious effort to be more active and maintaining it. Even when we have the best of intentions, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. Sometimes it may feel like there’s not enough time in the day. In fact, there are 24 hours in a day and therefore plenty of time for physical activity.

On some days you may get home from work feeling exhausted. However, when you reflect you realise it’s a case of mental exhaustion from the mind being active. This can be overcome by keeping active during the day.

The programme will give Churchill staff questions to aid self-reflection, and team leaders will be supporting as and when they can. The goal is for our employees to have better mental and physical health, be more engaged and build closer relationships with their colleagues.

With an increasing number of employees now working from home following advice from the government about coronavirus, keeping active is arguably even more important. For many, the daily commute is one of the main forms of physical activity. When working from home, it can be easy to fall into the trap of not leaving the house all day.

Stretching is a highly beneficial activity – build in a 10-minute stretch to the start and end of the workday. If possible, take a walk at lunch and if you live near a colleague you can walk together. It’s important to take regular breaks from sitting down, so even getting up to make tea can be useful.

Wherever our staff are based, we’ll be sharing tips for staying active to ensure that everyone is informed of the benefits and has the chance to put our suggestions into practice.

We’ll be sharing more about the other pillars and the impact of the programme with blogs throughout the year.