Workplace health highlighted for new national day of awareness

Just one in three Irish workers are taking the recommended level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle each week.

That is according to new research commissioned by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF ) ahead of Ireland’s first National Workplace Wellbeing Day on Friday March 27.

The research also revealed three in 10 workers undertake no physical exercise during work time.

Following on from the research, Professor Niall Moyna, chairperson of the NHF, is now calling on companies across Mayo to sign up and take part in National Workplace Wellbeing Day.

The day encourages companies to focus on healthier workplaces for one day and consider some of the benefits introducing more health related policies at work could bring.

“Workplaces are essential in encouraging healthier lifestyles among adults, given the considerable amount of time people spend there,” said Prof Moyna.

“With 11 million days lost through absenteeism every year at a cost €1.5 billion, workplace wellbeing is in everyone’s interest,” he added.

“Simply encouraging staff to take 15 minutes exercise, for example, throughout their working day would go a long way towards the 150 minutes moderate exercise that is recommended weekly.

“This could involve staff taking the stairs rather than the lift, or identifying routes of various distances around the vicinity of the workplace for lunchtime walks or runs.

“This campaign aims to help improve employee health through promoting better nutrition and physical activity. It is easy for companies to get involved.”

For companies or businesses which want to promote healthier workplaces, here are a few suggestions from the NHF.

Five--a-day… place fresh fruit bowls around the office

Offer new healthy options on canteen menus and in vending machines

Host healthy meetings - download the guidelines from nhfireland.ie/wellbeing Organise special employee health screenings on the day

Promote lunchtime walks and runs - identify local routes of varying length and difficulty

Invite a local gym or personal trainer in to host special exercise classes in your premises

Arrange healthy cooking demonstrations in the canteen

Five–a-side ... between departments or neighbouring companies

Bring in experts for wellbeing talks on topics selected by staff

Promote the cycle to work scheme

Lots of companies across Ireland have already signed up for the first Workplace Wellbeing Day, organised by the Nutrition and Health Foundation and supported by IBEC.

For further information, visit nhfireland.ie/wellbeing

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