Employees from three Stockport health organisations are practising what they preach by signing up to a year-long community health challenge for a more active life.
Up to 500 staff from NHS Stockport CCG, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and Stockport Council will join Life Leisure’s actilife programme – which combines wearable technology (fitness trackers), an online interactive programme and remote coaching to help people become more active and better manage their weight.
The actilife programme is designed to motivate and support people in becoming more active whether they’re a complete beginner or a seasoned exerciser. If someone is intimidated by joining a gym facility then through actilife we can show people other ways to become active and in doing so, improve their confidence and fitness levels should they wish to move on to more structured exercise.
The aim is for Stockport health staff and the wider Council workforce, to boost their own activity levels while learning first-hand how a more active life can make them healthier, to add inspiration to the advice they give to the public. The teams will be taking part in a series of challenges, which could be anything from taking the highest number of average monthly steps to doing a park run or climbing a mountain.
They will be using a fitness tracker or phone app to record their physical activity throughout the day as they go about their work. The tracker syncs with an online portal that enables them to monitor their progress. An actilife coach will also be able to access results via the online platform and give them tailored advice and support.
Councillor Tom McGee, Stockport Council’s Executive Member for Health has already signed up to actilife and will be helping to champion it across the Council to employees and fellow Councillors.
“Actilife is about taking every opportunity you get to keep active, particularly if you have a sedentary job. I’ve signed up already as I want to get more active and lose a few pounds but also think it’s important that I lead by example. I’ll be encouraging people to stand up or walk around while they’re on the phone, going to talk to people rather than emailing, and just walking more every day. The beauty of actilife is that everyone can set their own personal goal as well as taking part in the individual and team challenges.”
Jan Sinclair, 59, from Offerton is Senior Healthcare Public Health Nurse and champion for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust. She has been running for 20 years and clocks up between 15k and 20k every week. She’s a firm believer that it’s never too late to start keeping fit. “If you don’t like running, try something you DO enjoy. We’ll be doing a half hour lunchtime walking challenge with staff in March, and we’re also looking forward to a Zumba challenge.”
Emma Bamber, 37, who is communications manager and champion at NHS Stockport CCG says running around after her children when they were young kept her fit, but she got out of the habit of keeping active. “Then I started running again, and completed the Manchester 10k last May after five months’ training. If I can do it, anyone can!”
Emma, who lives in Hazel Grove, says her personal challenge this year is to take up cycling, and she has signed up for a 60 mile bike ride in September to raise money for the Christie Hospital.
Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure, said: “We’re already working with local NHS services to help embed actilife in their public health education to make it a recognised health intervention. So there could be nothing more inspiring than hundreds of health staff practising what they preach and trying actilife for themselves. We hope it will lead to lifelong active lives for people in all three organisations.”
Any leisure or health trusts interested in finding out more about actilife should contact Michelle Childs, Senior Physical Activity Development Officer, at Life Leisure on 0161 482 0900 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.