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Campaign to encourage lunchtime physical activity

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Workers are being encouraged to liven up their lunch breaks by taking part in bite size physical activity.

A national eight-week activity challenge will be launched on Wednesday 4 January, designed to encourage more people to introduce ten-minute chunks of activity in and around their working day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Bringing together 35 County Sports Partnerships from across England, the Active Lunch Challenge will provide individuals with examples and opportunities to get active and log their activity online.

The two-month campaign is part of the Workplace Challenge, a workplace health programme, aimed at supporting and promoting physical activity in and around the working environment.

An estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, according to Public Health England, and research conducted by Workplace Challenge partners, the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (BHFNC), shows that time is the biggest barrier to sport and activity.

The County Sports Partnership Network, which runs the Workplace Challenge, said the Active Lunch Challenge will also support mental health, helping to tackle seasonal affective disorder (SAD). NHS guidelines state that getting plenty of regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight, can help to improve symptoms of SAD.

Employers are being urged to allow their employees more time and opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity during the working week. A shift in culture would not only improve the wellbeing of the working population but also save businesses across England an estimated £2.8bn, according to the network.

Lee Mason, County Sports Partnership Network chief executive, said: “We know from research that many busy workers list time as one of their biggest barriers to exercise, particularly in winter when people are more likely to be at work during daylight hours, but we also know that every minute counts when it comes to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

“The most important thing about this campaign is that we want people to keep it simple. Introducing a small change to their current routine with bite size chunks of activity is one of the best ways for any busy individual to increase their exercise, which is why we’re encouraging people to get up and about over the eight weeks to encourage behavioural change.

“Whether they swap the lift for the stairs, grab a quick game of table tennis in the boardroom or challenge their colleagues to a dance-off, we want workers to make the most of their lunch break – and their journeys to and from work for that matter.”

Mason added that management level buy-in from employers was needed to make the campaign a success.

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Workers are being encouraged to liven up their lunch breaks by taking part in bite size physical activity.
The eight-week challenge will be launched in January
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