A new project has been launched with the aim of improving health among NHS employees.
The health service itself often espouses the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle, yet too many health workers do not practice what they preach.
With this in mind, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, has joined forces with Life Leisure to produce the actiLIFE initiative.
There is evidence that the scheme has already been successful in cutting absenteeism.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust runs Stepping Hill Hospital, where the project was put into action initially.
The project is particularly aimed at members of the NHS staff who lead sedentary lifestyles when away from work.
It is these individuals who run the greatest risk of developing chronic and life-threatening health difficulties.
ActiLIFE uses web-based technology to enable people to train and follow an exercise schedule remotely without going to the gym.
Jan Sinclair, senior public health nurse at the foundation trust, is positive about the benefits that the project has had on the region thus far.
“Life Leisure has played a key part in helping staff to change to a healthier lifestyle by supporting them in losing weight and increasing their physical activity. Through projects such as actiLIFE, staff have been able to use technology to track their physical activity levels and reduce sedentary behaviour.”
Sinclair also outlined some of the benefits that the project has gleaned thus far.
“In addition there are classes like Tai Chi, Zumba and Pilates on the trust site, which in turn has helped reduce costs incurred through staff absenteeism. At Stepping Hill we are encouraging staff to be role models in leading healthy lives.”
Early aspects of the project have seen health workers fitted with accelerometers, with physical assessments of their state being carried out.
Results provide each participant with an overview of their body composition and vital signs, with criteria such as BMI, muscle mass and hydration levels being collated.
Progress is then monitored from this base and encouragement and coaching given remotely through an actiLIFE portal.
The pressure of working in the NHS can often lead to sub-par health, and indeed to individuals neglecting their health in favour of easier options.
Malcolm McPhail, from Life Leisure, commented: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the trust to improve the health of their employees. If this is a starting point which may lead to becoming a gym member, then that is great, but most importantly they are making an initial positive step in the right direction.”