Cheshire East Council wants to help workplaces and their employees to be healthy and happy.
Encouraging and promoting a healthy lifestyle will help to maintain a healthy workforce. If people try to eat healthily, reduce their exposure to tobacco smoke and keep themselves active they can aspire to enjoy a longer life with less risk of illness and disease.
Information on smokefree workplaces, healthy eating, alcohol consumption and exercise is outlined below.
If additional information on health and wellbeing at work issues is required the Health for Work Adviceline provides free occupational health advice service for small and medium sized businesses in England.
Workplace Wellbeing Charter
The Council's application for accreditation for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter for England has been successful and it has achieved the Charter status. The application included a self assessment process and an interview with the Charter Panel in Manchester in October 2012. The Council can use the Charter "Achieve" Logo until October 2014.
Smoke free workplace
In July 2007 all enclosed public places and workplaces became smoke free. This was a government attempt to reduce people’s exposure to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. However smoking still causes over 80,000 deaths every year and it is the leading cause of health inequalities. Cheshire East Council has developed a smoke free workplace policy to protect staff from the unnecessary exposure to smoke at work. All the offices and council vehicles are smoke free and the workplace policy also includes measures to control the use of electronic cigarettes within premises and vehicles. Staff who must visit customers in their own homes can be protected from the harmful effects of tobacco by requesting a smoke free room while they are doing a home visit. More information can be obtained from the smoke free page.
Stop smoking service
If you would like to give up smoking and wish to have some support or guidance you can ring the Stop smoking helpline on: 0800 085 8818 to find your nearest advisor or visit the stop smoking page.
Did you know that we consume at least a third of our daily calorie intake while at work? So the workplace is an ideal setting to introduce changes essential for maintaining our health, weight and wellbeing.
We all know what we should be eating but sometimes we are not sure how much we should eat.
Portion sizes are very important. Children's meal sizes are important and the change4life website has lots of guidance.
Fruit and Vegetables
As we all know, it is recommended that we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. But did you know that you should also be eating as many differently coloured varieties as possible?
Naturally occurring phytochemicals that give fruit and vegetables their colours can also help keep us healthy and free from disease. Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables contain the most antioxidants. So while it's important to 'eat your greens', it's just as important to eat your reds, oranges, yellows, blues and purples, too. Eat five a day the rainbow way.
What is a portion of fruit or vegetable?
It is approximately a handful of the fruit or vegetable you choose to eat. More information can be viewed at the the 5 a day page or visit the NHS 5 a day website.
Perhaps occasionally you could bring some fruit into work to have as a snack instead of those tempting biscuits. This is a way of eating more fruit during the day.
Healthy Lunch box
Many people will take a packed lunch to work. Sometimes lunch boxes can contain too many unhealthy options? It can be difficult to get ideas to keep the lunch interesting? If you have not got a fridge at your workplace, small ice packs can be easily carried next to your packed lunch to keep it cool until lunch time. This will keep your lunch cold and slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. More information is available on food safety.
Cheshire East Council has produced a leaflet “How cool is your lunch box?” which gives advice on keeping packed lunches healthy and safe plus some healthy suggestions of foods to include. These are available from the Health Improvement Team.
Salt the facts
Many people in the UK eat too much salt which can cause raised blood pressure. This puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke. A few simple steps can help you to reduce your salt intake. More facts on salt are available from the NHS Choices website.
The Alcohol Awareness page contains information on units of alcohol and the current recommended limits.
Regularly drinking more than the recommended limits of alcohol is harmful to health. You will probably find that cutting down will be good for your health and how you feel. The most immediate effects you’re likely to notice are:
- feeling better in the mornings
- being less tired during the day
- your skin may start to look better
- you’ll start to feel in better shape
- you may stop gaining weight
Tips on cutting down
Make a plan
Before you start drinking, set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to drink.
Set yourself a budget
Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.
On your side
If you let your friends and family know you’re cutting down and that it’s important to you, you could get support from them.
Take it a day at a time
Try and cut back a little each day – then every day you do is a success.
Make it a smaller one
You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer or a small glass of wine.
Have a lower-strength drink
Cut down the alcohol by swapping a strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %) – you'll see this info on the bottle.
Drink a pint of water before you start drinking and avoid using alcohol to quench your thirst – have a soft drink instead.
Take a break
Have the odd day here and there each week when you don’t have a drink.
For further advice visit the NHS Drinking Advice website.
Not everyone wants to join a gym or go swimming, but there are other ways in which you can keep yourself healthy and get some exercise. Sometimes simply a walk at lunch time or in the evening after work will help you feel better mentally and keep your body healthier.
Visit the Change4life website and see other ways that can help you believe a healthier lifestyle.
Many employers are now seeing the benefits of investing in their staff by enabling them to pursue a more active and healthy lifestyle. Exercise provides some fantastic staff benefits such as:
- reduced risk of heart disease
- improved ability to cope with stress
- improved levels of confidence
- feeling generally fit and more energetic
- reduced absenteeism
We offer corporate membership packages to a large number of employers in the area, including Cheshire East Council
To find out more go to the everybody website.
Walking and health
Walking 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) can give you a healthy heart and reduce your body fat.
Walking is good for your heart, lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness. Most of the work is done by the muscles of the lower body, and it’s a weight-bearing activity, so it can help improve bone density. It is also low impact, so it won’t strain your joints.
The beauty of walking is that it can be fitted into your daily routine. It’s free, saves on petrol or bus fares and is better for the planet. Half of all journeys in the UK are under two miles.
If you walk faster you will burn calories at a faster rate and you’ll arrive quicker. More information on walking is available from the ranger service at Cheshire East Council.