Back in December 2016, I attended the three hour Workplace Challenge Champion Training course delivered by Kent Sport in association with the British Heart Foundation Health at Work programme.

Over 20 people from 15 different workplaces attended the course.  At the start we got to know a little bit about each other and it became clear that there was a wide range of workplace health experience in the room.   The one thing that we all had in common though was a passion to get our colleagues and workplaces more active and more healthy.

The theory side of the training got us thinking about why we should be more active, what it takes to become a workplace champion and how we can encourage our colleagues to be more active.   Hearing about the complex nature of inactivity and the different stages of behaviour change was extremely interesting and it got us thinking about the different types of messages that we need to use when promoting activity in the workplace.  We learnt about the wide range of workplace activities that staff can participate in and towards the end of our training we had a go at some of these activities, including chair-based exercises, office table tennis, sitting volleyball and resistance band strength & conditioning exercises.

After the course, I felt motivated and inspired.  I felt I now had the confidence to help others in my workplace to be more active.   I registered with the Workplace Challenge and started to promote the free online tool to colleagues and other staff.   I now send out weekly emails to share progress, to encourage people to log their activities and to keep them motivated.  The feedback has been really positive.

Since January, we’ve all been participating in the 8 Week #ActiveLunch Challenge and we’ve managed to fit in a lunchtime walk nearly every day.  We’ve gradually built this up to 25-30 minutes walks and we always come back feeling refreshed and ready to carry on with our working day.  This challenge has really helped me think about ways to improve my own health but also help others think about how they can have a healthier, more active lifestyle too.

The Workplace Champion Training course really opened my eyes up to what can be achieved by introducing small changes into our busy working lives.  I would highly recommend the course to anyone who wants to make a difference within their workplace.  I hope it motivates you as much as it has me!

Maddison Thursting, Public Health Apprentice, Medway Council