Life Leisure, a Stockport based sport and leisure trust, is working in partnership with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust to improve the health of local NHS employees. Funded by Sport England, the ‘actiLIFE’ initiative is targeted at NHS employees who are currently leading sedentary lifestyles and therefore who are at high risk of developing chronic health problems.
Key to this initiative is Life Leisure’s actiLIFE product, which employs a combination of a web based programme, technology (in the form of an accelerometer) and remote coaching. It is based on a vision which contradicts most normal gym operator’s ambitions in terms of getting people into the physical gym environment and aims to provide the leisure sector with a solution which will help inactive people become more active without ever having to set foot in a gym.
During a host day in early November participants were fitted with the actiLIFE accelerometer (or ‘pebble’) and undertook extensive testing using state of the art Boditrax technology. From this initial assessment all participants will receive an overview of body composition make up which included BMI, Muscle Mass, Fat Mass, Hydration Levels, visceral Fat and overall metabolic age readings.
During the programme participants will receive encouragement and coaching from Life Leisure trainers and will be able to monitor their progress online via the actiLIFE portal. And to add further motivation Life Leisure have mapped out distances between certain points in the hospital using measurements of ‘actiLIFE steps’ and prizes will be rewarded to participants who complete the most amount of steps.
Malcolm McPhail, CEO for Life Leisure, commented, ‘We are delighted to be working in Partnership with Stockport NHDS Foundation Trust to improve the health of their employees. Through the use of technology there is no need for participants to come into our facilities, no need to exercise in our gyms, but they can still benefit from the expertise of our health and fitness professionals. If this is a starting point which may lead them on to becoming a gym member in the longer term, then that is great, but most importantly they are making an initial positive step in the right direction.’
These thoughts were echoed by Jan Sinclair, Senior Healthcare Public Health Nurse at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust who stated, ‘Life Leisure have 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. In addition the “I’d Wish I’d Tried” initiative, has enabled staff to access classes like Tai Chi, Zumba and Pilates sessions on the trust site which in turn has helped reduced costs incurred through staff absenteeism. At Stepping Hill we are encouraging staff to be role models in leading healthy lives.’
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The campaign aims to inspire, reassure and support people to be active by showing people living with a variety of conditions – both visible and invisible – on their own journeys to being active.