Physical activity is a great way to keep you healthy as well as improving your mental wellbeing.
Research shows that doing exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking can improve your mental alertness, energy and mood.
There are things you can do to give yourself the best chance of staying physically well, take a look at some free resources below:
Santander Cycles for NHS staff is continuing, and details of how to access the free offer can be found here.
You may also be interested in TfL’s Cycle Skills training.
NHS staff are now able to sign up to the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme. This is a brand new service for people who would like to lose weight and improve their health and wellbeing.
If you have a BMI of 30 or greater (or 27.5 or greater for staff from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups), you can now access a free, online 12-week weight management programme which is personally tailored to support your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Keeping healthy and active can be hard, especially with the demands of a busy job, but this digital programme can help you make those small changes, one step at a time. Signing up is quick and easy – just visit this website for more information and to join today!
#DoingOurBit is a specifically designed online fitness platform with over 60 free workouts for NHS staff. Offering externally verified sessions from leading professionals across fitness, wellness, mental health and nutrition. Visit the website here.
Soon you will be able to access the #DoingOutBit app and early next year they hoping to have in-person classes, gym sessions, and swimming. To access the updated platform and additional services you need to re-register or register your details.
Joe Wicks, Founder of The Body Coach App is offering all NHS employees free access to The Body Coach App for three months.
Regular exercise and eating nutritious meals can provide huge benefits for our physical and mental health, and through giving free app access to NHS employees, he said: "I hope I can help them to improve their health and happiness, while they're working hard to support us."
If you're currently an NHS worker and would like free access to The Body Coach app, just fill in the form using your registered NHS.net, HSCNI.net, NHS.scot or NHS.uk email address and get started.
If you work in the NHS, you can save up to 50% on a monthly membership with Better Gyms exclusive NHS Better Health UK membership for £33 per month. Simply choose a corporate membership when joining online and select NHS from the list of companies. The eligibility check is quick and easy – you can upload an image of your valid NHS staff card. Find out more.
Do the physical and mental symptoms of your health condition vary from day to day? Does the unpredictability of how you feel make it difficult to stay motivated?
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have put together physio-approved advice to get you started:
Musculoskeletal conditions (MSKs) are chronic problems that affect the bones, joints, muscle and soft tissue.
According to the World Health Organisation, these conditions are one of the leading causes of disability, with 1.7 billion people affected worldwide. They can severely limit someone’s mobility and dexterity.
Without adequate prevention, treatment and reasonable adjustments, MSK may lead to lower levels of wellbeing and difficulties with managing everyday tasks.
There are three types of MSK conditions:
- Conditions of MSK pain, such as osteoarthritis and back pain
- Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteoporosis and fragility fractures, for example, a fracture after a fall
If you are experiencing back, joint or muscle pain, you should discuss this with a healthcare professional such as your doctor. The earlier a problem is reported, the easier it is to deal with.
A number of at-home treatments may be beneficial including staying active, relaxation techniques (such as these breathing exercises) or using hot and cold packs. You should speak to your doctor if you require medication.
Initiatives such as Healthy Workplaces suggest that employees should have open and honest conversations with their employer about MSKs. This will help employers to take preventative action or make reasonable adjustments within the workplace.
Simple adjustments can include:
Finding alternative ways of doing tasks
Taking regular, short breaks
Flexible working hours or working from home
Adapting equipment e.g. sit-stand desk, using machinery to lift heavy objects
Taking time to move and stretch during the day.
There are many steps you can take at home to manage your pain.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have listed the resources below to help you. They contain information about the nature of your condition, practical advice for managing it and simple exercises you can do in your home to aid your recovery.
- Turning the Volume Down on Pain information leaflet, Body Logic
- Understanding pain: What to do about it in less than 5 minutes (YouTube), Australian animation
- Self Management education videos (YouTube), Pain Toolkit
- Gentle chair yoga (YouTube), Developed by chronic pain therapists
- Gentle yoga video (YouTube), Yoga with Adriene
- Information and advice leaflets, Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
- Information and advice leaflets on Opioids, Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
- Keele pain recorder app, Jigsaw-E
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