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Health in the office should be employee and employers’ resolution for 2012

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Many people put healthy changes to their lifestyles at the top of their lists of New Year’s resolutions, whether it is taking more exercise or eating less cake.

It can be difficult to keep such promises to yourself, especially if you have quite a sedentary job, such as in an office and sweet treats are brought in on a regular basis.

In reaction to this, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has suggested that employers aid their staff in trying to lead healthier lifestyles.

After all, healthier staff are happier and more efficient staff and less likely to get ill and be forced to take time off work.

Helping employees to fulfil their New Year’s resolutions is beneficial for all involved and is something which should be encouraged across workplaces.

Professor Mike Kelly, public health director of NICE, said: “Workers aren’t always active enough to benefit their health, so we’re recommending ways that employers can encourage staff to increase their levels of physical activity on their way to work, or during the day.”

Getting staff to be more active can be as simple as providing information on cycle routes to and from work and making sure there are facilities to allow employees somewhere safe to leave their bike.

Some offices even have shower facilities which mean cyclists can start the day knowing they have had the opportunity to clean up after their ride in.

Any office which is having its toilet facilities updated should think about adding the provision of a shower for runners and cyclists.

Other healthy options include having a box of fruit delivered to the office every week in order to help staff cut down on snacking on unhealthy options.

If fruit is readily available employees are more likely to reach for it than a chocolate bar, helping them to make wise eating choices.

Another suggestion from Arthritis Research UK is for employees to start yoga classes and one way management can encourage this is by organising short sessions to take place during the office lunch hour or straight after work.

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Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said: “Yoga provides real, positive benefits for people with chronic low back pain, plus there are no side effects.”