New research aims to get staff fitter

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 27 APRIL

A researcher at Birmingham City University is aiming to boost staff physical activity levels by looking at new ways of increasing opportunities for employees to exercise in the workplace.

PhD researcher, Ayazullah Safi, who is based within the University’s School of Health Sciences, will assess the current physical activity levels of more than 500 members of staff from across the University before implementing a range of activities designed to get staff more active, improving both their physical and mental health.

It is estimated that one in four women and one in five men in England carry out less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.

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Current recommendations state that adults should take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. This can include activities such as walking, gardening, swimming and cycling. In addition it is advised that adults carry out strength exercises at least twice a week to work all major muscles.

Ayazullah said: "Employers are increasingly aware of the negative impact that poor health and fitness levels can have on employees' success both within and outside the workplace.

"Last year in the UK, it was estimated that 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury. Some of the most common causes included minor illnesses such as coughs and colds; musculoskeletal problems, such as back and neck pain; and mental health issues including stress, depression and anxiety.

"By increasing employees' physical activity levels it is possible that some of these conditions can be reduced. With this is mind, this study aims to identify new ways in which employees' can easily boost their activity levels and in turn, improve their health."

Ayazullah will monitor and assess the physical activity levels of staff members from across the University. Using a mixture of research methods including questionnaires and focus groups, as well as encouraging staff to record details of their physical activity levels whilst wearing an ActiGraph monitor which will measure their heart rate and intensity of any activity they take part in. From these results Ayazullah will then look at implementing a range of activities and initiatives to encourage staff to get more active.

Ayazullah said:

Ayazullah is one of 50 STEAM Scholars at Birmingham City University whose research is funded as part of the University’s £3 million initiative to create new subject knowledge and to power cultural, societal and economic improvements in the West Midlands.

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