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Lunchtime challenge for Shropshire businesses

Shropshire businesses are being invited to ‘liven up their lunch’ as part of a campaign to improve the mental and physical health of the local workforce.

County sports partnership Energize Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin is encouraging companies to introduce 10-minute ‘bite-sized’ chunks of activity through its Active Lunch Challenge, which runs until the end of February.

Helen White, business development officer at Energize, said: “An estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, and research shows that time is the biggest barrier to sport and activity.

“By encouraging participation during the lightest and brightest part of the day, the Active Lunch Challenge will also support mental health, helping to tackle Seasonal Affective Disorder.

"It’s so important that more people introduce physical activity into and around their working day, but the perception for many is that it’s just too difficult achieve.

“In fact, small steps can make a real difference. We want Shropshire people to get away from their desks, get off the shop floor and get out of the factory – it doesn’t matter what they do, the most important thing is that they take steps to change their normal routine by introducing some form of physical activity.

“Bite-size activities can be anything that gets the heart rate elevated, makes you feel a little bit warmer and gets your blood pumping - from a brisk walk in a midday mile, to a tussle over table tennis . . . or simply taking the stairs, instead of using the lift.”

Shropshire employees can sign up for the Workplace Challenge for free, where they can log activity and compete against others in company-wide, local and national challenges. 

The Active Lunch campaign comes hot on the heels of Energize’s ‘Active Advent’, which encouraged companies to take on a series of fun physical challenges in the countdown to Christmas.

Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group was among those which took part. Project manager Edith Macalister said: “It was a fun and very sociable way to get us up and moving.

“You can always find reasons not to take five minutes away from your desk, but when you do it’s really refreshing and stimulating to do some stretches or enjoy a bit of music-fuelled shadow boxing!

“It was great to try out a few new things, and for me one of the best sights was seeing colleagues laughing and looking more relaxed, even after five minutes. For people who work in health, health starts here with us.”

Design consultancy Pleydell Smithyman, in Ironbridge, also took part. Ecological co-ordinator Kelly Downward said: “Office based activities are a great way to boost morale and get people smiling.

“It’s great fun working together to meet a challenge – whether that’s something simple like all completing two burpees, or something seemingly much more difficult like 20 members of staff holding a 22-second yoga pose.”

Picture: The Pleydell Smithyman team from Ironbridge rise to meet the Energize challenge

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