By Catherine Cummings, Director of CRS and Sanitas Foundation, Bupa Europe and Latin America.
The risk of sedentary lifestyles is a global problem and one that can be tackled from different angles - including the workplace. With over half the global population in some type of employment, and people working for longer than ever before, the workplace can be part of the solution instead of only being perceived as part of the problem of this phenomenon. Tackling sedentary lifestyles is an area where responsible businesses can come together to play their part along with other institutions in a collaborative way.
This is the main objective of the Sanitas Healthy Cities project in Spain, which has recently launched its third edition. The focus of the programme is to encourage physical activity from within the workplace and throughout the cities where we live and work. The formula to encourage activity is a corporate challenge, which is facilitated through a digital platform and complemented by offline sports activities and health services provided by Sanitas. The aim is to make it easy for companies to join and to encourage their employees to participate. At the same time the programme's challenge has a social element, designed to improve local infrastructure and thereby secure more areas where people can go to participate in physical activity.
Forty companies, including BBVA bank, IBM, BP and Peugeot Citroen, representing 150,000 employees, signed up to participate in the six month challenge that includes a solidarity goal of 120,000 hours of physical activity to be met by all participants together. Completing the challenge will result in a donation to the Spanish Heart Foundation, one of our programme partners, to be reinvested in urban architecture to help create healthy spaces in our cities. The initiative has also been endorsed by the Spanish Olympic Committee.
The challenge started on 27 June and during the next six months the participating companies will be able to enjoy various outdoor activities, such as running, cycling, walking, pilates etc. They can use the incorporated digital platform to register their activity in these initiatives - as well as any initiative each company already offers or designs as a complement to the programme. They will also be able to see a ranking of participation by both companies as a whole and individually, incorporating the idea of friendly competition to encourage further participation. Available in this same platform will be a heart calculator that will allow participants to identify their cardiac age at the start and end of the six months with advice on how to improve their profile. Additionally, they will also have the option to compete for free entry to races, sports checkups and dental checkups.
It is becoming increasingly more important for companies to address and promote the health of their employees. At Sanitas we’re proud to be heading this movement, helping our own people to be healthier and happier, and making it easy for others to join us on this journey!