Be Active - healthy communities

Why Promote the Be Active Message?

It’s good to be active: for our health and our social and mental wellbeing.

The problem is, Australian adults aren’t getting enough beneficial daily physical activity. In fact, only 47% of South Australian adults meet the recommended activity levels of 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days.

Longer working hours and increasingly sedentary work practices and hobbies have made it hard for most people to meet the recommended activity levels.

What’s more, we’re also sitting for longer, which is also bad for our health.

How do we Help Employees to be Active?

The workplace is a great place to build opportunities for and encourage staff to be more active and less sedentary in their working day and beyond.

Ideas to get You Started

Healthy vision

  • Support the creation of a physical activity policy, including elements around activity, active transport and preventing workplace sedentary practices.
  • Create opportunities for flexi-time or time in lieu for training/physical activity, with management and embed within relevant OHS&W policies.
  • Include information about access to physical activity opportunities (local and onsite) in staff induction materials.

Healthy places

  • Conduct a mapping exercise of local opportunities for physical activity, including parks, gyms, sports clubs and opening times. Consider workplace ability to form teams for team sports or its own league.
  • Encourage the use of stairs and walkways with signage and promotion within internal communication channels

Healthy people

  • Organise ‘come and try session(s)’ or a guest speaker Q&A session with an accredited personal trainer or exercise physiologist. 
  • Provide information and promotional materials about the benefits of activity and regular movement and local opportunities via communication and media channels e.g. newsletters, CEO memos, noticeboards and lunchrooms.
  • Organise a corporate rate for local gym or swimming pool.
    Map local public transport options and promote them to staff. Also consider options to subsidise public transport fares for those choosing this means of travel.

Building on Your Program

Healthy places

  • Create friendly stairwells and walking loops. Consider work site staff teams ‘sponsoring’ a stairwell/track, decorating and therefore promoting its use.
  • Create a dedicated exercise space. Consider the budget required to provide exercise equipment, TV and DVD player with fitness DVDs, or a stretching space.
  • Promote regular walking including:

    • Lunch time walking
    • Groups or walking team challenges,
    • Heart Foundation walking groups
    • Provision of pedometers.
  • Hold cycling information sessions about defensive cycling strategies, cycling road rules and bicycle maintenance.
  • Provide access to showers, change rooms, locker facilities where possible, or offer alternatives if these facilities are not within scope of your workplace.
  • Create bike storage space to encourage active transport to and from work.
  • Provide onsite physical activity classes (e.g. yoga, Pilates) after discussing with staff their ideal class type and preferred times/days.
  • Co-ordinate an 8, 10 or 12-week physical activity challenge, focused on individual goals to increase levels of physical activity.

Healthy people

  • Take part in the ‘be active Corporate Cup’, informing participants of training opportunities (consider time in lieu arrangements).

Ideas for Preventing Sedentary Practices Within the Workplace

Healthy vision

  • Place the topic of creating a non-sedentary workplace on planning committees and staff-related meeting agendas.
  • Support and promote regular stretch and walk breaks for delivery and transport employees, account for this time in delivery schedules.

Healthy places

  • When purchasing new office equipment consider the purchase of  height-adjustable desks so employees are able to work standing or sitting.
  • Provide computer software with pop up messages or disabling mechanisms that support regular breaks and actively encourage breaks with posters and within newsletters.
  • Set up print stations, bins, lunchrooms and other facilities away from work stations.

Healthy people

  • Encourage stretch breaks, standing and walking within meetings and work training sessions.
  • Support and promote regular stretch and walk breaks for delivery and transport employees, account for this time in delivery schedules.
  • Audit the amount of sitting time that employees are participating in to give you a starting point for improvement.

Support and Resources for Helping Employees to be Active

There are a number of places you can go for more information and support on this topic, as well as ways to help employees be more active. Download ‘Strategies to promote physical activity in the Workplace Guide: what to do and where to find support’ (PDF 325KB).