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Lee McConnell encourages workforce to get Fit in '14

Sport and physical activity
With Physical Activity Awareness Week upon us (April 21 - 27), Scottish athlete Lee McConnell led Harper MacLeod staff in a workplace ‘workout’ today to shake off an overindulgent Easter weekend and encourage Scotland’s workforce to get more active.

The triple Olympian pledged her support to PAAW, part of the nationwide Scottish Government’s legacy campaign Fit in ’14. This was launched earlier this year to encourage staff in Scotland’s workplaces to incorporate physical activity into their day to day routines.

PAAW aims to highlight the range of ways that people can be more active, whilst raising awareness of the wider health benefits physical activity can provide. With just 150 minutes of physical activity per week leading to a happier, healthier and more productive workforce, organisations of all sizes across Scotland are being encouraged to get involved in Fit in ’14.

Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister Shona Robison said:

“With just under 100 days to go until the Commonwealth Games, Physical Activity Awareness Week has been launched to inspire Scots to get active in 2014.

“It is well known that regular activity provides a great range of health benefits, and both PAAW and the wider Fit in ’14 campaign aims to highlight the small and simple measures employers and employees alike can make to create a more physically active workforce.

“The Scottish Government is committed to making Scotland more active, and encourages organisations throughout the country to use PAAW as a springboard to help us create a lasting legacy and healthier nation.”

Scottish law firm Harper MacLeod recently pledged its support to Fit in ’14, and will work with the programme to develop a simple plan to encourage its 300 plus staff across its four offices to increase levels of physical activity.  Lee McConnell today visited staff at the Glasgow office to provide tips and advice on how to incorporate this physical activity into their working day.

Lee commented:

“Having been an athlete for many years I am well aware of the countless benefits of being physically active, however it doesn’t need to involve running a marathon to make a difference. As a working mum I know how difficult it can be to fit exercise into daily life, which is why I think Fit in ’14 is a great campaign to get the nation motivated.

“If people can see real benefits from increasing their physical activity during the working day, it really will make a positive step in the right direction to getting the nation healthier.  2014 is set to be a year of outstanding sporting activity in Scotland and it’s the perfect opportunity to be inspired and make changes to your life, and I am delighted to support Fit in ’14.”

Rona Cargill, HR Director at Harper Macleod LLP, said: "The health and wellbeing of everyone at Harper Macleod is of paramount importance to us as a firm and we have long promoted health and physical activity in the workplace.

"As Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, this incredible year of sport in Scotland is at the forefront of our minds and the Fit In ’14 campaign perfectly complements our existing and planned initiatives. It’s a great illustration of how making even the smallest changes to increase physical activity levels, whether travelling to or within the workplace, can make a big difference to your overall fitness.

"The campaign gives some great, practical examples of what can be done and we are sure it will provide even more inspiration for Team HM to get Fit In ’14."

The focus of Fit in ’14 is the small steps that people can take, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, or going for a walk during lunch break to increase their levels of physical activity.

What better way to shake off an overindulgent Easter weekend than with a workplace workout?  Here are some top tips from Lee McConnell for getting more active this week:

  • Walk to work, or get off the bus two stops early
  • Go for a 15 minute walk during your lunch break
  • Do ten minutes of chairobics or stretches at your desk
  • Do arm curls at your desk holding bottles of water
  • Go for a walk in the evening after work – make the most of the lighter nights
  • If your workplace has gym facilities or a swimming pool nearby make use of  them before or after work, or during your lunch break
  • Join a lunch time fitness class
  • Take a Sunday stroll with family or friends
  • Stand rather than sit during your daily commute

The long-term outcome of PAAW, alongside Fit in ’14, will be a more physically active Scottish workforce - working towards reducing sick days, workplace injuries and work-related illness.

For regular PAAW updates join Fit in ’14 on Facebook or follow Fit in ’14 on Twitter @fitin14scot, use the hashtags #fitin14scot and #physactweek