Employees shy away from exercise. Blush-proof ideas for corporate sporting events

Friday, October 22nd, 20101 Comment

One in three UK workers is too shy to get sweaty in front of colleagues according to a British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey. The BHF study, which looked at UK workplace exercise trends, revealed that over half of UK workers are desk-bound for most of the day with nearly 50 per cent eating lunch at their desks. According to the findings 81 per cent of UK workers fail to get the recommended amount of exercise a week.

With the UK government predicting that 36 per cent of men and 28 per cent of woman will be obese in five years, what’s the answer? The BHF survey suggests the workplace is the perfect location for keeping fit and active, with half of UK workers admitting they won’t travel more than 10 minutes from work or home to exercise.

Lisa Purcell, project manager for the BHF’s Health at Work Programme says: ‘Embarrassment shouldn’t prevent people from being healthy at work. You don’t have to don a lycra leotard to get fit and healthy, the payoffs from even simple changes like taking a walk at lunchtime are too great to ignore. Getting healthy during the working day means you are less stressed and better motivated.

‘Bosses need to understand there’s a massive return on investment here. Simple measures to improve the health of your workforce – like swapping tea-break biscuits for fruit, or getting the team together for a lunchtime kickaround in the car park – can improve productivity, reduce staff turnover, and mean fewer sick days.

‘We are calling on businesses to take their employee’s health and wellbeing seriously, and start reaping the rewards,’ she said.

The BHF Health at Work programme, sponsored by Legal & General, has already signed up more than 800 organisations. Employees from bin men to bank tellers are finding there’s no need for blushes when they’re all in it together.

Apprentice star

Claire Young has lost four stone since appearing on the BBC’s Apprentice. She says: ‘All companies need a fit workforce – a healthy mind is a productive mind. The more employers look after their staff, the better they will perform. It’s a great way to ensure a happier and healthier workplace.’

Five corporate sporting events for shy employees

1. Paintball. No need to worry about getting sweaty in front of work colleagues when playing paintball: the protective clothing will hide your blushes and save your face. If you want to fire your work colleagues into action, click here.

2. Karting. Karting is another sport where the more retiring office worker can hide behind the crash helmet and the overalls. Put your foot down and get your colleagues away from the desk for some exercise. It may be sitting down, but the blood is pumping. More and more offices have having their Christmas parties on the track. Check it out here

3. Clay pigeon shooting. Here’s a sport that’s more swanky than sweaty. Green wellies, tweeds, picnics, oh and there’s also the shooting. Clay pigeon shooting is the perfect mix of social and sporting for lots of work colleagues. Take a shot at it, click here.

4. Segway. Segway racing is a popular corporate event that doesn’t have to embarrass anyone. With the average British office worker spending so much time chained to their desks, a whirl in the countryside maybe just be what the doctor ordered. To take a ride, click here.

5. High Ropes. Tree walking is a corporate sporting event that is rising in popularity. And just like Tarzan and Jane, it is possible to still look cool, although the loin cloth is optional. To book, click here.

Karters in fight out for Formula One finish

Saturday, October 16th, 20102 Comments

Two drivers with strong links to go-karting look set to fight out the 2010 Formula One championship. Spanish driver and twice winner Fernando Alonso is in a head-to-head with Australia’s Mark Webber, with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton – another junior karter – just off the pace.

Just like motor racing legend Ayrton Senna, Alonso’s father José Luis made a kart for his elder sister when she was eight, but the three-year-old Fernando Alonso showed more enthusiasm for the sport than his sister Lorena. (The above clip shows Alonso returning to karts for his local crowd in Oviedo in northern Spain, where he was born.)

Alonso’s rival Aussie racer Mark Webber was later into karting, taking it up aged 14, and winning the New South Wales championship in 1993. But Red Bull racer Webber recently returned to the karting track. He was at the Karting circuit in Milton Keynes to support fellow driver Chris Van Der Drift.

New Zealand’s Chris van der Drift was injured at the beginning of August racing in the Superleague Formula at Brands Hatch but his insurance did not cover his medical bills. The karting fundraiser was held at Milton Keynes’ go-kart circuit. ‘We’re like one big family in motor racing and if one of us finds ourselves in times of hardship then the rest of us rally round,’ Webber said.

If you want to try karting – with or without the promise of a future career in Formula One – click here.

Flintoff kicks off extreme sports show

Friday, October 15th, 20102 Comments

Recently retired England cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is leaving the whites behind and making a new extreme sports series for ITV4. Which other celebrities have taken their career into extreme sports? Here’s our top five extreme sport celebs.

1. Jackie Chan. As you would expect from a martial arts legend, Jackie Chan wasted no time getting into extreme sports. In his 1991 film Armour of God II: Operation Condor – shown above – in which he starred and directed, the opening sequence sees Jackie in a zorb. The zorbing season has rolled to a stop, but to try another activity click here.

2. James Cracknell OBE. The former Olympic gold medallist is the ultimate extreme sports adventurer. After rowing to gold in Athens, he’s been a full-time, full-on action man. He rowed the Atlantic with fellow celebrity Ben Fogle for Children in Need, was knocked out by a New Zealand boxer, attempted the Norwegian polar explorer Amundsen’s Omega3 South Pole Race and competed in the 2008 European Triathlon Championships for GB. In April 2010 James became the highest placed Briton ever in the 25-year history of the Marathon Des Sables – a six day marathon across the Sahara desert. In August, he was involved in a horror cycling accident in the US, in which he fractured his skull but is, hopefully, on the road to recovery.

3. Eddie Izzard. Stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard is an unlikely convert to the world of extreme sports. In the summer of 2009, after a couple of weeks’ training, the transvestite comedian decided to do seven weeks of back-to-back marathons for Sports Relief. In all he ran 43 marathons in 51 days, keeping fans posted about his progress on his blog Eddie Iz Running. He received a special award on BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in 2009.

4. Steve McQueen. With a dad who was a stunt pilot for a flying circus, it’s maybe not surprising that movie legend Steve McQueen was drawn to extreme speeds. In his day job in Bullitt, McQueen shot one of film’s most famous car chases and off-screen he was a real-life racer, driving motorcycles, and cars both on and off-road. On-screen, of course, he’s famed for jumping fences on motor bikes in the Great Escape. If you want to try a range of McQueen’s favourite motor sports, click here.

5. Sir Jackie Stewart. Three times winning Formula One racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart went from one extreme sport to another activity. Not content with becoming perhaps the UK’s greatest ever racing driver, he represented his country at clay pigeon shooting too and now runs a clay pigeon shooting school at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. If you want to try clay pigeon shooting, near to where you live, just click here.

How to turn a midlife crisis into an adrenalin boost

Thursday, October 14th, 20102 Comments

A new report by Relate suggests the midlife crisis is hitting earlier and harder. Ouch! The survey of over 2,000 adults reveals one in five 35 to 44 year-olds feel lonely or has suffered depression. This follows on the back of a report in 2008 by the European Centre that indicated happiness dips between the ages of 40 and 49. So is midlife in crisis and how can this age group bounce back? Adrenamag got the views of professionals as well as extreme sports enthusiasts who believe they have the recipe for a midlife adrenalin boost.

Claire Tyler, CEO of Relate, commented on the report’s findings: ‘It’s when life gets really hard – you’re starting a family, pressure at work can be immense and increasingly money worries can be crippling. We cannot afford to sit back and watch this happen.’
midlife crisis woman
Lisa is a professional woman in her early 40s with two children, is she happy? ‘Yes. I believe it is important to have time for yourself. Of course my priority is the family, but I make time for exercise because it makes me feel good, and renews my energy.’
Tristia Clarke of TalkTalk, who were partners in the survey, said: ‘People in their late 30s and early 40s are a time-poor generation. Long hours at work means they have less time to spend face-to-face with friends and family.’

Robert, a 49-year-old engineer, agrees: ‘I think you need to retain a balance, after a bad day at work I like to do something different. Then I can come back refreshed.’ Robert’s colleague Peter, 48, who works in IT, thinks friends are an important part of happiness. ‘I enjoy active sports with friends, the banter, the competition, are all part of the fun.’
kite surfing
Relate’sreport says that 27 per cent of people feel lonely a lot of the time. Robert believes this is an easy trap to fall into. ‘I know for me it is an effort sometimes to join friends but I think it’s worth it.’  Ben, who together with a group of friends, has recently cycled the length of the country to raise money for charity, said: ‘I feel a bit of a fraud because although we have raised a good sum for charity, I have personally got a lot out of it. It was great fun and really boosted my self esteem.’

So what’s the secret of midlife happiness? ‘Balance,’ says Lisa. ‘Health, fun and challenge,’ believes Robert. ‘For me it’s having something that recharges my batteries. That can be friends or exercise. Whatever turns you on, really,’ says Ben.

If you want to try a range of adrenalin activities with friends, which may or may not tackle a pending midlife crisis click here.