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Cardiff and Vale UHB launches free online fitness sessions for staff

Julie Davis Deputy chief operating officer of national institution of health research, Sultan + 4 entrance ED Promoting exercise app designed by Julie Davis for members of staff

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has become the first health board in Wales to sign up to a new initiative that gives NHS staff access to free fitness sessions.

The health board has joined #DoingOurBit, an online platform containing a selection of free fitness sessionss exclusively for NHS employees.

#DoingOurBit started as a passion project for keyworker Julie Davis, who works as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Clinical Research Network West Midlands.  An amateur powerlifter currently training to be a personal trainer, Julie advocates exercise for physical and mental wellbeing. As the physical and emotional impact of treating Covid-19 patients took its toll on her colleagues, she set about sourcing some free workouts and relaxation sessions to help her colleagues cope.

Julie turned to training provider Study Active and its awarding organisation Active IQ and they, in turn, introduced fibodo to host her ambitious idea.

“I was simply overwhelmed by the quick and positive reaction I had for my idea with everyone giving their time and expertise immediately and freely,” says Julie “The #DoingOurBit platform looks amazing and the choice of workouts is fantastic: I am so grateful to everyone involved who brought my vision to life.”

Sessions available on the platform, which is being provided collaboratively between leading fitness providers, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and the Clinical Research Network West Midlands, have been recorded by a group of personal trainers who want to give back to the NHS.

The workouts have been personalised to the NHS with sessions suitable for beginners and fitness fanatics alike. All have passed rigorous quality control processes to ensure they are both safe and effective for participants.

Nicky Bevan, Head of Health and Wellbeing Services at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges that the NHS has faced in its history, and has certainly been an extremely challenging time for our staff.

“As NHS employees, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to focus on our own wellbeing as we begin to look forward, so that we remain fit, well and able to continue looking after those in our care.

“I’d like to thank Julie, Active IQ, Study Active, fibodo and the PTs who are behind #DoingOurBit for creating this fantastic resource and making it accessible and free of charge for staff across the NHS. I’m sure that employees here at Cardiff and Vale will find the short, effective sessions to be of great benefit without eating too much into their valuable time.”

The introduction of #DoingOurBit at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board feeds into the wider Move More Eat Well programme, which encourages people across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to make positive lifestyle changes and improve their health and wellbeing.

Delivered by a collection of partners in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, the movement aims to create an environment where physical activity and healthy food choices are the easiest choices for people to make.

Executive Director of Public Health for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Fiona Kinghorn said: “I am delighted that the health board has become the first in Wales to sign up to the #DoingOurBit initiative.

“Here in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan we are encouraging and supporting individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles by moving more and eating well. That philosophy applies equally to our own staff in the health board, and the #DoingOurBit initiative fits the bill perfectly in terms of encouraging our staff to be more active.

Leading personal training provider Study Active, its awarding organisation Active IQ, and sports, leisure and lifestyle platform, fibodo collaborated to provide the platform and its exercise sessions free of charge to staff.

Members of staff can sign up to #DoingOurBit using their NHS email address, via the StaffConnect app, staff intranet or in Len’s regular CEO Connects blog. If you are unable to access any of these channels, please contact your line manager.