Bendigo Health staff Walk the Block

BENDIGO Health is stepping up the pace as part of its healthy communities vision.

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder, along with other directors, led staff on walks this week as part of the Victoria Walks' Walk the Block.

The initiative aims to combat physical inactivity and to create happier, healthier workplaces.

Research shows seven out of 10 workers are getting less than 30 minutes moderate exercise every day.

Physical inactivity can have negative effects on workplace productivity, absenteeism, morale and turnover.

Bendigo Health executive director of people and culture Andrea Noonan said taking just 15 minutes a day to walk the block could make a huge difference.

"We promote the benefits of being active - it improves your concentration, improves your posture, it improves your performance at work and then that flows into your life outside of work," she said.

"The recommendations are that if you're in a sedentary role, so someone who sits at a computer all day, it's recommended at the very least you should be standing up every 15 minutes and that might be as simple as going to fill up your water bottle.

"We've certainly promoted that and it's our way of increasing people's physical activity, particularly for our workforce that are sitting at desks and not particularly  active.

"Our clinical staff, our nurses and those sorts of people are generally fairly active anyway but our workforce is quite diverse.

"We have people who barely sit down at all but then we certainly have a cohort of people who are at their desks and don't have the opportunity to move around as much."

"So Walk the Block was probably really targeted at that particular part of our workforce."

Ms Noonan said it was a fun team building exercise.

"We mapped out a range of one kilometre walks around the campus and promoted it with all staff, encouraging them to participate throughout the day," she said.

"We named all the walks and my particular team had some marching music.

"We tried to have a fun aspect as well because we know that people who are happy in their workplace and enjoy interacting with their colleagues are retained longer and are happier employees.

"We promote the benefits of being active - it improves your concentration, improves your posture, it improves your performance at work and then that flows into your life outside of work."

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