– Exercising before or after work can be challenging during the winter months due to lack of sunlight, motivation levels and safety concerns
– Four in five (80%) RED January 2023 participants noticed an improvement in their mental wellbeing as a result of exercising throughout January
– Getting the nation’s workforce physically active could benefit the UK economy by up to £17bn a year, according to the Global Health and Fitness Alliance
– Annual public health initiative RED January is calling on UK businesses to follow partner Decathlon’s lead and encourage movement breaks during the working day to better support employee mental wellbeing
Annual public health campaign, RED January is calling on UK businesses to follow the example of their partner Decathlon UK, by encouraging regular movement breaks throughout the working day to support employee mental wellbeing during the winter months and beyond.
Exercising before or after work can be difficult during the winter months, with the lack of daylight seriously affecting not only motivation levels, but also the ability to get outside to exercise safely. The solution was simple for RED January’s partner Decathlon UK this year; encourage employees to take movement breaks during the working day to better support their mental and physical wellbeing.
To celebrate this year’s RED January campaign, Decathlon introduced ‘movement breaks’ for all 1,655 employees across the country following an employee survey* finding that two thirds (61%) of employees believed that having time in their day to move would significantly improve their mental wellbeing during one of the most difficult months of the year.
Following the success of the workplace initiative and off the back a recent report** finding that getting the nation’s workforce physically active could benefit the UK economy by up to £17bn a year, annual public health campaign RED January is now calling on all businesses to introduce movement breaks to help transform the mental wellbeing of UK workers.
Hannah Beecham, Founder of RED January said: “The health and wellbeing of employees is one of the most valuable assets a business can have, which is why we urge businesses to take the lead from our incredible partners Decathlon UK and implement daily movement breaks to support employees through the winter months. The last few years have been really tough for so many, with the cost-of-living crisis and near constant negative news cycle, which is why supporting people a little more through the toughest months of the year has never been more important. If this can have an impact during the toughest winter months, imagine the benefits it can continue to bring people for the rest of the year!”
Delphine Mazillier, Decathlon UK’s Head of CSR said the impact of regular movement breaks has been profound for employee wellbeing.
“At a time of year that is traditionally very challenging for morale and motivation, the benefits of encouraging our teammates the flexibility to take 30 minutes out during their day to ‘move for their minds’ have been amazing. Employers are in a unique position to positively influence change that encourages and enables employees to be more active during the day and we urge other businesses to join us in supporting their wellbeing throughout winter and beyond.”
RED January surveyed 1,438 of this year’s REDers*** to understand the impact being more active has had on their mental health and found that almost 80% of participants noticed an improvement in their mental wellbeing as a result of exercising throughout January. Furthermore, over a third (35%) of RED January participants said that workplace movement breaks were one of the most important changes their employer could make.
RED January is also backed by Dr Brendon Stubbs, one of the world’s leading researchers in movement and mental health, who said: “The research speaks for itself, movement is a fantastic, and often free, way to help maintain and improve our mental health. It has a multi-system effect on our body and sparks new connections, lighting up key areas of the brain that help with emotional processing. There is evidence to show that not all movement is equal though – for example, getting outside to exercise produces more positive effects on our mental health as opposed to moving indoors. Which is why I support RED January in their mission to get businesses to implement movement breaks for employees during the darker winter months.”
RED January is a nationwide, annual public health movement that has inspired thousands of people to embrace regular physical activity during the winter to support their own mental wellbeing and has already raised over £3 million for mental health and movement projects around the UK.