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3/7/2013
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British Programmers Told To Fight Pudge

Corporate wellness program challenges IT pros to get more active as part of a national project to improve fitness of U.K. workforce.

U.K. IT professionals might not exactly be paragons of health and fitness, but do their pasty faces and expanding waistlines really need outside help?

British corporate health and wellness provider iGlobalWellness thinks so. The group is set to launch a comprehensive evaluation of the health and wellness levels of the U.K.'s IT workforce.

What's driving the initiative? A growing number of medical studies warn that highly sedentary jobs -- like manning a help desk or cranking out Python code in all-night deadline-busting sessions -- are basically great ways to shorten your life.

[ London mayor seeks to integrate technology, encourage entrepreneurship. Read more at London Aims To Be World's 'Smartest' City. ]

Whether this program will help improve the IT industry's fitness level is yet to be seen. But programmers who haven't seen the inside of a gym since "Eye Of The Tiger" was leading the charts shouldn't feel picked on. The scheme is part of a wider plan to survey all employment sectors in the British economy, with the goal of mapping the current health position of each industry and helping the entire 29-million-strong U.K. workforce improve its overall health and well-being.

"We believe that the time is ripe for this evaluation into the U.K.'s workforce and that exciting, informative and valuable data will be gathered as a result," said iGlobalWellness chief executive Russell Tomlin.

Hence the IT Sector Stay Active Challenge, in which IT staffers are invited to challenge themselves against others in their industry by improving their daily activity levels as much as possible. The competition will generate a wellness scale, unique to each sector, that allows employees to measure their own health and wellness in the context of their industry. The information gathered from this project and from the full nationwide initiative will provide a valuable pool of data on the health, wellness, activity and fitness levels of an extensive range of industry sectors, according to iGlobalWellness.

Intended exclusively for the IT sector, the IT Sector Stay Active Challenge allows companies to enjoy friendly competitions against each other. Teams of five can enter to go head-to-heard for 11 weeks. Challenges commence monthly, and companies enter at their preferred time.

Here's the hard part: participants are challenged to increase their daily activity levels to achieve the rank of most active organization in their industry. The company with the biggest activity increase will win, with winners from all sectors in the initiative announced at the end of the year.

Sound daunting? iGlobalWellness pointed out that any activity -- big or small -- counts in the Stay Active Challenge, so you can walk the dog, do the gardening, jog on your lunch hour, play football, cycle to work, run a marathon or go sky-diving. (Mounting 36-hour Killzone Deathmatches doesn't, alas, seem to be on the list.)

To collect the data, entrants will need to wear a wireless activity monitor that measures speed, intensity of movement, calorie burn and metabolic information. They will also get support from a personal wellness coach, including nutrition and dietary advice and regular ideas and tips on how to get active and stay active. Not only will the individual participant benefit, but employers will see the benefits of healthier, more productive and motivated employees.

The next challenge is scheduled to start at the end of March.

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John Foley
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John Foley,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 11:35:25 PM
re: British Programmers Told To Fight Pudge
Wait a minute, are you saying that if I walk the dog, that counts not just as exercise, but as competitive exercise? Seriously, I think it's a good idea to call attention to the need for tech professionals to stay active and healthy. I have calculated that if I climb five flights of stairs each work day, which I do, that equates to hoofing it the Empire State Building once a month. In London would that be the Shard? I guess I'm saying that you can fight pudge by climbing the Shard, as weird as that may sound.
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