Ever wondered what those excess pounds are doing to your joints and general health’ People working at O2 Bury have been given a chance to find out by trying on a bodysuit which gives them an idea of how it feels to carry just one extra stone.

The body-suit exercise is part of the Health and Wellbeing programme at O2’s Dumers Lane site to encourage people to improve their health and fitness and gain a better work/life balance.

On site health checks are being offered plus activities and events organised by five new Health and Wellbeing advocates, The advocates have volunteered to raise awareness and persuade colleagues to take greater care of themselves, physically and mentally. They include PA Linda Bentley, who says the bodysuits are just one of a whole range of tactics to give people a ‘wake-up call’.

‘People can’t believe what a difference it makes. It really makes them think about what being overweight can do to you body and health,’ says Linda.

She, along with the other advocates, can offer access to devices to measure for factors such as blood pressure, body mass index and urine. Details can then be fed into an on-line programme to check their results and monitor their progress. The internal Health & Wellbeing website also offers support in giving up smoking and coping with stress.

Backing the project is Bury Head of Site, Saj Umarji, who himself plays football every week. He feels the programme will make a big difference to the working day.

‘It is all about helping people bring some balance back into their lives in a supportive, positive environment which encourages people to take positive steps towards better health. We want staff to have a good work-life balance and integrate health and well-being into our culture,’ he said.

‘It is important to have relaxing areas at work where our people can unwind, be pampered and keep fit and these are being provided. We’ve taken ideas suggested by our people and have created an environment that allows them to have access to equipment such as massage chairs, Nintendo Wiis with big screens and Wii Fit.’

The facilities are available in the new Health and Wellbeing area, decorated in relaxing colours and with comfortable furnishings like bean bags. Treatments like pedicures and manicures are also on offer on site.

Those who need counselling for personal problems get funding for a number of sessions.There is also an on-line information site where people are encouraged to find out about combating stress, sleeping better, eating healthily and the benefits of different types of physical exercise.

Advocate Linda Bentley said there had been a really good uptake from people of all ages. ‘Some who have been nervous about going to their GP have done so after doing checks and realising they are not as healthy as they should be. Some smokers who have wanted to quit for a long time have found that having a clinic on site has given them that extra push they needed.’

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