If anyone understands the need to stay fit, healthy and at the top of his game, it’s World Cup referee Howard Webb.
So before jetting off to Brazil for the demanding job of overseeing matches in this month’s tournament, Howard dropped in at Sheffield Hallam University to visit a new workplace wellbeing programme which provides support and advice to NHS staff.
The programme aims to help workers become more physically active, reduce their blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and cope better under pressure.
Activities provided in the sessions include wellbeing checks, an exertion test, healthy eating tips and motivational advice.
Howard, who was been training for the World Cup with Hallam’s sport science staff, said: “Referees need to be in top physical and mental form to get the best results out of the teams playing, with stamina, physical fitness and mental resilience vital for tackling the challenges that lie ahead.
“I’m delighted to be supporting this programme which is already playing a crucial role in ensuring NHS staff stay at the very top of their game.”
The scheme is run by the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, in partnership with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.
Staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been taking part after an initial pilot ‘significantly improved’ fitness levels among 70 per cent of workers.
Dr Dawn Lawson, the network’s chief operating officer, said: “Focusing resources on improving staff health and wellbeing at individual level through tailored programmes such as these is essential if we are to meet the demands the NHS faces in the future.
“The programme is also extremely cost-effective, with initial analysis suggesting employers could save £3 for every £1 spent on the programme.”