For National Fitness Day, we spoke to Jack Philips, Lead for Staff Physical Health and Wellbeing, about his role, what motivates him and some of his proudest achievements.
What is the main purpose of your role? What does a typical day look like?
My role is to provide exercise, activity and healthy lifestyle inventions to colleagues across our organisation for both physical and mental health purposes. This may come in the form of helping people achieve their activity and physical goals, injury/condition rehabilitation or prevention, social aspects, confidence building, fitness and health maintenance, and general wellbeing. These interventions can be delivered in a number of ways; including face-to-face group work or 1-1 work, as well as online programming and signposting into other services.
A typical day can range from having pre-booked appointments to running gym inductions, as well as catching up with colleagues who pop in to the gym for a coffee/smoothie and may want some health-related advice.
What are your current priorities?
The Staff Health and Wellbeing Team are currently working on an extensive action plan. Within this, my focus will be on physical activity and musculoskeletal health.
After a successful pilot year, primarily based in Exeter, our goal for the next year is to utilise our valuable lessons and expand and enhance our offer across the entire organisation.
What qualifications do you have? What career path have you taken?
There are many different qualifications an exercise professional embarks on, and CPD and training on a regular basis are a crucial part in keeping up to date with developments in the health and fitness industry. However, I think anyone in my field of work or similar would say having an Exercise GP referral qualification gives you the understanding to tailor someone's plan according to medical conditions and co-morbidities.
What are some of the challenges you face?
The need for interventions far outweighs the resource and time I have available at the moment. However, we are being creative in what we offer and hope to have more opportunities across the organisation very soon.
What do you enjoy most about this role?
I love seeing the mental health benefits that physical activity can bring to colleagues’ confidence and self-worth. I enjoy seeing colleagues progress and hearing about how impactful the activity has been in their everyday home and working life.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the impact of our pilot programme. It really has displayed how the organisation’s vision of providing this intervention for colleagues works and the profound effect it can have on individuals for many years to come.
The programme is developing in many different avenues that we did not necessarily envisage when starting out, but these avenues have now become an important part of what we offer. For example, the cost of living crisis impacted many people who use physical activity as a wellbeing tool. Our organisation's commitment to offering this free service to colleagues has become crucial in these challenging times.
What achievement are you most proud of?
There have been many success stories so far, from achieving physical health goals, mental health goals and even helping to save someone’s life after they suffered a cardiac arrest.
I’m also really proud that we have been able to create a real community-feel whilst supporting colleagues. No matter what banding, job role or work location, everyone is coming together for one common goal of feeling better and happier whilst engaging in activity.
What is the best bit of feedback you have received from a patient or service user?
A colleague recently put into words what the programme has done for her for in a testimonial for our intranet. To see how we can affect someone in that way is amazing but also truly inspiring that they are brave enough to share how being active can have such a profound effect on anxiety, panic attacks as well as physical health. It’s not only great feedback, but proof that the culture is changing and people using the service want to help others too which is great.
What do you and your team do to unwind?
Sport! Any sport but predominately football. I also love spending time with my family babies and fur babies.
And finally… how would you sum up your role in one word?