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“I am Team GB”

21st August 2019

We’re just a year away from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and so “I am Team GB” this month is a great health and wellbeing opportunity for employers to channel the Olympic spirit – and the legacy of London 2012 – as a way of inspiring employees to get out and engage in local sporting activities and exercise.

Employee health and wellbeing – channel the Olympic spirit this summer

Saturday 24 August this month is “I am Team GB” day, the national health and wellbeing event run by Team GB and car firm Toyota to get as many people as possible active in their communities.

The aim of the event is to get people inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes, whether at London 2012, Rio 2016 or next summer at Tokyo 2020 (which will take place from 24 July-9 August), and take part in “I am Team GB” events and activities taking place up and down the country.

Individuals can sign up to become I am Team GB “Games Makers” or you can simply search for local events in your area.

These could be anything from something as simple as a walk in the country through to a rugby tournament through to kayaking.

Encouraging less sedentary lives

The key, as Team GB make clear, is about getting people up and active and less sedentary. As its website puts it: “If it gets you moving, it counts! We want as many different activities as possible on the Nation’s Biggest Sports Day, so that everyone in the community can get involved and be encouraged to live healthier lives.”

And this, of course, is one reason why this is potentially a great initiative to be embracing as an employer, as it feeds into the health and wellbeing benefits of encouraging employees to become less sedentary during their working day, their commute and in their home and personal lives.

The health dangers of overly sedentary lives have been well-documented and are increasingly well-recognised, everything from cardiovascular issues through to obesity and diabetes, certain cancers through to stress, anxiety and depression.

Team and individual bonding and fun

Engaging with and getting involved in an event such as I am Team GB is not, of course, in itself going to be a solution to what is a complex, societal challenge but, as Optima Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Lucy Wright highlights, it can send out a powerful message.

“First, it is simply about encouraging and enabling employees to become more active. But, second, promoting an event such as this can be valuable in terms of bringing individuals and teams together and having a great experience. And, third, it can of course simply be great fun.

“While Tokyo 2020 may still be a year away, the memories of the inspiring summer of 2012 and achievements of Team GB both at the London Olympics and Paralympics and then at Rio in 2016 remain strong for many people.

“This is therefore a great initiative for employers to and promote within their organisations as well as having the potential to complement your existing exercise and health promotion messages and activities,” she adds.