Rotterdam, 17 November 2017 – Prevention is better than cure. Rotterdam City Council is therefore taking active steps to keep its employees fit and healthy. One such example is the Winter Health Event on Thursday 16 November, where 400 civil servants received a ‘Health MOT’ on the 22nd floor of De Rotterdam.
Many people only change their lifestyle once they become ill, whereas a healthy lifestyle can prevent a lot of problems. Performing a preventive health check helps employees to become more aware of their own fitness, which might help them to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle. And so, more than 400 employees of the City Council let themselves be tested in De Rotterdam last Thursday.
Abigail Norville, HRM director for Rotterdam CIty Council: “Fitness is a very important theme within Rotterdam City Council. One example is the mobile phone. It symbolises our modern way of working. Staying away from your smartphone can save you a lot of stress. As far as I am concerned, the city council should no longer send its employees messages outside of office hours.”
The event was deliberately held in the middle of ‘Work Stress Week’. Besides keeping its employees fit, Rotterdam City Council wants to reduce stress among its employees. Numerous workshops and lectures were therefore provided to help employees do so, including the very first ‘binaural beats’ workshop in the Netherlands. During this special form of meditation, two tones of slightly different pitch are played via a headset into the left and right ear, as a result of which the brain makes a third tone and the listener completely relaxes. At the IZA, almost 100 people did a body scan and more than 1000 employees received instructions on how to set up their workplace, computer screen, chair and desk height. This can prevent back complaints, for example.
Physical exercise remains one of the best ways to remain fit and reduce stress. So during the Health Event, many sports activities were offered, including a spinning marathon and a stair-walking marathon. Additionally, a fundraiser was held for the Dutch Heart Foundation. Participants could also do a mobility check with Olympic athlete Patrick van Luijk.
“It was a very accessible event. Most people will only pay their GP a visit when something is wrong. Not this time. That made is such a good initiative. You really do have a role to play in your own health. Of course, everybody remains responsible for themselves”, says Merel van Gruijthuijsen, an employee of Rotterdam City Council and a participant at the Winter Health Event.
Many companies from the Rotterdam area helped organise the day, including Erasmus MC, GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond, VGZ, Omnigen, Omega Wave, Reflaxme, VITA16, Biocheck, Sense Health, Balans, Blockbusters, The organizing Firm, Waai, Zitwerk and Eurest. The Winter Health Event was co-conceived and organised by Rotterdam City Council in collaboration with Health Events and with support from EIT Health.
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At Health Events, we base our activities on the concept of positive health: health is not the presence or absence of illness but people’s ability to tackle physical, emotional and social life challenges and to manage their own health as much as possible. Health and quality of life play a leading role. It is important to invest in the development of personal health skills, so that citizens can better manage their own lives and make healthier choices. During the health events, we collect health data from the participants (only with their consent, of course). This is a highly innovative approach because we involve the participants in the Health data research into chronic illnesses. The inhabitants of Rotterdam and the health researchers jointly define the health problems and develop the solutions needed for a healthier and fitter life.