Opinions

Using a fun approach to promote health and wellbeing can deliver measurable success.

Written by: Bill McGowan, Founder, Fun and Fit Bike

Published: 16/03/2020

Using a fun learning method to improve stakeholder awareness, attitude and behaviour around health and wellbeing.

The forthcoming Nutrition and Hydration Week (16th – 22nd March 2020) provides the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland members with a great opportunity to reinforce to their stakeholders the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

With its fun-approach, the campaign is compelling. I say this, with conviction, as the founder of a social enterprise business that successfully uses a fun learning method to improve stakeholder awareness, attitude and behaviour around health and wellbeing. 

The traditional approach to health promotion tends to communicate data-centric information and recommendations on lifestyle behaviour. That is, of course, appropriate, but having seen many bland campaigns delivered to uninspired and unreceptive audiences I have always believed there must be a better way to impart and impact the key messages.

In 2018, I launched a social enterprise to help people of all ages improve their health and wellbeing – in a fun way!

Fun and Fit Bike provides truly unique fun learning experiences to people of all ages and abilities using a custom-built exercise bike that delivers a host of pedal-powered activities – most notably the making of fresh fruit juices, smoothies and shakes in the bike’s food blender attachment! Check out some photos and videos of the bike in action (this link will take you away from our website). Your colleagues, clients, volunteers, and communities can learn the importance of a healthier lifestyle while having great fun enjoying a safe exercising cycle ride. Young and old can make pedal-powered healthy drinks, undertake Tour-de-France style performance trials, learn about renewable energy by building and illuminating lightboxes and charging mobile phones, and experiencing Virtual Reality cycle rides on the world’s best bike trails. The stationary bike concept and the adaptions we have made enable people with disabilities to enjoy the experience too – and we recently embarked on a programme for dementia patients to enjoy a safe Virtual Reality cycle ride in the streets around their home.

Even something as simple as improving attitude to hydration can be done with great impact when a bit of fun is applied. Take the first image attached below for example, to maximise the impact of the message, use a vacuumed-packed sponge to illustrate a dehydrated brain – and how that would impede performance – then unpack the sponge and drop in a bowl of water to illustrate the corresponding benefit of hydration!

A fun approach can most definitely deliver measurable improvement in stakeholder awareness, attitude and behaviour to health and wellbeing. A simple pre and post-learning experience survey with stakeholders will normally evidence it. The questionnaire survey used by Fun and Fit Bike regularly provides clients with evidence of improvement – something they value highly.

Recently, the Fun and Fit Bike programme was further enhanced to give stakeholders the opportunity to assess their health and wellbeing in more depth and create an improvement action plan through self-measurement and comparison of their Body Mass Index (BMI), Blood Pressure (BP), Hydration, Weight and Waist, and mental health against NHS recommended indices. This has proved popular with organisations for ensuring staff health and wellbeing. A synopsis of the enhanced programme (this link will take you away from our website) and the full slide deck used (this link will take you away from our website) are available to view online.

Taking a fun approach to imparting key messages around health and wellbeing can deliver tangible benefits to both your organisation and stakeholder community. From the personal health improvements listed below to a more productive organisation capable of delivering increasingly successful outcomes for stakeholders, everyone will benefit.

Indeed, The 2019 Global Happiness and Well-Being Policy Report, produced by the Global Happiness Council (GHC) (this link will take you away from our website) reports that there is a positive correlation between employee well being and productivity. There is also a growing evidence base of this being a causal effect, with recent experimental evidence suggesting that a meaningful increase in well being yields, on average, an increase in productivity of about 10%.

When planning your stakeholder health and wellbeing strategy, think of all the times you have undertaken a fun activity and how memorable it proved to be.

For further information on Fun and Fit Bike please download the brochure (this link will take you away from our website).

 

 

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