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Does joint effort improve health prospects?

Working in a team has many advantages, you can share ideas, you can collaborate with like minded people, you can learn things and you can achieve more. The same could apply then for improving our health. Could it be that working together with friends, colleagues and family members to improve our health be the answer to self motivation and longevity?

Many of us would like to eat and live more healthily but this can be difficult to achieve with all the temptations of everyday life. Chocolate biscuits, ice cream vans and cafes round every corner can certainly prove tempting. But when you make a sort of ‘pact’ with co-workers or close friends, to all eat more healthily, the temptation to stay on course can often outweigh the quick need for a sweet boost.

Establish a common goal

You should aim for a common goal when working with others. Many choose something like ‘eat all five of my five a day.’ Eating fruit and veg may seem easy, but actually not many people achieve the full five fruits and veg a day. Everyone in your group should agree to work towards this. It may be easier for some than others, because we are all of course different people that will find challenges in different aims. Find your level within this goal and work towards that (e.g. I can’t manage to eat 5 a day right now, but I’ll aim for 3 for the next 3 months.)

Motivate each other

If you’re at work, make sure you motivate each other throughout the day. It can really help you all to stay on track. Perhaps you could compare snacks for your morning break, encouraging you to make something that will impress people. A healthy low-fat flapjack with raisons and cranberries, perhaps. Remember you can’t force people to be involved, and don’t make people feel bad for not achieving the goal to your standard – but you can inspire people and se positive, affirming language.

Get your boss involved

A study conducted by fruit delivery company Fruitful Office found that 87% of staff would rather be employed by a company that offers health and well-being support, so why not encourage your manager or employer to join in too? You could negotiate a longer lunch for a gym session, a walk-to-work initiative, a Fruit Friday where all staff bring in some form of fruit, and so on.

Measure your success

It is important that as a team, you measure how well you’ve done. Perhaps print a tick chart that tracks how many fruit and veg you’ve had that week. Other people may want to measure how much weight they have shed – although living a healthier life doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight.

Use online help

There is so much help online that can be of benefit to your group goals. Take this post from the BHF, which looks into 20 ways to get your 5 a day. Number 12 is a good idea – have a salad day – a dedicated lunchtime where everyone has a salad. This salad doesn’t have to be plain and boring either. There are plenty of recipes online to get your mouth watering!

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