Improving wellbeing for Olympic performance!

As members of the Ingenuity network will know, one of our key aims is to make University of Nottingham research accessible to the local business community. Our latest breakfast event welcomed Dr Holly Blake, Associate Professor in Behavioural Science to share her research on health and wellbeing. It was also our pleasure to welcome Dr Tim Brabants MBE, an alumnus of the University, to share his own personal experiences of the importance of health and wellbeing in his career as an elite athlete as well as a medical doctor.

Holly provided an insight into the impact of poor health and wellbeing in the workplace exploring how both absenteeism and presenteeism can be incredibly damaging to a business. She shared an overview of a study undertaken with staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust called Q-active. Q-active included initiatives in physical and mental wellbeing for the Trust’s staff, for example, encouraging colleagues to go for walks at lunchtime, pedometer challenges and mindfulness sessions. The impact on staff wellbeing was significant – so much so that the Trust decided to continue the initiative on a long-term basis. Whilst the examples Holly shared were trialled in an NHS setting, many of them could easily be implemented in a small business. As Holly pointed out, a lot of the time it’s about the leader of a business giving their staff the liberty to adopt healthy behaviours by proactively endorsing those behaviours – and modelling them yourself.


Tim then took to the floor to talk about his sporting journey. Tim was studying to be a doctor at the University of Nottingham when his canoeing career started to take off. He re-worked his university schedule to fit around training and games, winning a Bronze medal in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, after which he took a break from competing to further his career as a doctor. He later returned to the sport full time, winning Gold in 2008 at the Beijing Olympic games. Tim highlighted the importance of body and mind working together for optimal performance, sharing a number of transferable skills he learnt throughout his journey: team work, work ethic, communication, motivation. He advocated taking personal responsibility for your health and wellbeing and that whilst a top-down approach is important, the individual must also be accountable for their own behaviours and decisions.

Delegates praised the session for “offering the opportunity to reflect”, being “inspiring and insightful” and “a thought provoking morning”.

Our next breakfast event will take place on Tuesday 22nd January 2019 and will be on theme of ‘Standing Out While Fitting In’. Don’t miss out, sign up here!