Giving you fun fitness tips for optimum well-being

Fitness for Wellbeing

At Express Medicals we know the importance of keeping fit to improve your overall well-being. In support of #WorkoutsAndWellbeing we’re giving you fitness tips for optimum well-being to make fitness fun and enjoyable.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of exercising

Do what works for you and most of all what you ENJOY. This could be going for a run outside, trying out a new class, playing sport, resistance weight training in the gym or quick and easy home workouts. Enjoyment and convenience are key factors, if the exercise you do is both enjoyable and convenient you are most likely to stick with it.

For example, a home workout is quick and easy. You can play your own music, be completely comfortable and get everything completed in an hour! Sometimes this consistency of training at home can see better results than the gym.  

Remember your body is totally unique

Don’t compare yourself to friends as their body may excel in certain movements and yours will excel in others. You may see others lifting more, squatting more but it’s important not to match them. Focus on what works for you, realise your body is different and concentrate on exercises to improve weaker areas.

Mind muscle connection

It’s incredibly important not to push yourself too hard.  For example, by lifting too much weight could be putting strain on other areas. Therefore, when doing an exercise on your first few repetitions ask yourself whether the muscle you intend to work is doing the majority of the work load. This could lead to you picking up a lighter weight. This will see your weaker muscle groups strengthen and prevent your more dominant muscles taking over.

Perseverance

You may feel silly doing certain movements for the first time, but like anything the more you do it the better you become. For example, running on the spot raising your knees high and punching the air admittedly makes you feel like a bit of a lemon. However, the more you persevere the more comfortable you feel and soon it will become second nature.

Stay motivated

When you are lacking motivation to workout think about the positive endorphin rush you will feel after your exercise. ‘When endorphins are released in the body of a person, he or she experiences a feeling of bliss, a flow of euphoria’ (Holloway, 2019). 

For more information about Express Medical’s range of occupational health services, visit expressmedicals.co.uk

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🧘 Managing stress for a well-being 🧘

Managing stress for a well-being

Connect with those you care about

Ever find yourself saying ‘I didn’t have time’? Perhaps more often than you’d like… We communicate every day with texts, email or social media, but still crave more meaningful connections.

Our first tip is to understand the importance of keeping in touch with your family, spending time with your children and your loved ones. Relationships that you have with your family provides a huge influence on your health including alleviating stress, helping with mental health illness, giving you energy and providing a sense of contentment like no other.

If you surround yourself with support, you can weather the bad times with less stress and add years to your life.


Get outside at every opportunity you can

Our next tip is whenever you can, push yourself to get outside into the fresh air. If the sun is shining take the kids out and go to the park, organise a picnic, visit a National Trust site and go for a walk. We spend lots of time sitting down, so to counter the effects of enforced immobility it’s a great to move around and get outside.

“There’s no question that cognition, and concentration are improved by minimal levels of physical activity,” says Dr Andrew Pipe, chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Walking at a pace where you can have a conversation with someone for 10 or 15 minutes every day can substantially improve your overall level of health.”

Get creative 

It’s time to get creative! Simply engaging in creative behaviours (even trendy colouring in books) improves your brain function, mental health, and physical health.

Did you know that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day? Partaking in a creative act releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant which helps reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

Activities such as drawing, writing, knitting, gardening, DIY and dancing are all included so why not think about a new hobby?

Overwhelmed? Get it down on paper

Writing has been proven to provide calm and order to a highly productive brain. We call it ‘habit stacking’. Simply categorising your to do list can help break down larger tasks and make them manageable. Block out a time each day in your calendar, say 2-3pm and batch tasks together. For example, use this time to go through your emails, or make some phone calls.

Lastly, make sure you play to your strengths – if you are more productive in the mornings use this time wisely to crack on with your priorities.


Focus on you and your concentration

It’s easy to get caught up in your colleagues printing disasters, or to attend that meeting instead of doing that task you said you’d do last week.

Our tip would be to try where possible to alleviate distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. It’ll keep you focused and motivated to keep going. Try and find a fun way of telling colleagues you’re ‘out of office’ and we don’t mean literally! Simple post it stickers with ‘in’ or ‘out’ politely tells your team you’re in the zone, and not to disturb.

SAVE MONEY – STOP SMOKING

FACT: Many people who quit smoking feel in charge, feel more relaxed, have more money and are not as worried about their health.

They look and feel better, their skin looks healthier and they have more energy when they walk, play or do something active. Also they don’t smell of smoke!

Top tips:

Find ways to cope by learning from past attempts.

  • Tell everyone that you are quitting.
  • Join a stop smoking group and ask colleagues if they want to join you.
  • Try the gums/ lozenges/patches available.
  • Place stickers/pictures in places to motivate you.
  • Remember how much money you will save.
  • Congratulate yourself on your achievements.
  • Call the NHS Smokefree Helpline -0300 123 1044. • Fix a definite “quit”date.

Top tips for optimum health and wellbeing

If you’ve not already heard, this week is National Nutrition and Hydration Week. Here at Express Medicals, we aim to provide tips and tricks to keep you at your healthy best.

Did you know that in the UK alone, around 3 million people are at risk of malnutrition? That’s a staggering figure. So in order to prevent malnutrition and dehydration related illnesses and to ensure good health and well-being, we’re giving you advice to keep you tip-top.

What you can do:

  1. First and foremost, don’t skip brekky! Starting your day right with a nutritious breakfast kick-starts your metabolism. Furthermore, there are even studies suggesting it may be linked to weight loss! (ref).
  2. Choose wholegrain high fibre carbohydrates such as the humble porridge. Check here for ways to spruce up your morning oats. 
  3. Variety is the spice of life – taste the rainbow and add multiple colours to your diet such as a Buddha salad bowl – find a delicious recipe here
  4. Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day.
  5. Fish of the day – try to eat at least two portions of fish each week, preferably at least one oily fish such as mackerel or salmon. Lastly, make sure it’s sustainably sourced!
  6. Cut down on your saturates and on salt –  Check nutrition labels for high fats and sugars and keep salt intake less than 6g per day.
  7. Keep active to maintain a healthy weight. Whether that’s taking a walk in your lunch-break, taking up a sport hobby or heading to the gym, it all contributes to that daily step count.

Last but not least, it is essential to drink water throughout your day. Aim to drink about 8-10 glasses or 1-2 litres if you’re drinking from a bottle.  Getting your daily dosage has been proven to increase brain power and boost your energy levels.  It promotes healthy weight management, flushes out toxins, improves your complexion, boosts your immune system and prevents pesky headaches.

Source: British Nutrition Foundation

Need advice or help with your sleep/shift patterns?


We’re here to help: it’s our dream job.

If your job involves shift work, you’re likely to need some extra help or advice on how to maintain the right amount of sleep to keep you healthy at home, and safe at work.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to some of the largest industrial accidents in recent memory, including the Three Mile Island nuclear accident (4am); Chernobyl (1.30am); the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Our medical teams often face a range of questions from candidates who are new to, or struggling with, shift patterns. Dr Dan Hegarty deals with some common concerns, here, to help you make the right decisions.

We’ve all sat next to someone who’s fallen asleep on the train – how often have you wondered whether they were going to or coming back from work, or why they’re so tired, and what effect that will have on their performance or their colleagues’ safety?

‘Sleep issues have never been more important since sleep deprivation causes a whole range of health issues, from increased weight gain, to lack of concentration through to a number of mental health conditions. We’re working harder for longer hours – and there have never been more distractions to keep us awake.

We don’t just sleep in our bedrooms any more. In addition we watch TV, eat, browse on electronic devices – not exactly conducive to a calm, relaxing night’s rest.

So what can we do to help ourselves regain balance and ensure we wake up ready for the day, instead of planning when we can get back under the duvet?


What we know

Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours sleep a night, although this amount decreases with age. And, obviously, it can be harder to sleep in the daytime than at night, because it’s brighter and there are more noisy distractions.

If you’re trying to find a suitable sleep pattern that works for you, those you live with and those you work with, it can be helpful to keep a sleep diary, so you can work out when it’s best for you personally to get quality sleep. Once you’ve found that ideal pattern, try to stick to it. This pattern might include the following:


Creating a restful place to sleep

  • Sleep in a designated part of the house and make sure it’s dark, cool and comfortable
  • Ensure it’s as quiet as possible. If there is outside noise, or you’re trying to sleep while others are awake, either ask them to keep noise to a minimum (nicely, it’s not always possible) or invest in some earplugs
  • Use heavy curtains or blackout blinds to keep the room as dark as possible.


The right frame of mind

  • Go for a walk, listen to music or read a book before you go to sleep – get into a routine because it helps your body know what’s coming next
  • Don’t use electronic devices as the blue light they emit can affect the quality of your sleep
  • Avoid caffeine or energy drinks since these are highly stimulating to help a good night’s rest
  • Avoid alcohol as it lowers the quality of sleep


Other hygiene factors

  • Regular exercise can help you reach a deeper sleep. However, make sure it’s not too close to bedtime (within two hours) as that can make it harder to fall asleep
  • Try not to take your worries to bed since internal stimuli will affect your ability to get to sleep. Hardly anyone can voluntarily make themselves fall asleep instantly. If you have concerns, make a list and an action plan to deal with them, however, leave the list in a different room to confront yourself with when you wake up with a rested mind. Worrying, when you can’t do anything about it results in destructiveness to your physical and mental health.

If you’d like further information or sleep advice or want to find out more about our shift workers’ medical, contact our commercial team on 0207 500 6900.

Chinese New Year


Ever wonder why Chinese zodiacs are animals?

The legend goes that the Jade Emperor ordered all the animals that inhabited the Earth to congratulate him on his birthday on January the 9th one year. 

He made a rule that all animals would run across a river, and each animal’s position in the zodiac would be set by its place in the race.

The rat had to stop by the river owing to the swift current. Having waited for a long time, the rat saw the ox crossing the river, so he swiftly jumped into the ox’s ear.

The kind-hearted ox did not mind at all and kept on crossing the river. After crossing it, he ran towards the palace of the Jade Emperor.

Suddenly, the rat jumped out of the ox’s ear and rushed to the feet of the Jade Emperor; therefore he won the first place, followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.


Which Zodiac are you?


Year of the Rat

Born in: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Personality of the Rat

People born in the Year of the Rat are instinctive, acute and alert in nature, according to Chinese zodiac analysis. This makes them brilliant business people since they can always react properly before the worst circumstances take place. They are also sophisticated and popular in social interaction. They are sanguine and very adaptable, being popular with others.


Year of the Ox

Born in: 1913, 1925,1937,1949,1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Personality of the Ox

The Ox is huge and is often used to indicate something big in size or number. People with this sign bear persistent, simple, honest and straightforward characteristics. They are leaders with strong faith and strong devotion to work.


Year of the Tiger

Born in: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

Personality of the Tiger

In most cases they are powerful, independent, confident and brave. In their middle age their fate may be uneven, but after hardships they will enjoy a bright prospect. They are also likely to be dogmatic and like showing off when accomplishing something.


Year of the Rabbit

Born in:1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Personality of the Rabbit

Rabbits usually impress others with an image of tenderness, grace and sensitivity. They are romantic in relationships, they avoid arguing with others and can convert an enemy into a friend.


Year of the Dragon

Born in: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Personality of the Dragon

They are usually a group of people who are lively, intellectual and excitable. They can clearly tell right from wrong. They are upright and frank. However, they are also a bit arrogant and impatient. Female Dragons tend to be overly confident. They hate hypocrisy, gossip and slander.


Year of the Snake

Born in: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025

Personality of the Snake

Usually people regard Snakes as a cunning and sly animal, which likes hanging out in darkness. In fact, this animal is also a symbol of wisdom and wit. People with this sign are calm, sensitive and humorous, and most of them are gifted in literature and art.


Year of the Horse

Born in: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Personality of the Horse

They always impress upon people their dynamic, zealous and generous image. Although endowed with many shinning points, they have to face weaknesses in their characteristics.


Year of the Goat

Born in: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027,

Personality of the Goat

People born in the Year of the Goat are tender, polite, clever and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously. In their daily life they try to be economical.


Year of the Monkey

Born in: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028

Personality of the Monkey

The general image of Monkeys is of always being smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life.


Year of the Rooster

Born in: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

Personality of the Rooster

People born in the Year of Rooster have many excellent characteristics, such as being honest, bright, communicative and ambitious. Most of them are born pretty or handsome, and prefer to dress up. In daily life they seldom rely on others.


Year of the Dog

Born in: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

Personality of the Dog

People born in the Year of the Dog are usually independent, sincere, loyal and decisive according to Chinese zodiac analysis. They are not afraid of difficulties in daily life. These shining characteristics make them have harmonious relationships with the people around them.


Year of the Pig

Born in: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Personality of the Pig

People with this zodiac sign are considerate, responsible, independent and optimistic. They always show generosity and endure other people’s mistakes, which help them gain harmonious relationships. However, sometimes they behave lazy.


Why Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year?

The UK traditional uses the ‘Gregorian’ calendar which always starts in 1st January.

The Chinese follow the lunar new year, which is when there is the start of a new moon.


Wishes from Hayley Lancefield (née Lau)

According to the Chinese astrology, 2019 year of the pig is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest. Therefore, I wish you all a very healthy and prosperous year.

What is the point of Point-of-Care Testing?

Point-of-care tests [PoCTs] are a rapid, simple way to screen for drugs.

They are ideal for use at the workplace, allowing employers to obtain results within a few minutes. In the meantime you can focus on deciding whether staff members should continue working or should be stood down.

How does it work?

PoCTs are straightforward to administer on-site by members of your own staff, working as trained collectors with no medical background. Express Medicals is expert at providing training to collectors, and giving you peace of mind about the quality of the results. We can train your staff onsite, offer you advice and help at one of our 15 clinics nationwide.

With PoCT kits, a rapid negative result means that the individual can go back to work, with minimal disruption to your business.

In the event of a positive / non-negative result however, the individual can be stood down while a further sample is sent to the laboratory for further confirmation. [This is referred to as legally defensible chain of custody testing].

Why work with us?

Express Medicals supplies reputable proprietary kits that can be securely stored at your site. Our company can help you review or draft drug & alcohol policies. Our Customer Support team is always on hand if you have any queries. We can train your staff in the use of PoCTs and run both training courses for collectors or educational seminars for supervisors and senior management.

Furthermore, we have built up a vast experience of occupational drug & alcohol testing in the past 22 years and have developed effective processes to pass on this information to you and your staff.

We can supply you with PoCTs for use by your own collectors. Alternatively, we can supply our experienced collectors to carry out both point-of-care testing or the collection of samples, where appropriate. All our medical staff are up-to-date with the latest practices in the field of occupational drug testing.

For information and advice about both PoCTs [Point-of-Care Testing] and laboratory testing, please contact our Commercial Team on 020 7500 6900.

We look forward to helping you soon.

Guaranteeing Your Chain of Custody

At Express Medicals, we know that the integrity of the chain of custody process is crucial. We have worked closely with Eurofins, one of the leading forensic labs, for many years now. At no time has there ever been an investigation regarding incorrect results being issued.

Eurofins Scientific is one of the global independent market leaders in certain testing and laboratory services for genomics, discovery pharmacology and forensics. Furthermore, the company provides advanced material sciences and supporting clinical studies.
In addition, Eurofins is a key emerging players in specialty clinical diagnostic testing in Europe and the USA. With over 45,000 staff in more than 650 laboratories across 45 countries, Eurofins offers a portfolio of over 150,000 analytical methods. These evaluate safety, identity, composition, authenticity, origin and purity of biological products. The Group objective is to provide its customers with high-quality services and innovative clinical diagnostics. Lastly, Eurofins is world-known for its accurate results as well as expert advice by its highly qualified staff.

DIY SOS by Hayley Lancefield

I was given the opportunity to go to a DIY SOS site with one of our occupational health technicians. We provided quick health checks to everyone who was interested in volunteering.

I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t too sure if anyone wanted to know their blood pressure reading, or what their glucose or cholesterol levels were. However, while we were still setting up people showed immediate interest. One of the presenters, Julian Perryman, came up and said: “It’s good that you have come onsite today as someone felt faint yesterday”.

After setting up he was the first to get a quick health check. Following him, people of all ages lined up since they never had their blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels taken. There were also a few people who were on blood pressure tablets. It was important for them to get the reassurance that their medication was working. Otherwise they would have needed to wait more than three weeks for a GP appointments.

Many of our patients were curious about their results and what they could do to get better readings. We saw about 50 people in total and Nick Knowles, another presenter, came for a health check towards the end. He spent some time with us and discussed the importance of people understanding the meaning of their results.

That day, I experienced a great community atmosphere and it was nice to see everyone interested and engaged in a good cause.

 

The Life of a New Account Manager at Express Medicals by Joe Richardson

My first month at Express Medicals

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the interview process I was still quite apprehensive to start my new role as an account manager at Express Medicals. As naturally, the human mind is always a little cautious to the ‘unknown’.

However, my apprehension was soon swept aside when our Commercial Manager Rory Evans welcomed me into the business. We sat down, had a coffee and a general chit-chat. He told me that there was no pressure and that I should feel comfortable to develop at my own pace and enjoy the learning process. This immediately made me feel at ease.

Rory then took me around the business and introduced me to the different departments. After meeting everyone I knew that this is very much a peoples company, where everyone is genuine and gets on well as a team.

During my first month here I’ve worked closely with the senior account managers Harvey and Hayley, who have been extremely helpful. I learned a lot from them in a short time. Furthermore, I always felt comfortable asking questions however silly they might be. I made the experience that they would always go out of their way to help.

My first success at Express Medicals

I’ve been given responsibility from the outset taking over a number of accounts within my first month. I have recently set up and attended my first client meeting and it was a great experience. To be involved in a client meeting and to gain insight into what kind of questions clients may have before signing a contract was amazing. Rory assisted me with the client’s questions and together we successfully gained some new business.

There are little quirks at this workplace that make it very special.

For example, our CEO Dan Hegarty makes it his business to walk around to all the departments and check up on all members of staff. From previous experience, it is usually the staff chasing the manager or CEO around the building to get a minute of their time. At Express Medicals it is different – this gives all employees a real sense of value and transparency throughout the business.
Furthermore, the company offers fruit and snack weeks, giving us the opportunity to order our favourite fruits or snacks. In the Sales and Marketing department we enjoy ‘foursies’ where we take a break from work at four o’clock to indulge in healthy snacks. This fosters teamwork and gives us energy to continue the day.

New ways of working

As a Sales Consultant and coming from a fast-paced, competitive sales environment it was refreshing coming into a relaxed but professional atmosphere. At Express Medicals, all departments work together to ensure the best results. In addition, it is clear to see the management has complete faith and trust in their employees. Overall, all staff can manage their own time.

Everyone made me feel welcome and I look forward to growing within Express Medicals!