Blog 1

I'm into week three of the Healthy UCD Steps Challenge. First, the good news...I've noticed an increase in my weekly steps. The not so good news is that I'm up against some serious competition within my team (lagging towards the bottom of the table in a team of six people won't win me any awards!!). The Steps Challenge really increases your awareness about how active (or inactive!) you are over the course of any given day. I've noticed so far that Sunday's are particularly bad for me. My big focus in the next few weeks when watching my kids playing football and hockey matches on Sunday mornings in the rain, will be to start walking up and down the sidelines. Some people might think I've lost it but at least I'll be building my steps!

One of my guilty pleasures are crisps and I decided to go along to the lunchtime seminar on 'Smart Eating' to see whether I could include them as part of my work-diet balance! These seminars are beign organised as part of Healthy UCD Challenge over the next three weeks. An added bonus is that those attending can log 5,000 extra steps for that day.

Assoc. Prof. Clare Corish helped separate some myths from facts about what is heathy eating. So, coconut oil is not a healthier alternative to olive oil. And there is so concrete evidence that gluten causes or is attributable to any health condition except Coeliac disease. Surprisingly for me, Clare also told us that there is no evidence of a difference in nutirent quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.

It was great to hear from Clare that healthy eating is about having a balanced diet and she reminded us about the food pyramid- lots of useful tips and recipes available on the Safe Food website. We were also reminded by Calre about the importance of taking regualr breaks and to start the day, always have breakfast.

So, what about the crisps then? Hmmm, I think it's time to switch to healthy snack alternatives!!

Rory Carey, Director of Culture and Engagemnt HR

Blog 2

Patricia provided UCD staff with an informative overview of the work of the Health Safety Authority (HSA) and its dealings with work-related stress. She helped the audience become more aware of stressors in work, and how the employer has a duty of care to ensure procedures are put in place to help prevent stress in the workplace, where possible. She gave some interesting examples of where the employer was and was not responsible for the employee becoming stressed. A point I found interesting was that the term ‘personal injury’ includes damage to your mental health. The talk allowed me to become more aware of the importance of mental distress in the workplace, and how to notice whether my own employers act in my interest to protect my own mental health whilst at work. I was previously unaware of the extent of the work of the HSA, which now gives me peace of mind for future employment.

I have very much enjoyed taking part in the UCD Step Challenge. The challenge has really increased my awareness of how little I walk every day. I drive to work, and sit at my desk all day. Since taking part in the step challenge, I have become more aware of my sedentary lifestyle and have been going for walks around campus a few times a day, which has had a positive effect on the quality of my work. My steps have been closer to (and often exceeded) the recommended 10,000 steps per day. I have also really enjoyed the organised lunchtime walks, which I try attend as much as possible. I never knew how beautiful the woodland walk was before! The competitive aspect of the challenge has also been enjoyable, and I have noticed great engagement by the staff in our department. I think the challenge would be a great initiative to roll out each year and I would gladly participate again.

Lauren Power, Research Assistant, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science