Wellness Guru: Andy Magill, Corporate Wellness Coach
January 24, 2017
This weeks Wellness Guru is Andy Magill, a Wellness Coach for Vitality Health Insurance. Andy started out his career as a Physiotherapist and worked in both the U.K., Australia and New Zealand in this role, before Vitality beckoned.
Andy’s expertise in physiotherapy is complimented by his passion about health and wellbeing, taking a particular interest in running and triathlon. When he's not out on the running track, he assists in implementation of health and wellbeing strategies to some of the largest companies in the world with Vitality. He is a oracle of information when it comes to Wellness, so we asked him to share his top tips with you this week.
1. Tell us about yourself Andy, and how you got to be where you are today?
After spending eight years as a physiotherapist, the last four in Australia treating people of different ages and abilities, including professional athletes, I felt it was time to come back to the UK and try something different. I knew I wanted to continue helping people improve their health and wellbeing and that’s when I saw the wellness role at Vitality, the health and life insurer.
Vitality’s core purpose is to make people healthier, so it was a natural fit for me. Vitality helps people to get healthier by encouraging them to incorporate physical activity and other positive behaviours into their existing routines and then rewards them for doing so.
2. Tell us how you spend your average working day?
Where I have changed career from physiotherapist to Vitality’s Wellness Coach, my working habits have also changed. Previously, I used to be on my feet all day, whereas now I’m often in and out of meetings. To keep my activity levels up I try to fit exercise into my routine – running to and from work, going for jogs during lunch and I’m also planning to start-up cycling again too.
We all lead busy lives, so fitting in exercise can be difficult. That’s why Vitality encourages people to make small changes that can be incorporated into existing routines. Taking small steps to more healthy behaviour can have a profound effect on later life, whether it’s getting off the bus a stop early, or walking the dog an extra 10 minutes a day. It’s also important to eat healthily. During the week I try to eat a lot of lean foods, such as chicken and turkey, and I tend to stick to fruit for snacks. I also try my best to avoid pastries and fried food. I do reward myself with a Friday evening treat such as a pizza though, as it’s about striking a balance.
3. What inspires you?
I always tell myself and my clients that if you look after yourself today, then you’ll be in better shape tomorrow. I’ve worked with lots of inspirational people throughout my career, as both a physiotherapist and as a Vitality Wellness Coach, but what really inspires me is helping others change their behaviour to lead a longer, happier and healthier life. I am able to do this through my role and really see the benefits. For example, within a year of introducing the Active Rewards benefit to Vitality members, 34% of people who previously earned no physical active points were earning these points in order to receive the rewards.
4. What’s your goal in life?
I have several goals. My personal goal is to run a three hour marathon. I’m also currently training for a triathlon. My work goal is to become a champion for Vitality, and help even more people get healthier, not just our members but the businesses we work with as well. The Vitality Healthy Workplace programme allows me to do this. Vitality Healthy Workplace is an initiative designed to inspire, motivate, and reward employees to lead healthier lives. We have also just released the latest data from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, which is the UK’s largest workplace wellness survey, and we are working hard to further develop services to help companies improve the health and wellbeing offer to their employees. It’s a fact that healthier employees are more productive employees. Overall, my main goal in life is be healthy, to be able to enjoy a wide range of activities with few limitations, and to do these activities with friends, family, professionally and competitively.
5. What does wellness mean to you?
The definition of wellness is very subjective. Wellness is about taking care of yourself, both in terms of exercising and nutrition. Setting achievable and attainable goals that can increase over time will help towards leading a happier and healthy life.
6. What advice would you give to a person looking to transform their life habits?
One piece of advice I would give is that small changes on a daily basis will soon add up. Seeing it as a journey rather than doing everything in one go will also help with measuring progress. It’s important to recognise success and remember that you don’t have to be a marathon runner to be active, but you can be an everyday athlete instead. These small, incremental changes can be as simple as reaching for an apple rather than sweets, or walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift, but they can have a profound impact on long term health. Our research shows that just 150 minutes of exercise a week can increase a person’s life expectancy by more than three years.
7. Got any nifty health-hacks for us?
One of the most powerful interventions people can do is place fruit and healthy snacks in a convenient place so you have it to hand. Another important tip is to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Sleep is a big driver in preventing anxiety and recovering from exercise, and it helps you perform at your best every day. Sleep enables us to recharge and be more resilient to deal with the stresses of everyday life.
8. Tell us your Top 3 Tips for Wellness
My top three tips would be:
Stick to a goal and be realistic – break it down into lots of little steps as this will help you to monitor your activity as well as encourage you to do more.
Exercise with a friend – you can encourage and motivate each other. Team sports can also be a competitive driver to exercise.
Celebrate progress – as you strive towards a goal allow time to reflect on progress made to date. This will motivate you for the journey ahead.
9 So what’s next in your career/life?
In addition to achieving my goal of running a marathon in three hours, I want to continue trying to make people healthier and happier.