Founder and CEO of health and wellness digital platform LiveSmart, Alex Heaton, started running as a way to keep fit after feeling out of shape in his late 20s.
However, his passion for business and running amalgamated, meaning that Alex drives his love for running through the way he runs his business.
Growing up in Wales and spending 14 years in Yorkshire sparked a love for fitness and the outdoors — I was surrounded by a number of national parks, and this environment helped me to develop a love of running and hiking as a way to relax.
As I reached my late twenties, I started feeling a bit podgy and realised I needed to seriously start integrating running into my every day routine.
I signed up and trained for the Great North Run, which led to me taking part in the Hackney Half and a number of trail runs such as Bewl Water and numerous Endurance Life Coastal Trial Series runs over the years. The best half marathon time I’ve done is 2 hours.
I’ve taken part in the London Marathon and will be running the Lisbon Marathon in October, aiming to better my best marathon time of 4 hours and 25 minutes.
Having run a number of marathons, I think that running a business can be just as challenging. In fact – it’s like running a series of marathons back to back.
Changing company culture
As the founder of a health and wellness platform, the health and wellbeing of my team is a top priority and at LiveSmart we have a number of initiatives to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
I think it’s important for me to lead by example (it keeps me on my toes!) by running to our office, which is based in London. This is a key part of my running routine and keeps me on track.
We actively encourage exercise at work by allowing up to 1.5 hours for exercise at any point in the day and through a regular exercise team challenge.
At LiveSmart we provide health assessments accompanied by tailored health coaching to help employees improve areas of their health and wellbeing.
I like to encourage friendly competition in the LiveSmart office, with teams vying to be ‘top of the board’ through a number of activities, including step challenges, relays and hikes.
We are also part of a running club with other companies in our office building.
As an employer, it’s vital to understand the importance of normalising exercise and appreciate what’s stopping you or your employees from integrating healthy living as a part of work life.
Be committed, be flexible and make it fun – accommodate those with busy lives who want to stay healthy and, importantly, engage those who might otherwise give it a miss.
Alex Heaton is the CEO and Founder of digital health platform LiveSmart. With over 14 years of digital product experience and a degree in Computer Science, Alex is passionate about health tech and how it can help employees in the workplace. LiveSmart looks at all aspects of internal health using blood tests and relate that back to everyday nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices, presenting results using an easy to use dashboard that helps users to understand where their health is today and track progress going forward. Health coaching is also available to help support clients in making changes to their overall health. LiveSmart health coaches help clients set reasonable and achievable monthly objectives that work towards long term goals as well as figuring out personalised strategies for change that fit with and enhance their lifestyle.
Alex is a partner in the SME Work and Wellbeing programme, a collaboration of cross-industry business leaders partnering with AXA PPP healthcare, aiming to support and inform small or developing businesses by showcasing real-world experience and highlighting the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace.