How ASICS earned a rightful place in health and well-being conversations

By Natasha Weeks, Executive Director, Consumer Health

Virgo Health’s Natasha Weeks, discusses how the recent ASICS Mind Games campaign earned a rightful place in health and well-being conversations.

Sometimes we have a hunch. We know the likely outcome. But how do we ensure meaningful data is behind those headline-grabbing stats? Today, ASICS launched Mind Games: The Experiment. We all know that exercise is good for our mental health, but could it improve the mental performance of even the brightest minds?  

To bring this concept to life, we could have easily asked an expert or commissioned a survey. But would that earn a place in the global health and wellbeing conversation? Not anymore. In order to generate an evidence-based consumer story, we blended Virgo Health’s informed healthcare expertise with Golin’s powerhouse consumer team to help ASICS co-ordinate a global experiment in partnership with renowned researcher in movement and mind, Professor Dr Brendon Stubbs

Targeting inactive competitor gamers, specialising in mind games from Chess to Esports, we recruited 77 people who rely on their cognitive function from across 22 countries and matched them up with personal trainers. We put them on a training programme designed by runner turned international coach, Andrew Kastor, including medium impact cardio and strength training. The gamers gradually increased their exercise levels to 150 minutes per week and Professor Stubbs measured the mental improvement of the participants based on their performance in their mind games, cognitive tests and wellbeing questionnaires over the course of a four-month research period. The results showed vast improvement in their cognitive functioning, including concentration levels and problem-solving abilities.

So, could exercise be the key to boosting brain power ASICS? Pass me my trainers. 

Virgo London launches gender neutral family leave, plus women’s health policies

By Rebecca Hall, Group HR Director 

It’s no secret that women’s careers are impacted by starting a family, but there are many areas of women’s health and women’s lives that can contribute to a lack of career equity. That’s why today I’m pleased to announce Golin London and Virgo Health’s enhanced gender-neutral, family friendly leave, as well as our newly-updated women’s health policies.  

The comprehensive new programme of policies focusses on supporting women’s wellbeing through key life moments, tackling taboos, as well as to helping mothers and fathers to build a more equitable share of the care as they start their path as a family.  All policies were carefully developed in consultation with stakeholders from across the business, including our DEI Director and our employee relationship groups for working mothers and the LGBTQIA+ community.


Our new gender-neutral policy on family friendly leave enables parents to benefit from two options for leave, depending on whether you are the primary or secondary caregiver. This policy is inclusive of whether the child may be yours or your partner’s child, adopted, or a surrogate child. We are also enhancing our family friendly pay up to six months full pay for our employees who are primary caregivers, regardless of gender, and 6 weeks paid leave for secondary careers. We’ve mirrored this in our Shared Parental Leave pay. 

We also updated our women’s health policies to empower our people to ask for the help they need in key life stages or if affected by women’s health conditions. One in 10 women live with difficult and painful symptoms from endometriosis, 1 in 4 women have left jobs due to feeling unwell due to menopause, and many women don’t feel supported or able to talk up in the workplace about difficult life moments around fertility, pregnancy loss and gynaecological health. Our suite of menopause, fertility, period and pregnancy loss policies, alongside our new partnership with The Eve Appeal which focuses on gynaecological health, aim to help build greater awareness and support for women’s health in the workplace.  


Our first new policy focuses on giving those experiencing the menopause the help and time they need to look after themselves, as well as knowledge and education for colleagues and line managers to ensure we collectively know how best to support each other.  The policy includes ten additional days paid leave for anyone experiencing the menopause, or for those supporting a friend or family member experiencing it.  


We are also introducing a menstruation policy to assist employees suffering from symptoms, or those with conditions such as Endometriosis, Dysmenorrhea, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) to name a few. We recognise that this can really impact our employees and our policy allows employees to take up to ten additional days paid leave to take some time out to focus on their wellbeing.  


We are also introducing a fertility policy, offering those going through fertility treatment, or supporting someone going through treatment, ten additional days paid leave. This is alongside a policy offering support and additional time, for anyone tragically impacted by pregnancy or baby loss.   


Through our partnership with the Eve Appeal, we also commit to being flexible and understanding, to breaking the taboos that exist around gynae health and creating a workplace that encourages women to attend life-saving screening appointments. To ensure we are raising awareness and guiding colleagues and line managers in how to support each other, each new policy will be accompanied by specific line management toolkits as well as workshops and webinars for employees.