Regardless of your stage in life, heart disease is a real threat to the overall health of you and your employees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 600,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year, which is 25% of all deaths per year. And in Canada, more than 1.4 million individuals have heart disease, and 33,600 die from it every year. Though some factors of heart-related illnesses, like age and family history, are unavoidable, others can be subdued with the right treatments. The Mayo Clinic includes the following preventable causes for developing heart disease: poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, stress, and smoking, among others.
With so many people being affected by this serious issue, we here at Refresh Leadership wanted to give our readers a few quick tips to get your heart healthy and help ensure you encourage your office to have a culture of activity and wellness.
Countless articles have been written about the benefits of a healthy diet. And even more have been written about fad diets. Eating programs like Atkin’s, South Beach Diet, vegan, gluten-free, juice diets, and more can leave a person who is looking for diet advice overwhelmed. At the end of the day, it may be simpler than that. The CDC defines a healthy diet as low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. To ensure your team has healthy options for lunch and snacks throughout the day, consider having a pantry with fresh fruit, low-carb treats, and non-perishable meal items. You can use the money raised from the food sold to simply fund the pantry or to donate to a local charity. People may be more inclined to trade the candy bar for an apple if they know it’s going to a great cause.
Take Stress Breaks
Stress is not just harmful to the success of your team, but also your ticker. And, it’s effects are far reaching. According to the American Psychological Association and the American Institute of Stress, 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress. The same report surveyed the top cause of stress, and it comes as no surprise that the number one cause is job pressure. More directly, the factors include co-worker tension, bosses, and work overload. It is vital to take breaks from work by getting out of the office. The CDC suggests taking three brisk 10-minute walks a day, five days a week. Take a walking break in the morning and one in the afternoon to decompress and let the stress of work remain at your desk. Another way to reduce stress is through meditation or prayer. Find what works best for you and encourage your team to do so as well.
It’s no secret that exercise is a key contributor to maintaining a healthy lifestyle; however, many individuals live as though it were a secret. A report administered by the CDC found that 60% of people don’t participate in the recommended amount of physical activity—and 25% aren’t active at all. One of the main issues individuals have with exercising is that they don’t have the time. But, the CDC states individuals only need 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week to maintain a healthy weight. If you can’t exercise during your lunch break or after work, consider waking up 30 minutes earlier during the week to jog or workout. Or better yet, grab some friends and play a sport. You’ll have fun and not even notice you’re exercising. To encourage exercise at work, consider starting an aerobics or sports club. Not only will your team get healthier in the process, but they’ll build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
Encourage Heart Health
We spend nearly a quarter of our week at the office with co-workers. It’s important to not just focus on your own health, but to also encourage your team to be more diligent when it comes to healthy living. Not only do heart issues like stress affect your company, but they can also affect some of the people you care most about. Develop a culture of wellness at your company. Your team’s heart health may just depend on it!
How do you maintain a healthy heart? What do you do to encourage heart wellness at your company? Let us know in the comments section below!