If you didn’t already know, February is National Heart Month, the British Heart Foundation’s annual awareness and fundraising campaign. The heart is arguably the most important organ in our bodies and therefore looking after it by getting regular exercise and healthy eating is very important.
Today the supermarkets are full of processed foods containing high quantities of saturated fats and sugars. Many people are falling short of the Government’s recommended 30 minutes of moderate cardio vascular exercise (e.g. running, swimming, cycling) three to five times per week. Poor diets and inactive lifestyles mean that today more than 20% of adults are classified as clinically obese.
It is well known that obesity is linked to increased risk of heart disease.
Employers can take steps to encourage their employees to have a healthy lifestyle. For example, you could:
- provide healthier meals in your workplace canteen;
- encourage your workers to take a walk at lunchtime;
- set up a cycle to work scheme;
- subsidise gym membership;
- provide onsite exercise classes during lunchtime or before or after work;
- encourage your workers to use the stairs instead of the lift; or
- provide healthy snacks such as fruit in meetings.
Heart problems are not the only health problems linked to a poor diet and lack of exercise, employees who are overweight are prone to back and sleeping problems. These can result in fatigue and loss of dexterity which in turn can lead to workplace accidents and sickness absence. There is clearly a real business case for employers to promote a healthy lifestyle. Why not participate in the final week of National Heart Month to help your workforce progress to a healthier way of life?
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