Our last post discussed getting heart smart by understanding and reducing heart disease risk factors. The absence of sufficient physical activity is one of the critical risk factors, not only for heart disease but also for many other chronic debilitating diseases.
Physical activity has numerous immediate benefits for individuals, including improved sleep quality, less anxiety, and reduced blood pressure. Long-term health benefits of physical activity include improved brain, bone, and heart health, lower risk of cancers, weight maintenance, and better balance and coordination.
The benefits of physical activity extend well beyond the individual and into the workplace. More physically active employees tend to have lower healthcare costs, are more productive at work, and have less time off due to illness. The bottom line, physical activity can help create a healthier workforce.
Walking is a relatively low-risk activity most people can start incorporating into their days – both at work and outside of work. Here are four small steps you can take to encourage increased activity at your workplace.
Consider incentives or contests for participation in wellness challenges
Offer resources for individuals wishing to take the first step in starting a walking program
Also, consider implementing an onsite injury prevention and wellness program as a resource for employees to teach micro-breaking, dynamic warm-ups, and other valuable programs to keep employees moving and healthy. For example, adding micro-breaking and pre-shift warm-up programs for your employees have the following potential benefits:
Decrease the risk of injuries
Help joints move through their full range of motion
Enable muscles to work most effectively
Increase blood flow
Improve performance in physical activities
Encouraging and supporting healthy behaviors like physical activity can enhance existing wellness initiatives, and coupled with a comprehensive injury prevention and management program, these actions can strengthen employee well-being.
Small steps can make a big difference in an employee’s life, not just their heart health but overall well-being and how they show up at work. By investing in your employees’ health, everyone wins.