Workplace Wellness

by Liggy Webb

Exercise and nutrition

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. These are diseases of the heart and blood vessels that can cause heart attacks and stroke. That is the bad news. The good news is that, in most cases, they are preventable. Apart from a few genetically–inherited cases, there is nothing natural about dying from a heart attack.

The greatest wealth is health.

Virgil

After cardiovascular disease and cancer, diabetes is the third largest killer and this is directly attributable to obesity, diet and lifestyle. Our current eating patterns are not making us any healthier.

There is no getting away from the fact that if you are overweight, you will feel tired and lethargic, suffer from digestive problems and have aching joints, because your body has to take the strain of the extra load.

Understanding ourselves and what works best for us is the first step to better health and personal performance. There are, however, some key aspects of exercise and nutrition that are fundamental to all of us.

Exercise

There really is no way around it: the lack of physical activity is probably the greatest reason why obesity figures are rising. You need to increase your physical activity if you want to lose weight. However, exercise is also good for your all-round health and wellbeing. People who exercise regularly are likely to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. In fact, studies have shown that being physically unfit is just as dangerous as smoking in terms of lowering life expectancy.

Regular exercise also improves mental and emotional health. The chemicals and hormones that are released in the brain through exercise can help deal with stress and promote happiness.

The benefits of exercise

  • It reduces the risk of premature death.
  • It reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
  • It reduces high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • It reduces high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol.
  • It reduces the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer.
  • It reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • It reduces or maintains body weight or body fat.
  • It builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones, and joints.
  • It reduces depression and anxiety.
  • It improves psychological wellbeing.
  • It enhances work, recreation, and sports performance.

Exercise is a personal thing in that people need to decide what works for them, because the same types of exercise and regimes will not suit everyone.

Have a look at the Personal exercise page for some general tips and ideas on how to manage your own exercise.

Have a look at the Exercising at work page for ideas on how to create exercising opportunities at work

Nutrition – workplace energy

No matter who you are or where you live, the very fact that you are alive depends on eating properly and keeping hydrated. Even the sight and smell of food can trigger the release of a pleasurable and rewarding chemical called dopamine in your brain.

However, while a delicious meal and a drink can be one of the most satisfying sensory experiences, it is also responsible for some of our greatest health problems. You are essentially what you eat. Each human being is made up of roughly 63 per cent water, 22 per cent protein, 13 per cent fat and 2 per cent minerals and vitamins. Every single molecule comes from the food you eat and the water you drink. Eating the highest quality food in the right quantities helps you to achieve your highest potential for health, vitality and freedom from disease.

Balancing your diet is key to keeping well – at work and at home.

Summary of exercise and nutrition tips

  • Start each day with a hot water and lemon.
  • Drink herbal and green teas instead of caffeinated drinks.
  • Aim to drink two litres of water a day.
  • Never skip breakfast.
  • Snack on fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds at work.
  • Keep alcohol consumption within the recommended government limits.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Practise office exercises.
  • Wear a pedometer to work.
  • Take the stairs, not the lift.
  • Encourage walking meetings.