Workplace wellness

Most of you who are reading this column have jobs and a large percentage of you work more than 40 hours a week at your job. In fact, in the U.S. it is estimated that most fulltime working adults will work over 47 hours per week. Roughly figured this means those of us working full time over our lifetime will spend one-third of their lives on the job.

Not only will most working class people in the U.S. spend long hours working, they will also use the least amount of vacation hours than almost all other countries in the world. For those of you who live in Idaho, we also have the distinct honor of using the least amount of vacation of any other state.

To limit the sedentary nature of office work, we should always be thinking about building some exercise into our daily workplace wellness practices. With so many hours spent at work, you would think physical activity would be a personal and an employer priority.

What is interesting is it seems that neither the worker or the employer is that concerned about keeping active and offering fitness options at work. Recent studies have found that medium to large companies who have actively provided fitness facilities, gym memberships and or other activities had a flat response by the employee using these fitness options.

With current technology, our workplace environments on average require less physical activity and movement than ever before. The vast majority of us spend twelve hours each day sitting in front of an electronic device. Sedentary behavior has become the fourth leading cause of critical health problems. The health impact worldwide is estimated that roughly 3 million people die each year due to chronic illnesses that are caused by a lack of physical activity.

I don’t believe anyone would argue that physical activity is unhealthy. For those of you with a full-time job, you know that you’re spending the vast majority of your work time in a stressful and inactive state, often more than 8 hours a day.

Over the past ten years, there have been numerous health studies that show as little as 2 hours a week of moderate-to-vigorous activity can help prevent chronic health conditions such as obesity, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental health issues and many forms of cancer.

A recent and profound discovery regarding our future state of health is sedentary behavior may be more deadly to your health than weight gain and other chronic health issues. Yes, the consequences of sedentary behavior over time has the potential to shorten your life significantly.

In 2016/2017, there were a few studies that looked at the effectiveness of workplace health programs and found no evidence that they significantly changed health behaviors or medical costs for companies that provided programs. So this begs the question, why promote workplace wellness if it does not improve any aspect of an employee’s health?

I believe that culturally, both in how we practice self-care and how the employer puts a premium on a healthy culture, is driving these results. These poor health statistics that relate to workplace wellness initiatives are indicative of a lack of commitment and consistency by both your employee and employer to follow through on these wellness programs.

Now let’s keep in mind that a workplace wellness program does not have to center on an exercise program. Merely standing, stretching, walking and moving can make a difference. Employers should encourage physical movement and even mindful practices by offering a quiet space for breaks. Happy and healthy staff are proven to be more productive. Unhappy, stressed and sedentary staff are shown to lack motivation, productivity and can become a negative factor in the workforce.

Start walking groups during lunch or before work and encourage standing and stretching with your fellow employees. Do not rely on the employer to set these activities up, do it yourself. See if your employer will offer standing desks and, to the extreme, if your the boss will buy a treadmill desk. That is not to say if your company provides a gym membership, you should not take advantage of the group membership… you should.

Employers need to establish a positive and supportive environment toward wellness. Employees need to be consistent and view both the workplace wellness and personal health goals as a permanent lifestyle shift. Both employer and employee must make health and wellness a team priority, then the research and studies will start showing a positive impact on health and healthcare costs.

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Judd Jones is a Certified Primal Health Coach and Fitness Consultant. He can be reached at jjones@cdapress.com and www.jhanawellness.com.

1 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee May 28, 2018 7:31 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    The article above is important, well written information.

    If we may share some CONCEPT additional information along the same lines.

    Nearly the entire world lacks formal education about their bodies, leaving them for the most part ignorant of their body parts and how they function.

    What little information the public does receive, and may be looked at as education, is the perspective of their bodies from a “disease advertisement” point of view; for treatment by Diease Care, and not about Health and Function itself.

    It is highly unlikely that you are ACTUALLY being educated about your heart when you read about Heart Disease, which is about the EFFECTS(s) of known, but little discussed, CAUSES of Heart Disease.

    Same for OBESITY, an actual disease of excessive adipose tissue (fat), located beneath your skin and on top of your muscles, as well as in and around your other body parts and your organs.

    However OBESITY is ignored, and can’t be seen when you have excessive fat around and in your organs. And you can’t see inside yourself or others when walking down the street.

    When you look at a delicious looking rib eye steak (cow muscle) and you see that overly rated (fat) marble-ing; that same rib eye fat, or hamburger with those white dots of fat, well that fat marble-ing ends up in your heart (a muscle to pump your blood primarily to your brain and lungs and the rest of your body). The result of eating that fat, (the cause) that produces the same (effect) of marble-ing in your heart muscle, that same effect is heart disease.

    The same fat in the rib eye and hamburger, as well as many other fats in your diet, end up in your heart’s arteries, the coronary arteries…and from there occurs heart attacks.

    But wait, while, you just learned a little something about heart disease, you haven’t learned much about the miracle of the heart, and all it’s different parts, from its embryonic development to the internal miracle at birth, to all it ceaselessly does during life.

    For the business of Disease Care it is best for the profits of the Disease Care System that you leave the knowledge of the body up to the Disease System so they can diagnose the effects of disease, all the while ignoring the causes, eventually bringing, or luring you in, to Disease Care and it’s routine treatment, for the most part, by oil made chemical drugs, and surgery.

    As was said about the heart, the same can be said for other body parts and organs. When we speak of the pancreas we are for the most part only told about Diabetes, or infrequently Pancreatic Cancer. Where’s the in depth information of everything that is pancreatic.

    And for the lungs, it’s information about Lung Cancer and not about the incredible things that the lungs do 24/7 to keep you alive, the failure of which makes you dead within a few minutes.

    How can tobacco smokers respect their lungs if they don’t know about their lungs. Tobacco advertisements don’t educate about your lungs, nor do Electric Cigarettes.

    Nor does Colo-Rectal Cancer, nor Breast Cancer, and all the rest of the ads educate you about the body, but only the effects of the diseases treated by petroleum based pharmaceutical drug companies, who in conjunction with insurance companies and hospitals and doctors have become the mightiest drug cartel in business today making more than $4 Trillion dollars a year in the USA alone, dwarfing the $Billions of dollars made by the Colombian and Mexican Drug Cartels.

    The American Medical Drug Cartel has 55% of the American public taking between 1 and 4 different medication per day. It’s like more than 1/2 the people you see in public every day are on prescription drugs, and that does not include over the counter self medication. And then there are unrecorded illegal drugs. Something is wrong here and it is not the statistics.

    A simple HEALTH CONCEPT to embrace is about daily living habits which include diligent use of the acronym: S W A R E.

    SUN – WATER – AIR – REST – EXERCISE

    Which brings us back to the article above. EXERCISE, by bicycle, or any means is important because the Definition of Life = Motion.

    Proof = All Dead Things don’t Move.

    Actual Health Care is Personal, it does require Perseverence. Don’t Stop…Just Do It…! ! !

    Mahalo,

    Charles


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