Promoting health and fitness at the office

Have you ever found yourself sitting at the office, glancing over to your colleague as she happily eats her healthy bowl of salad or raw veggies for lunch while you sink your teeth into your white-bread-chicken-mayo-sandwich?

The guilt sweeps over you as you feel every single carb pile up on your hips. She simply lifts another chickpea to her mouth and you feel like you can see her tricep pop through her sleeve. Not a great feeling.

So, will you ditch the bread tomorrow, go for a run and try a salad?

It’s interesting how people’s eating habits at the office can influence our own. And that can be a good or a bad thing – depending on which type of eating habits are cultivated.

In reality, eating habits are strongly influenced by social context: our eating patterns change from when we eat with family at Christmas to when we’re alone at home, at work, or braaing with friends.

Company culture can also affect health and wellness. Employees can only benefit from adopting healthy lifestyles that will flow over to their work productivity and personal lives.

According to Healthy Working Lives, adults can spend up to 60% of their waking hours in an office where they may eat one or more meals and snacks. As an employer, this gives you a great opportunity to promote healthy eating habits by increasing the accessibility of healthy foods in work cafeterias, and by increasing awareness of health and wellness.

Why healthy employees are better employees

Gallup notes that engaged workers – employees who feel emotionally connected to their jobs – report healthy lifestyles that include fitness and healthy eating habits as priorities.

Studies have shown that:

  • employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance
  • employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15% more likely to have higher job performance
  • healthy employees take fewer sick days which means that absenteeism is 27% lower for those workers who eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis
  • employees who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week are 20% more likely to be more productive
  • employees are 10% more engaged when provided with healthy food options
  • employees are 18% more engaged when provided with time for healthy activities
  • healthy eating and an active lifestyle leads to reduced risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer
  • healthy eating and an active lifestyle leads to elevated mood, energy, and self-esteem
  • healthy eating and an active lifestyle leads to reduced anxiety and stress

If you’re not setting the trend for changing the company culture regarding health and fitness, perhaps you should consider joining and learning from those who already are.

About My Health and Fitness

Welcome to My Health and Fitness, a rich source of articles to help you become the best version of yourself. From diet to exercise and general health, our content contributors (including Biokineticists, Physiotherapists, and Fitness Professionals) will cover all your frequently asked questions and more!

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Disclaimer: Our articles are not meant to replace any medical advice as given to you by your doctor or healthcare specialist. Always consult your doctor before trying out a new exercise routine or making drastic changes to your diet, especially where pre-existing conditions are applicable.

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