04 July 2011

Celebrate corporate wellness

With an estimated 56% of women and 29% of men being overweight and obese in South Africa, Corporate Wellness should be a top priority at all organisations.

It's Corporate Wellness Week in South Africa. From 4 to 8 July South Africans are encouraged to celebrate wellness in their workplace.

With an estimated 56% of women and 29% of men being overweight and obese in South Africa, Corporate Wellness should be a top priority at all organisations.

There are 200 cardiovascular related deaths per day in South Africa, 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women in South Africa will develop a heart condition before the age of 60 and heart disease and stroke are the biggest non-infectious killers in our country.

Did you know that up to 80% of these incidences are due to our lifestyles and behaviour? Which means that 80% of premature deaths can be prevented merely through making a few small lifestyle changes.

  • Ban smoking, even in designated smoking areas
  • Serve yummy and nutritious heart health lunches and snacks
  • Get your staff tested…i.e. blood pressure, glucose, Body Mass Index and cholesterol
  • Promote daily physical activity eg. display DO NOT USE notices on all elevator doors or near escalators encouraging staff to step up and use the stairs! OR start a walking club – 15 minutes of fresh air and leg stretching has proven to refresh and revive body and mind! OR place a treadmill in your canteen area – allowing exercise or stress junkies to get those endorphins going!

The benefits to all are reduced absenteeism, improved productivity and lower medical costs, whereas individual benefits are a dramatic risk reduction in heart disease and strokes, hence a longer life that is free of pain and suffering. 

  • Step up! Opt for the stairs at all times – it’sa great way to get in shape, improve cardiovascular function and strengthen and tone your legs muscles.
  • Breathe! Take a “walking” or “water” break at least every hour especially if you have a sedentary position, this will help to refocus and energise you. 
  • Face it not Facebook! Speak to your colleagues directly. In this electronic age you can easily forget how to communicate face to face, however, direct communication is often more beneficial.
  • Laugh! Don’t allow work to become mundane, take time to share a joke with a colleague or laugh at an email. Laughter is a great stress reliever.
  • Snack healthily! Choose to snack on energy boosting foods like fruit, nuts and yoghurt instead of energy sapping sweets and chocolates.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day – the health benefits are endless.

  • A canteen/tuckshop/vending machine menu with healthier food choices
  • Individual blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screenings (testing is lifesaving!)
  • A health risk report of screenings sent to office management
  • Free nutritional advice from a HSFSA’s Registered Dietician
  • Free education about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease


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