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Work

6 ways you can encourage healthy hearts in your workplace

Statistics show heart and circulatory diseases remain a leading cause of death in the UK, accounting for a quarter of all deaths - that’s one death every three minutes. In an attempt to reduce this number, employers can actively encourage healthier work lifestyles. 

As we’re set to spend around 90,000 hours at work over the course of our lives, the workplace is the perfect environment for your employees to adopt healthy heart habits. With common heart risk factors such as, stress, poor diet and physical inactivity ever-prevalent, we’ve come up with 6 easy ways you can begin to promote healthier hearts within your organisation.

It’s important to understand that while some risks can be influenced by our lifestyle - known as modifiable factors, others can’t be. Age, gender, ethnicity and family history are all examples of non-modifiable factors that are unavoidable and can’t be changed. Discover the key nine factors to protecting against or managing heart disease.

1. Get people moving!

Whether it’s through a cycle/walk to work incentive scheme, a lunchtime running club or the introduction of ‘walking meetings’, encourage your employees to get up and move. Not only will this keep them feeling fit, motivated and energised but studies show that walking can also increase creative output by 60%.

2. Promote a culture of healthy snacking

With less than a third of adults managing to meet their recommended 5-a-day, providing a variety of fresh fruit, herbal tea and healthy vending machine alternatives will encourage employees to reach for that banana instead of the biscuit tin.

3. Offer flexible working

Giving employees the option to work remotely and flexibly allows them to manage their time and workload more effectively which can help to reduce stress. This may be particularly useful for an employee living with a cardiovascular condition, who is required to attend regular health appointments. Also, check out our article on how to help manage employee workload stress.

4. Go alcohol-free

Regularly drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, which over time can put a strain on the heart muscle, increasing our risk of heart problems. Help to minimise this risk by opting for alcohol-free, activity-based work socials. As well as boosting employee engagement, happiness and health, they will also prove more inclusive of all team members. Stuck for ideas? Why not take a look at some of our suggestions on throwing your own alcohol free socials.

5. Educate and lead by example

Providing relevant tools and materials will give your employees the opportunity to learn about heart health for themselves. Simple things such as a morning ‘health tip of the day’ email or a handy checklist on how to lower your heart age can really make an impact.

6. Care for your employees with a supportive health and wellbeing strategy

Research conducted by global advisory and brokering organisation Willis Towers Watson found that 43% of employees asked, cited healthcare as their most valued work benefit, closely followed by life insurance (40%) and critical illness cover (35%) not far behind. Be sure to invest in your employees and make them aware of all company benefits available to them.