It’s about time to ring in the New Year and make some New Year’s resolutions. Some people make resolutions every year, only to break them before the end of January. Regardless of how many you make and how long you keep them, making resolutions or setting goals for a happier, healthier year is a positive step in the right direction.
There are so many variables in health care and wellness plans. Add to that the variety in lifestyles, geography and family history and it’s almost impossible to come up with some overall tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Three tips from Dr. Mehmet Oz, author and TV personality, can help business owners and managers encourage employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle .
In a video interview, Dr. Oz proposed three tips for staying healthy. In the interview, he referred to studies of people who lived in so-called “blue zones,” or areas where people lived the longest and were relatively free of major health threats such as heart disease and cancer. These blue zones were scattered around the globe, and didn’t seem to have many common denominators except for three things. These things, he felt, could hold the keys to better health and longevity. For employers looking for ways to keep employees healthier, cut sick days and maintain productivity, these three tips could be the key to a more productive and profitable New Year.
1. Regular, vigorous physical activity. One thing all people in the blue zones shared was regular physical activity. You wouldn’t expect your employees to abandon technology and return to manual labor, but you can encourage employees to get out of their cubicles, desks or work stations and get some exercise. According to an article in USA Today, 65 percent of workers eat lunch at their desks or don’t take a lunch break at all. Encourage employees to take a break by providing picnic tables outside under some trees or umbrellas. Map out walking routes around the building or surrounding areas. Start a competition between departments for the most miles walked in a week, month, or year. Exercise has lots of benefits, both physical and mental.
2. Eating real food. Not the plastic stuff from a vending machine, or the high-fat, high-salt burgers and fries that are the staple of just about every working person’s lunch meal. Dr. Oz recommends eating as much real food as possible, and eating it the way it comes out of the ground. Raw, roasted or steamed vegetables retain their color, vitamins and minerals. The same for lean meats, fish, or tofu. Pass up the butter, gravy or cream sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise and other high-fat, high-salt condiments. Whether it’s organic or conventionally grown, the main thing is to eat fresh. Give your company cafeteria a serious overhaul and offer healthier, whole foods. Partner with restaurants or fast-food businesses to offer employee discounts on healthy lunches. Put a refrigerator and microwave in the break room and encourage employees to bring healthy lunches from home.
3. Give your heart a reason to keep beating. Dr. Oz suggests that this is the most important tip of all. Do something you love to do, something you are passionate about. Life without meaning is flat. Employees who are passionate about their work and the company’s products, services or mission work harder and with enthusiasm. Employers can start by hiring the right people. Look for skilled, talented people. But even more, look for people who fit your company’s culture and the rest of the work team. Nothing can take the enthusiasm out of a team more than having to put up with someone who doesn’t have the right skills, experience or attitude. When morale dips, stress increases. Then, when you have the right people, capitalize on their strengths. Encourage, challenge and appreciate on a regular basis.
These three simple tips can make a difference in your company’s health and happiness. It can improve productivity, employee job satisfaction and boost the bottom line. Every company is different. Make your employees part of the process to find healthier ways to do business in the New Year. Turning your business into an employment “blue zone” can benefit everyone for a healthier and happier New Year.
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