September 26 was World Heart Day. This year’s observance spearheaded by World Heart Federation focuses on Workplace Wellness: Take responsibility for your own heart health, with the slogan “I work with Heart.” The Workplace Wellness program outlines 10 simple steps on how we can live a healthy lifestyle and make our workplace a healthy place:
4. Maintain a healthy weight – Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke.
5. Know your numbers – Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI). Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.
7. Insist on a smoke-free environment. Demand a tobacco ban – ensure your workplace is 100% smoke-free. Support the adoption of smoking – cessation services encourage your employer to provide help to those wanting to quit tobacco
8. Bring exercise to the workplace – Include physical activity in your working schedule – cycle to work if this is possible, take the stairs, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks, and encourage others to do so too. Have regular breaks during the day – try stretching or exercising for 5 minutes twice a day.
10. Encourage stress-free moments -whilst stress has not been shown to be a direct risk factor for heart disease and stroke, it is related to smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating, which are risk factors for heart disease. Take time for lunch away from your workplace to get some fresh air.