February is Heart Health Month and there is no better time as an HR leader to encourage your employees to get active and take control of their health.
Heart disease is a top cause of disability today, impacting every part of your multi-generational workforce. Women and baby boomers are at an increased risk for cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke, while millennials have higher levels of stress, which can lead to heart problems later in life.
Costs to treat cardiovascular conditions continue to rise, as well, and are set to exceed $1 trillion by 2035. That means getting heart-healthy is an endeavour you can’t afford to ignore.
Early prevention is your best defense
- Lower stress
- Eat better
- Exercise and move more
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Tend to their mental health
- Engage in wellness activities at work
Heart health is good for business too. When you consider the cost of health expenses and lost productivity due to heart issues is $316 million annually, it’s certainly an issue worth addressing.
But if you truly want to engage employees and improve their heart health, you should try to go beyond simply reminding them to get a check-up. Providing fun, creative employee health benefits is an effective way to get people invested in their wellbeing and ensure they love coming to work every day.
What you can do
We’ve outlined 12 steps you can take this February in honor of Heart Health Month that will inspire employees to get healthy and active. These approaches target cardiovascular health from all four pillars of wellness (physical, mental, social, and financial), allowing you to create or strengthen a company-wide culture of health.
1. Offer blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health screenings to help employees monitor important biometrics.
2. Present nutrition classes that educate teams on heart-healthy diets and smart meal planning.
3. Host fitness classes; activities like yoga, pilates, and high-intensity interval training improve cardiovascular health.
4. Teach stress-management techniques through meditation and mindfulness workshops.
5. Give employees access to a team of highly-trained therapists and coaches who can assist with emotional wellness.
6. Offer on-site massages. Bodywork not only gets blood flowing (which improves circulation), but also encourages good self-care.
7. Facilitate fun activities, like a sushi-making or toy-making class, that will bring people together. Strong relationships lower blood pressure and stress.
8. Invest time in designing an effective employee rewards and recognition program to celebrate achievements. Appreciation is a powerful motivator that aids retention. It’s also strongly correlated with long-term health.
9. Run weight loss challenges that encourage healthy competition and make getting fit a social experience.
10. Offer financial wellness seminars focused on generational needs, such as buying a home, caring for an aging parent, or tax planning.
11. Help employees learn how to save for emergency medical costs related to a major health event like a stroke.
12. Provide in-person and remote financial counseling. Reducing money worries can lower heart attack risk tremendously.
These Heart Health Month initiatives can have far-ranging results that last all year long. And always remember: When you rethink your employee health benefits, you’re poised to create a culture of health in which your team feels excited and empowered.
Wondering how to you can bring these wellness benefits to your workplace? League’s Health@Work program may be your answer.
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