25 Mar 2011

Men Vs Women!

Hi folks,

Yesterday I attended a very entertaining seminar revealing how men & women think differently & it turns out that the old stereotypes are actually not far off. Without explaining all the science, its men’s instinct to crave a certain amount of power, be in a feeling of control, or want to ‘fix’ an issue. Women are naturally concerned with avoiding danger, looking after themselves / others, & preventing harm.

So, why do we need to know this in a workplace health setting? Think about the last time you tried to persuade someone. The way we do this may involve taking advantage of their gender. So, if you wanted to convince your boss to free up some of the budget towards those new work place health measures you’ve got planned, then your pledge may go something like this:

“John, I’d like to implement these new well-being measures. We have the potential to really reap the benefits of a healthy workforce in our company. These measures would increase our employee attendance giving us real control over production, & solve gaps in communication.”

Or like this:

“Sue, I’d like to implement these new well-being measures. I’ve noticed that much of our employee’s health is reaching dangerously low levels & recent absence records are terrible. As a safety conscious industry I feel that we have a certain responsibility to our workers, & these measures would also help protect against future issues.”
Both paragraphs give the same message but do you see the difference? Think about how you could use this approach in when talking to reluctant employees, trying to involve them to take part in health measures at work. The degree of success does depend on how 'macho' or 'feminine' that male or female is but be a little cheeky & try this out on the next person you speak to today whatever the topic. Have some fun with it – it really works!



18 Mar 2011

Do we really need Pre & Post-biotics?

Hi Folks,

My inspiration for this blog came from chatting to one of my clients at the gym. Enthusiastically, he came up to me & said "Hey, did you know that those good-bacteria yogurt drinks aren't really that good, eat 1 leek instead & this will give your gut all the good bacteria it needs for a whole  year". 1 leek for an entire year I thought, this has got to be worth looking in to, especially as like most of us, I reach for a gut-friendly yogurt each morning. Here's a brief summary of what I found:

As you know our gut is absolutely packed with bacteria. If we take pro-biotics, this is a culture that actually contains live good bacteria so we can increase their number in the gut. These helps us digest our food, aid our immune system, & fight illness that may be brought on by 'bad bacteria' (usually from eating too much stodgy & junk food). Pre-biotics are foods that nourish & maintain these 'good bacteria'.

Trials have been done & tend to say it is most beneficial for us to eat pre-biotic foods such as bananas, onions, artichokes, garlic & yes leeks, rather than just take the pro-biotic cultures alone. My own view is that we should take a bout of pro-biotic cultures for 1 week in every 6, then try to include as many of the above foods in there remaining 5 weeks to feed them. Also, if you have been ill or on antibiotics it may be worth re-supplying your gut with pro-biotics then too.

Right, I'm off to eat a chicken pasta with leeks, onion & garlic, then bananas & custard for desert!  

10 Mar 2011

Podiatry is powerful stuff!

Hi folks,

I was at the ‘2011 Health & well being @ work conference' yesterday at the Birmingham NEC. One of the most fascinating seminars & the one that had the most potential was by Chris Sharp on gait analysis. If you’ve not heard of this it’s basically how our feet work (or don’t work) when we walk, sit, drive, & stand.

From my own workshops on postural analysis I knew that many of the body’s problems could be traced back to the feet. Think about it for a second…our whole body balances on these two small pieces of apparatus, over time its likely that these will develop minor defects that not only affect their own function but the function of potentially everything else above it (like a chain reaction). But yep you guessed it, it doesn’t stop there – we already know that physical discomfort can affect us psychologically too.

So, could that backache & lack in concentration you’ve been getting all week be actually due to undetected foot issues? Look down & take a look…AAAAAAARRHHH!!

If you’re not wearing ‘sensible shoes then you already know the answer! If your shoes are fine but you think your feet don’t look ‘right’ in the flesh then you may also want to get them checked out.

In an analysis session you can expect non-invasive tests that involve looking at your foot print, your arches, measurements, & filming your feet as you walk. These will reveal how YOUR feet work & what affect they have. Correction techniques may involve supports, stretches, & exercises but will be well worth it. Now think about the potential in your company, do your people really have the right footwear for their tasks?

Check out Google for your local podiatrist & Chris’ webpage for more info



4 Mar 2011

'Psycho' assessment

Hi Folks,

Throughout my research in to WRMDs (workplace relevant musculoskeletal disorders) it is more apparent that psychosocial factors hold a huge significance. Enough with the jargon, in English this means that our physical health is influenced hugely by our mindset rather than just the physical aspects of our lifestyle.

Tests show that this new approach in workplace health can be twice as effective as more traditional methods & only equalled by massage, specific exercise, or acupuncture. Here are some examples:

·         Believing that health issues can be managed & fully overcome.
·         Knowing that ERTW (early return to work) is often best cast scenario.
·         Engaging in tasks / activities without fear of injury.
·         Working on good relationships with colleagues & managers.
·         Being satisfied with our jobs & enjoying work.
·         Your job uses your potential & is a positive challenge.
·         Engaging in social aspects of the workplace.

Yes, all these help you stay injury free! I have set out the above as an example of positive cognitive behaviour modelling. If I were to list these with a negative spin (e.g. believing that most health issues lead to long-term disability) then they would be an example of ‘Yellow flag’ employee characteristics & we would have lost even before we had begun.  

Analyse your own attitude & the workplace culture that surrounds you. How could you adjust this – when we speak? – our actions? – posters & literature? – watch out for ‘yellow flag’ attitudes!

Thanks for reading,