26 Jul 2012

Scarey Health Checks!

Hi folks,

What are your first impressions of health checks? Over the past few weeks I have been offering an 'open health clinic' with a new client company. Part of this service is a comprehensive health check including blood pressure, body fat %, body-water content, muscle content, bone weight, etc but many people steer clear as they seem scared of what these tests will reveal! Most of the people that are interested in such tests are those that are generally healthy & already make an effort to improve, however as we know these are not the people we need to reach.

As mentioned in previous posts, health checks shouldn't be the focal point of a health / wellness program as the test results are a 'snap-shot' & can be affected by an extra cup of coffee that day or 'white coat' syndrome. They only tell us when things have already gone wrong (e.g. high blood pressure) when what's really needed are workshops on how to prevent the on-set of poor health.

No-one likes bad news so if people know that they're unhealthy they won't want to get that confirmed or that they do actually have something to be concerned about (ignorance is bliss right?). So to try to attract those people who would most benefit from a health clinic / workshop, my adverts are now going to say "got any questions about your nutrition?" or "Advice on the right exercise for you". This more inclusive & informal approach should appeal to more people & I'm still able to offer the health tests to those who want them.

Let me know your thoughts on this & how this goes down in your workplace or gym.



12 Jul 2012

Prevent Osteoarthritis in Your Workforce!

Hi folks,

A recent survey has revealed that only 1 in 5 people said that they warm-up & cool down properly when doing activity. There is evidence to suggest that the remaining 4 people therefore have a higher risk of developing joint problems in the future.

By doing mobilisation exercises as part of a warm-up to any activity, it not only keeps your muscles supple but simulates the release of synovial fluid (natural lubricant) in to your joints, some of which is absorbed by your cartilage. The whole joint structure is then better prepared to cope with the pressures of movement or being sedentary. But don’t just take my word for it…

Dr Helena Johnson, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy chairwoman, said: "Doing some exercise every day helps keep joints supple and muscles healthy. Simple warm-up exercises increase the blood flow to the muscles and make them more mobile. Cooling down after exercise is also important as it can help to prevent next day stiffness. Pain, during or after exercise, is a signal that your body may be having problems, and it shouldn't be ignored.” (source: FIA & UK Press Association)

Of course the risks of not warming up & cooling down when doing vigorous exercise is higher but whether your workforce carries out active roles or sedentary ones, maintaining their muscular-skeletal health has a significant affect on their performance.

As it happens I am working with a new company this week that value this message. They have asked me to go in for a brief period at the start of each day to guide their workforce through 5mins of mild stretches & gentle exercises (e.g. shoulder rolls etc) with the view to continue it internally but with my support. Please visit www.occupational-fitness.com or contact me if you too would like to safeguard your workforce’s health & performance.



7 Jul 2012

Child malnutrition – how will it affect your company’s future?

Hi folks,

Again, something topical in the news this past week, apparently 1 in 4 children are going to school with out food (down to family financial troubles). This may be that they’ve had no breakfast or that they will have to go without any dinner, quite shocking by today’s standards!

Immediate danger: obviously that child is going to have no fuel for the day so their concentration, alertness, attention spans, & depth of ability are all going to be affected. Physically their energy levels, growth & repair, & hormones will also be in jeopardy.

Mid-term danger: If the body doesn’t have the correct nutrition at certain times of the day then this is when we get cravings for high sugar, salt, & saturated fat snacks (crisps, chocolate, buns, burgers etc). This often then becomes habit & before we know it we have an unhealthy diet. Could this happen with the kids in question? – YEP! So this means that all the ‘immediate dangers’ above could be happening over a long period of time & as a result that child / student may under perform, ultimately coming away with lower grades & health issues.

Long term: Okay so that child, now a young adult of working age comes to work for your company. As you can see the food habits & lifestyle that they have adopted from no original fault of their own, are going to affect their performance for your company!

Solutions? I know this is a long view of the situation & as a company it’s hard to do anything about it, but look around you & ask ‘How much does a person’s upbringing affect their lifestyle today?’ On idea may be to offer a food-bank or supplement service to the families of your employees, or maybe to a local school. The benefits from the positive media coverage of this alone would probably make it worthwhile!