Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Economical Burden of Physical Inactivity

Given the convincing scientific evidence that physical inactivity leads to a host of chronic degenerative conditions and premature death, it is clear that the promotion of physically active lifestyles is both an important health and economic objective.

In financial terms, the health care cost in 2009 was 183.1 billion dollars or 11.9 % of the total GDP in Canada. Of its total, the direct health care costs that were attributable to physical inactivity were 4.6 billion or 2.5% of healthcare spending. Furthermore, a slight increase in the prevalence of physical activity (such as 10%) could cut the health care costs by over $450 million dollars per annum.

My interpretation is that physical inactivity represents a significant public health burden in Canada. Even modest reductions in inactivity levels could result in substantial cost savings to each and every Canadian.

By preventing, delaying, or at the very least, reducing the severity of chronic conditions and physical inactivity related illness, we would not only enhance individuals’ quality of life as they age, but also will ease demand on health care resources.

There are certain factors in which individuals have control over that are associated with good health. Not smoking, weight control, regular exercise, fruit/vegetable consumption, sleeping well, oral health, stress reduction, and participation in activities with family, friends, and co-workers have a cumulative association with good health.

Unfortunately, not all these factors of good health are at the forefront of employee culture and businesses today. Even with over 2/3 of Canadians in the work force, issues like accessibility, time, regular habit, knowledge, and commitment to reinforcing positive behaviors from management are somewhat absent. Researchers have also proven beyond a doubt that it is the personal behaviors concerning diet and physical activity are likely to play the largest role other than genetic factors in determining obesity and chronic health conditions.

So, what can you business do to help change the climate of physical inactivity and reduce the health burden in Canada?

To directly address this issue the Bentall Centre Athletic Club has developed the HFA. This tool utilizes a mobile Health and Fitness Appraisal team, which comes to your place of business, to provide the employees of your company with feedback about their current state of health and wellness. The HFA also identifies those workers at risk of declining health, as well as providing information on the types and amount of physical activity required to maintain wellness, and a good quality of life. In addition, we seek to develop and execute, specific health wellness programming to suit your company’s needs and objectives for now, and for the future.

So how is the value of this expense added back into the company? The International Healthclub and Racquet Sports Association, has shown that there is a $3 return for every dollar spent on employee health and wellness. By allocating funds towards programs like the Bentall HFA, a company will increase the day to day productivity of its workers, build sharper happier minds, and directly reduce absenteeism, chronic injury, stress, and employee turnover. These issues affect any company’s bottom line. By initiating a health and wellness program for your company, you will not only be doing your part in endorsing wellness in your workplace, but also contributing to reducing the financial burden of health care in Canada.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The High Performance Pyramid

The High-Performance Pyramid

Some people thrive under pressure. Others wilt. Is the reason all in their heads? Sustained high achievement demands physical and emotional strength in addition to a sharp intellect. To bring the mind, body, and spirit to peak condition, executives today need to learn what world class athletes already know: that recovering energy is as important as expending it.

Many don’t see the importance that exercise has on not just the physical but also emotional and mental components of life. Without a doubt your physical health is important in order to maintain your body’s mobility and ensure the strength of your heart and cardiovascular system. But, are you aware of the aspect of mental health that is inherent in allowing your mind to recover through physical activity?

For instance, have you ever suddenly found the solution to a vexing problem while doing something ‘mindless’ such as cycling, gardening, or singing in the shower? That’s the left brain-right brain shift at work there – it’s the fruit of mental oscillation. By shifting your attention away from your business, and away from focusing on the demands of work you allow your mind to recover. By participating in regular vigorous activity one can produce a sense of emotional wellbeing, which in turn clears the way for peak mental performance.

If there is one quality that executives seek for themselves and their employees, its sustained high performance in the ever-increasing pressure and rapid change. However, the source of such performance seems to be elusive as the fountain of youth. What makes people flourish under pressure and others fold?

Well, many of today’s approaches only seem to deal with people from the neck up, connecting high performance to cognitive capacity. However, by building on ones physical capacity (from the neck down), you build the bodies endurance that also promotes the mental and emotional recovery and which creates the internal climate that drives the Ideal Performance State.

At the Bentall Centre Athletic Club we have developed corporate health and fitness programs that we bring directly to your place of business. These "in house" programs are designed to teach you and your staff about your own physical, emotional and mental health in order to help you perform to your full potential, and get tapped into the Ideal Performance State.

For more information regarding this opportunity to be involved in the Corporate Health and Wellness Programs at Bentall or the Vancouver downtown core please contact me at the info listed on this page... or contact Robin Russell at rrussell@bentall.com