Did you know that over 15 million Canadian adults spend half their working hours at work? And that’s not even taking into account the commute! That’s a lot of time sitting on our butts at our desks, in our cars, in front of computers, in cafeterias and boardrooms. It’s a sedentary lifestyle that is wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds every single. day.

Over time, this sustained level of physical inactivity plays a huge role in our ability to earn more money and move on up the corporate ladder. There are countless studies showing a direct correlation between pro- longed physical inactivity and serious health risks such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, certain cancers, stroke, increased stress and obesity.

How does this cost you and the company you work for money and opportunity? Because being sedentary and inactive stresses our bodies and minds. Simply put, the more stressed-out you are at work the more you reach for salty, sugary foods at your desk; the more often you “just have to” take a smoke break; and the more often you DON’T find time to exercise and take care of yourself.

This means you’re more likely to suffer from lower self-esteem, greater absenteeism, lost productivity, less respect from co-workers, increased long-term disability costs, increased short-term disability costs, increased drug benefit costs and higher Worker’s Compensation claims.

According to the Global Business and Economic Round Table, 7.5 Million Canadians – each year, every year – actually suffer depression, anxiety, substance abuse or another mental disorder; And the cost to th eCanadian economy from workplace stress,depression and mental illness is 35 million lost workdays and an estimated $35 billion in lost productivity annually. It’s time for both the company and the frontline workers who keep the company successful to start taking their health and wellness very seriously!

Being sedentary and inactive stresses our bodies and minds. Simply put, the more stressed-out you are at work the more you reach for salty, sugary foods at your desk; and the more you “just have to” take a smoke break.

As a leader in corporate health pro- grams for a decade, I have worked with large companies like TD Canada Trust and General Dynamics Land Systems, along with smaller local companies with less than 30 employees. I learned that no matter what the size of the business, they all have one thing in common— the importance of human capital.

So why are you waiting for your supervisor, the HR department or the CEO to make that decision for you? Starting a health and wellness initiative with your co-workers is as easy as spreading the flu around the office— and it won’t be long before it becomes just as contagious!

Employee health and wellness programs are aptly named; they’re designed to help make employees healthy and well. A simple employee wellness initiative can help employees become more engaged and more productive in their jobs. A targeted health campaign will increase employee satisfaction and reduce work stress. Whether it’s as simple as a “Steps Challenge” or as fun and engaging as a “Biggest Loser” competition, investing just a little time in your health and wellbeing will pay big dividends to your health—and your bank account!

More Inspiration: You might also find this article on common workplace injuries helpful.

Author: Marty Menard As a health coach and motivational speaker, “Marty the Health Guy” motivates Canadians to better health. Sought by television, radio and print media, Marty produces and hosts Marty the Health Guy on Corus Entertainment’s AM980 and on Rogers DAYTIME’s Fit4Living with Marty the Health Guy. Marty’s team-bonding corporate fitness and workplace wellness programs create stronger organizations. martythehealthguy.com

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