Sitting is the new smoking so sit less and move more. This is according to the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), a non-stock, non-profit organization of 1,780 Filipino cardiologists, and the husband and wife tandem of fitness gurus, Jim Saret and Toni Saret.
Yes, there is a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death.
Sitting for around eight hours a day at the workplace increases the risk of contracting heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 40 percent. Actually, it can cause killer legs, too.
Majority of the world population is in the working age group, which includes those who are always on the computer. Glued on their seats for eight hours, they lead sedentary lifestyles, while facing different kinds of stress which leads to unhealthy eating (stress eating) and lifestyle. Most of them are unable to engage in appropriate physical activities for their physical and mental well-being and in worse cases, some do not have the means to cope with stress and maintain mental health.
Eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding vices like alcohol and cigarettes are ways of preventing major lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers as well as other risk factors such as raise blood pressure, raise blood sugar level and obesity. However, awareness and practices of these healthy benefits are still low among the working population.
The PHA is committed to foster exceptional cardiovascular education and primary care for everyone. Living up to its mission, the organization aims to do its share on the awareness on preventive and management of heart diseases.
The initiative encourages employees to improve their physical and mental well-being, and effectively address sedentary lifestyles by launching a campaign called Sneakers Friday, which capitalizes on promoting physical activity. It is meant to promote workplace health and wellness where personnel are encouraged to wear sneakers, casual top and pants every Friday as a dress down day.
The PHA’s Sneakers Friday campaign builds on the perspective that individuals have the ability to adopt healthy lifestyles when supported by a conducive workplace environment that promotes healthy eating, healthy habits and physical and mental fitness. In order to obtain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to incorporate wellness in all aspects of one’s life, including the workplace.
Corporate wellness generates many positive outcomes for their employees as well as the company itself. Even a simple activity such as walking (or brisk walking, with 100 steps per minute) has so many powerful health benefits.
When done correctly and regularly, it can be the key to losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and boosting your memory as well as reducing your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Walking could be done effortlessly without interrupting corporate work. One can also choose to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator or when one parks the car, choose the farthest end so you’d have more time to walk.
The Sneakers Friday was officially launched on May 22, 2018. The campaign initially got off the ground spearheaded by medical professionals and cardiovascular experts themselves in November 2017 with the Makati Medical Center as its launching site, followed by The Medical City where every last weekday was officially declared as Sneakers Friday.
The ultimate goal of the Sneakers Friday campaign is to encourage the corporate sector to integrate more physical activity into their hectic pace and to make them aware that the corporate sector is the paragon of good health. The benefits of incorporating a wellness program like Sneakers Friday in your workplace include:
- Aside from promoting a healthy lifestyle, it relieves employee stress, and it also promotes employee camaraderie. Setting time aside for employees to exercise can help reduce stress and overall sitting time. It also releases endorphins (happy hormones) and in the process creating happier and more energized employees. With a better mood and more energy comes more productivity!
- Incorporating the Sneakers Friday campaign is great for promoting employee fitness and health. Partaking in physical fitness activities is proven to lower one’s chances of getting sick, which in return will ultimately lower health care costs for employees and the company. In addition, there’s an increase productivity as employees take fewer sick days too.
- Employees get to know fellow employees outside of work. With a great group activity that allows co-workers to get to know each other better, employees will get the benefits of physical activity and the socialization that comes along with the group exercise.
With the Sneakers Friday campaign, coupled with healthy habits and lifestyle, the PHA looks forward to seeing happier and heart healthier Filipinos.