Active April: Wellness At Work

Making healthier choices at work is easier than you might expect.

We consulted with nutrition and movement expert, Tanya Young for some straightforward advice about maintaining good health and a busy schedule.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, the office snack cabinet can prove to be your greatest adversary. Similarly, long hours at a desk and a demanding job can foil even the best laid plans to make it to the gym or go for a run. Given that good nutrition and a healthy body are the foundations for maintaining general wellbeing and mental clarity, we sought the advice of certified Fitness and Nutritional Lifestyle Coach, Tanya Young. Tanya explains that by making a few simple changes that prioritise good health, it is possible to build new, healthy habits that foreground regular movement and sound nutritional choices. We're referring to the next month as ‘Active April', and we will be supporting our community both online and offline with opportunities to learn new habits for better health at work and beyond.

Breaking Down The Data

There is a wealth of data that demonstrates the enormous benefits to both employees and employers when it comes to maintaining good health at work. The 2017 Employee Benefits Report by the Society For Human Resource Management reveals some enlightening points about wellness at work:

  • 88% of organisations with a wellness program rated their initiatives as somewhat or very effective in improving employee health
  • 77% of organisations indicated their wellness program was somewhat or very effective in reducing health care costs
  • 53% of organisations wanted to create a culture that promotes health and wellness
  • The most common wellness benefit is providing resources and information

The Global Wellness Institute, in their report, The Future of Wellness at Work found that the cost of the ‘unwell worker' represents 10-15% of global economic output. The GWI estimates that in the United States alone, when you tally the cost of employees’ chronic disease ($1.1 trillion), work-related injuries and illnesses ($250 billion), work-related stress ($300 billion) and the cost of work disengagement ($550 billion) that an unhealthy workforce costs the nation $2.2 trillion a year, or a staggering 12% of GDP. In short, establishing good health at work is in everyone's interest.

An Expert Opinion

Tanya Young is a certified fitness, lifestyle and nutrition coach based in Hong Kong. She explains that in her experience, work and family are top priorities for many successful professionals, often at the expense of their nutritional health and physical fitness. Her approach focuses on habits, behaviours, and unconscious mindsets that drive thought patterns around food, exercise and the decisions made throughout the day. This is her advice for making just a few simple changes to improve your overall wellbeing:

1. A Healthy Alternative

Forward planning is essential when it comes to making better food choices. If you are going to be stuck in a long meeting over lunch, bring a shake to sip and skip the cakes and pastries.

2. Prepare To Succeed

Take time at night or over the weekend to prepare nutritious meals and snacks ahead of time. Often the easy option is not the best option and it pays to be prepared.

3. Just Move

Busy days are a constant and if you are waiting for that to change you will be waiting for a long time! Saying ‘yes' to moving might mean saying ‘no' to something else, like snoozing your alarm that extra 20 minutes.

4. Every Step Matters

Exercise doesn’t have to be done all at once or in abundance, instead, set realistic expectations. If you only have 10 minutes to move, then choose 2 or 3 exercises that can be done at home and complete a small circuit. Alternatively, try walking to work or taking the stairs where possible.

Take A Stand

Sitting down for much of the day can have a detrimental effect on physical well-being and has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. For many, the very nature of work means being at a desk for the duration of the workday is unavoidable. However, a height-adjustable standing desk can mitigate many of these risks. Throughout all our centres, our members have access to fully adjustable standing desks by 9-a-m.The benefits of standing, even for part of the workday are numerous. Working at a standing desk can reduce chronic back pain, lower an individual's risk of obesity and heart disease, improve mood and energy levels as well as potentially improving productivity.

Active April In Hong Kong

Our offline initiatives for Active April will be piloted in Hong Kong, but expect more lifestyle and wellness events in centres throughout our network. For our Hong Kong members, we hope to see you any or all of the following events:

  • Peak 24 | Race to end slavery | April 14 | Lugard Rd
  • Lunchtime Juice Tasting with Nood | April 18, 12.30pm | 19F Two Chinachem Central
  • Expert Nutrition Coaching with Tanya Young
    • One IFC | April 19 | 12.30pm
    • Two Chinachem Central | April 24 | 12.30pm
    • One Island East | April 26 | 12.30pm
  • 1 Day Juice Cleanse & Restorative Yoga with Nood and Rosemary Vandenbroucke | May 31
    • Early Bird registration on or before May 17
    • Standard registration on or before May 24