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Put your heart into it: how to keep healthy at work

Do you have a healthy attitude towards work? The activities you do throughout your working day have an impact on your health and wellbeing.

Here, we focus on some of the choices you can make throughout your working day to keep your heart healthy.

Exercise tips for the workplace
Alex McKinven, Physiotherapist, share’s some advice on staying active.

Details

  • Start your day the right way Start your day the right way

    Looking after your heart doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you can start first thing in the morning. Lowering the amount of saturated fat in your breakfast is one way to reduce your risk of heart disease. Too much fat, particularly saturated fats can increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood. This can cause your arteries to narrow, restrict blood flow and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead of a greasy fry-up, opt for something nutritious such as scrambled eggs, a bowl of wholegrain cereal with semi-skimmed milk or wholegrain toast.

  • Healthy food in a hurry Healthy food in a hurry

    Whether you have breakfast at home, on the go or at work, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to fatty fast foods. When eating on the go, opt for fruit, yoghurt drinks and wholegrain cereals rich in fibre for a quick healthy breakfast. If you don’t have time to eat at home, why not rally up some colleagues and fly the flag for healthy eating by arranging an early morning breakfast club.

  • Make mornings less stressful Make mornings less stressful

    As the morning goes by, a brimming inbox or looming deadlines can cause your stress levels to soar. Feeling the strain at work has been linked to high blood pressure, so it’s a good idea to try some simple stress busting techniques. Have a go at prioritising your workload with a to-do list. When making your list, leave extra time to allow for overruns and delays. Break your list up into smaller, manageable chunks and delegate when you can. If you still feel stressed, set a few minutes aside to tell your manager how you’re feeling.

  • Help your team stay healthy

    With a selection of health and wellbeing solutions to suit a variety of needs and budgets, our business cover is designed with your people in mind.

  • Have a healthy lunch Have a healthy lunch

    When eating lunch, try to keep salty foods to a minimum. Reducing your salt intake will help to lower your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease. Foods high in fibre have also been shown to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for coronary heart disease. Opt for wholegrain bread, brown rice, brown pasta and vegetables wherever possible. In particular, beans and lentils release their energy slowly, so may help to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

    Tips for eating less salt by Bupa UK 

  • Avoiding the afternoon slump Avoiding the afternoon slump

    If you face plummeting productivity levels after lunch, take a break from your desk and make a healthy drink to help you recharge. Some research suggests that green and black tea may have blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering properties. However, more research needs to be done to confirm the benefits of tea for your heart. What we do know is that it’s important to drink enough fluids. Aim for between six to eight glasses, cups or mugs of fluid each day – tea and coffee count as well as water. Beat dehydration by keeping a glass at your desk.

  • Heading home Heading home

    Clocking off time? Even though the working day has come to an end, you can still continue to look after your heart as you head home. Try and stay active on your commute home, even if you just get off the bus one stop earlier than usual. Regular exercise can help to keep your heart healthy by relieving stress and reducing your blood pressure. Why not download our new Ground Miles app to keep you moving through the working week and beyond.

  • Resources Resources

    Further information

    Sources

    • Fats. Food Standards Agency (Buidheann Inbhe̶ Bidhe). www.eatwellscotland.org, accessed 27 November 2013
    • Hooper L, Summerbell CD, Thompson R, et al. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002137
    • Prevention of cardiovascular disease. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), June 2010. www.nice.org.uk
    • Lipid modification - CVD prevention. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, published December 2008
    • Food fact sheet. The British Dietetic Association. www.bda.uk.com, published February 2013
    • Tips for a healthy heart. British Nutrition Foundation. www.nutrition.org.uk, accessed 22 November 2013
    • Landsbergis PA, Dobson M, Koutsouras G, et al. Job strain and ambulatory blood pressure: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Am J Public Health 2013; 103(3):e61-71. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301153
    • Simon C Everitt H, van Dorp F. Oxford handbook of general practice. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010: 176 ̶ 177, 997
    • Aburto NJ, Ziolkovska A, Hooper L et al. Effect of lower sodium intake on health: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ 2013; 3(346). doi:10.1136/bmj.f1326
    • Bazzano L. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of cardiovascular disease. World Health Organization Library 2004
    • Physical activity guidelines for adults (aged 19 ̶ 64 years). Department of Health, 2011. www.gov.uk
    • Start active, Stay active. A report on physical activity for health from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Oficers Department of Health, 2011. www.gov.uk
    • Hartley L, Flowers N, Holmes J, et al. Green and black tea for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009934.pub2
    • Healthy hydration guide. British Nutrition Foundation. www.nutrition.org.uk, accessed 2 December 2013
    • Kelley GA, Kelley KS. Efficacy of aerobic exercise on coronary heart disease risk factors. Prev Cardiol 2008; 11(2):71̶ 5. doi:10.1111/j.1751-7141.2008.08037.x
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