Global Employee Health and Fitness Month
There are so many blogs, YouTube tutorials, and magazine articles about how to exercise. Many of these sources also focus on how to get a certain body type or “look,” and this information can not only be confusing for employees to navigate but also harmful. For Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, we wanted to create a blog post you can share with employees that focuses on the main function of exercise, which is to maintain and improve our overall health.
The Health Benefits of Exercise
Shawn Flanagan, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of sports medicine and nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh, explains that “exercise is seen as ‘pleiotropic,’ simply meaning that it has many effects.” Exercising regularly protects and improves brain function, promotes a healthy immune system, enhances sleep, allows wounds to heal faster, and helps develop or maintain bone, muscle, heart and other connective tissues. Staying physically active is also one of the best stress management tools, has been linked to healthier aging, and it doesn’t stop there. Exercise is one of the top things individuals can do to lower your risk of developing a chronic disease, and it helps control current symptoms.
Exercise and Chronic Diseases
As explained by the CDC, chronic disease is cause of death and disability in the United States. 6 in 10 adults in the United States have one chronic disease and 4 in 10 have 2 or more. Luckily, Scott Parker, personal trainer and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, states that there isn’t really a condition out there that “fitness can’t help.” Listed below are ways exercise can help with chronic disease:
- Physical activity plays a big role in fighting heart disease. The increased oxygen circulation that comes from exercise improve blood flow and prevents the kind of plaque buildup in the arteries that leads to CAD complications, according to this study published in the Journal of The American Heart Association.
- “Most people don’t see obesity as a chronic disease, but it is,” Parker Regular exercise can reverse obesity and the effects of carrying extra weight, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
- For those with type 2 diabetes, physical activity is an important lifestyle intervention that can help manage the condition and stop further complications from it. That is because exercise improves the ability of the insulin hormone to do its job to lower your blood sugar levels, giving you better glucose control and improved insulin sensitivity.
- Aerobic exercises, strength-training, stretching, and balance training have also been shown to help reduce the pain and disability associated with fibromyalgia.
The main goal should be to encourage employees to be more active this month and every month. Even a small increase in activity, such as taking the stairs or participating in walking meetings, is a good start to improving overall health and preventing chronic diseases.