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Celebrate employee health and fitness month with these 6 ways to boost your heart health

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Employee health matters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that productivity losses due to absenteeism costs U.S. companies $225.8 billion each year. And, heart disease and stroke are among the most common and expensive health issues facing our nation today. Treatment for these problems amounts to $1 out of every $6 spent on health care in this country.

Working full time means you are spending more time at work than you are at home each week. To improve your health at work, incorporate these 6 things into your workday.

Wear a fitness tracker

Start wearing a fitness tracker. This device helps you become more aware of how much you move. You can easily see how many steps you’re taking each day or your heart rate. You may be surprised to find out how much time you spend sitting at work. You can create fun challenges with fellow fitness trackers at the office. You and your colleagues can compete against each other to see who can take the most steps in a week or a month.

Start a company garden

Starting a company garden will give you the chance to spend some time outside during work hours each day. Surprisingly, gardening can be an effective form of exercise. You can burn some major calories and get your heart rate up while digging in the ground or pulling up weeds. Besides providing a work out, gardening can also ease stress. Stress can contribute to heart disease by raising your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may also lead you to make poor food choices, which can result in weight gain.

Get a standing desk

While sitting, you use less energy than when you stand and move. Research has linked sitting for long durations to many health issues. They include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and excess body fat around your waist. Too much sitting also appears to raise your risk of dying from heart disease. To foster heart health at work, get a standing desk.

Stock the break room with healthy foods

Standard vending machine fare is often filled with calories, sugar and heart-damaging saturated fat. To promote heart health at the office, stock the break room with more nutritious options. Try plain Greek yogurt, fruit, or nuts packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Offer workout classes during lunch breaks

As many of us are sitting behind a desk everyday, it is important to get up and moving throughout the day. A great way to encourage this is by bringing in a workout instructor to teach a quick workout class to your staff during their lunch break.

Ditch the elevator

Do you use an elevator every day at work? Perhaps, you can’t remember the last time you took the stairs. By ditching the crowded elevator in favor of the stairs, you can up your heart rate and maybe even beat the elevator.

When busy doing their jobs, employees may not give a second thought to their health. Unfortunately, bad behaviors at the office can harm your heart. The experienced doctors at SIU Medicine are dedicated to your well being at home, your workplace or wherever you might be.

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