Would you agree that your employees are the best asset for your small business? Hopefully you answered with a resounding YES! It’s important for employers to encourage healthy habits at the office that lead to good heart health.
Building a healthy workplace and workforce has a number of benefits such as: increased productivity, less absenteeism and ample health-spend savings for both employees and employers. Some health plans – like Allied National’s Freedom Plans – even offer a refund at the end of a healthy plan year.
February is American Heart Month and so we came up with five easy ways to keep your employees happy and heart healthy.
Download our infographic at the end of this blog.
1. Wear red: Encourage your workers to wear the color red in the month of February. At Allied National, employees raise awareness about heart disease by participating in National Wear Red Day every year, which we celebrated on Feb. 5 this year.
A 2019 study found that nearly half of Americans have some type of cardiovascular disease, often a result of high blood pressure. Worse yet, heart disease continues to rank as the number one cause of death in the U.S. Stroke trailed closely behind as the fifth leading cause of death.
Both of these conditions also are the most expensive medical conditions for employers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Share your heart: Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day card or a heart-shaped stress ball with heart disease facts attached, think of a memorable way to spread awareness to your employees. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. It kills 655,000 Americans each year – that’s one in every four deaths.
3. Move your body: Dedicate one day a week to offering employees the opportunity to join in a brisk walk together before or after work or over lunch. At Allied, we’ve had a monthly walking group of employees for years – included in the group are Allied CEO Bill Ashley and Allied President David Ashley. Even super busy people can find time to take care of their health!
Physical activity keeps your circulation flowing, your heart and lungs healthy and lowers your risk of chronic health conditions. Plus, exercising can help with stress relief, too and it’s probably safe to say we’ve all experienced more stress than usual over the past year.
4. Host a quit smoking day: Even if it’s just for one day, pass around a sign-up sheet and give away gift cards from small business retailers or a local restaurant to those who participate. If an employee is willing to give this a try, they may continue the trend.
The CDC shared a list of fast facts on their website regarding smoking and tobacco use, a couple of them being that smoking can cause heart disease and on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Allied’s Funding Advantage plan members have access to a benefit called HealthCare Assistant, which allows a member to speak with a health care professional over the phone about an array of topics including trouble with quitting smoking. The best part about this benefit is that it’s provided to Funding Advantage members at no cost!
5. Provide healthy snacks at the office: Research has shown a heart-healthy diet can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Evaluate any food your company provides, including vending machines, break room snacks, or catered lunches and food-centered events. Try to reduce salt, sugar, and saturated fats which can contribute to heart disease.
Packages of almonds, granola bars, sunflower seeds, and low-fat popcorn are good pre-packaged snack choices. At Allied, we partner with Heartstrings, a local non-profit that provides unique employment opportunities, on-site vocational training and interactive community-based jobs for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. They visit our Overland Park office once a week with a goodie delivery cart filled with healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) snacks for our employees to purchase.
To checkout more videos, infographics, and snack or recipe ideas, visit the Healthy Eating section of the American Heart Association website.
All five of these ideas to promote heart health, as well as healthy habits are doable for companies of any size.
Leave a comment telling us how your company is participating in American Heart Month!
Save the infographic below to share with your employees or on your personal and/or company social media pages!
Founded in 1970, Allied is one of the nation's oldest and most experienced third-party administrators. Allied National is a 90 Degree Benefits Company, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. As the small group benefit experts, Allied works with small business employers to provide unique and affordable group health benefits.
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Allied National is a 90 Degree Benefits Company, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Founded in 1970, Allied National is one of the nation's oldest and most experienced third-party administrators. We're the small group benefit experts working to provide unique and affordable group health benefits to small business employers.