3: Health promoting workplaces

3
Health promoting workplaces

What can I do to age healthily?

The importance of a healthy lifestyle

Some factors, like your genetic inheritance, impact your health in a way that you cannot influence. Other issues, like eating habits and physical activity, are, however, a choice that you make every day.  

See some examples of lifestyle choices that influence health: 

  • Exercise helps control body weight, lowers blood pressure and strengthens muscles, which helps avoid injuries; 
  • Physical activity has also been linked to a lower risk of dementia; and 
  • People who sleep the recommended seven to nine hours each day are healthier, fitter, and less likely to suffer from obesity or other health issues than those who don’t sleep well.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is the longest, most comprehensive examination of ageing ever conducted, found that the following factors are the most predictive for ageing well: 

  • Avoiding cigarettes;
  • Good adjustment or coping skills;
  • Keeping a healthy weight;
  • Exercising regularly;
  • Maintaining strong social relationships; and
  • Pursuing education. 

Some tips for healthy ageing

Following a healthy and balanced diet, ensuring regular physical activity and ensuring a regular sleeping pattern, are all factors that not only promote your health but also have positive consequences for your working life.

Some tips for healthy lifestyle choices include:

  • In case you have a physically demanding job and are regularly involved in, for example, heavy lifting, pushing or carrying, you will still have the same benefits from leisure time physical activity as people who do sedentary work
  • If you have to sit at a desk for several hours a day, try to stand up every 20 minutes and walk around. This will improve your immune system, lower the risk of becoming overweight and allow you to manage stress better.
  • Have a proper lunch break: get away from work, refresh your mind, and enjoy a healthy meal. Getting away from your desk/workstation and moving around also helps prevent the onset of musculoskeletal disorders (from prolonged sitting/poor posture).