According to the MultiSport Index Pandemic survey, one in three professionally active Poles spends at least eight hours a day sitting. Experts indicate that a sedentary lifestyle, which becomes an increasing problem during the pandemic, is one of the leading factors in the occurrence of diseases of affluence, including problems with the circulatory system. Valentine's Day is a good time to take care of employees’ hearts, both literally and figuratively, responding to their current needs. Research shows that Poles expect greater involvement of their employers in the promotion of health and physical activity.
– All these diseases are related to lifestyle and such factors as improper nutrition, insufficient physical activity or increased levels of stress that favour their occurrence. These risk factors have increased significantly during the pandemic. Cardiovascular diseases are also one of the risk factors for complications that occur with coronavirus infection. Taking all this into account, it can be expected that they will be an increasing health problem and today they are the leading cause of death in Poland. They are also responsible for 6.5% of sickness absenteeism. Therefore, we should take specialists’ appeals to heart and take care of prophylaxis, i.e.: regular exercise, good quality of sleep, proper nutrition, and a balance between private and professional life – says Łukasz Małek, MD, Ph.D., sports cardiologist.
The World Health Organisation indicates that regular physical activity could reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease by up to 75% in the scale of the entire population. How to exercise to support health? The WHO recommends 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of intense exercise a week.
Sport supports the body and mind
– Lowering the risk of the occurrence or severe course of cardiovascular diseases is not the only benefit that comes from practising sports. Regular physical activity strengthens the heart and improves the functioning of the entire circulatory system. As a result, oxygen and all the necessary nutrients are more efficiently distributed to all organs of our body. The brain receives fuel to act, thus our nervous system and cognitive functions – memory, concentration, and perceptiveness – work better. In addition, physical activity stimulates the production of happiness hormones which has a positive effect on our mood – emphasises Piotr Czyżewski, the MultiSport Programme and Zdrowie na Etacie employee wellness programme trainer.
This is confirmed by the declarations of physically active employees. According to the MultiSport Index 2020 survey, as many as 79% of them point out that exercise improves their wellbeing and efficiency at work and 41% admit that physical activity helps them reduce stress related to the pandemic.
Physical activity responds to employees’ needs
Physical activity also helps to reduce the negative effects of “home office.” Among employees who regularly practise sports, 42% declare that they do not experience the consequences of working remotely in terms of health, wellbeing, or efficiency. Among those who do not exercise such a declaration is made by only 29%.
– The coronavirus pandemic has made employees rediscover the benefits of an active lifestyle. As many as 60% of them explicitly admit that they expect greater support in the field of health and physical activity from their employers, while 75% of people who exercise emphasise that they do not want to give up physical activity regardless of the development of the epidemic situation. Today they have such an opportunity. During the pandemic, many benefits and wellbeing programmes have developed an online offer tailored to home conditions. These solutions are very popular. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 74% of MultiSport Programme users have benefited from online training – emphasises Piotr Czyżewski.
Employees in the Zachodniopomorskie (81%), Warmińsko-Mazurskie (75%), Łódzkie (74%) and Pomorskie (73%) voivodships indicated the need to involve their employers in promoting a healthy and active style most often.
Can programmes supporting physical activity be effective today?
– Definitely. In the case of employees who were encouraged by their employers to move during the pandemic, the level of physical activity was 76%. This result is by 13% better than the average of the society, which is 63% – adds Piotr Czyżewski.
It has long been known that the key to the selection of non-financial benefits should be their proper adjustment to the current needs of employees. Then the benefits will fulfil their function and be effective both from the perspective of the employer and the team that will be happy to use them. The “Benefits in the eyes of employees in 2020” study by Sedlak & Sedlak indicates that 89.8% of employees would like to have a saying on the selection of benefits and 82% confirmed that the availability of benefits is important for them when choosing a job. However, it is worth remembering that non-financial benefits are not only a way to attract the attention of potential candidates but most of all to build the commitment and effectiveness of the team that is already on board. Experts emphasise that benefits in the field of wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle will be one of the leading trends in 2021 that will help win the hearts of employees.