Get up and move for health and happiness
We live in challenging times, with turmoil and unhappiness around us, but the positive thing about being in the UAE is that it is one of the few countries that takes happiness very seriously.
This was the positive note on which Arabian Health Care Group CEO and executive director of RAK Hospital, Raza Siddiqui, unveiled the group’s country-wide proactive campaign ‘My Employees’ Health First’ targeting more than 300 corporate houses.
The initiative motivates office workers to remain active despite doing stationary desk jobs, encouraging them to find time for physical activity at regular intervals during office hours. Besides taking a short break every hour to unwind, employees will also be taught light exercises to help them relax their neck, shoulder, wrist and back muscles, spurring them to adopt a more active lifestyle.
“The first couple of months of the drive will focus on ‘Just Move’, part of the programme which includes the four main pillars: work, stretch, drink, repeat,” said Dr Siddiqui.
“The human body is not designed for long periods of inactivity; however, the punishing demands of daily work leave very little time for exercise. This is where a few well-timed measures can go a long way in dodging life-long ailments. We should also keep in mind that intense exercise after a long day of inactivity can potentially cause torn ligaments and bone and joint injuries. This is why one of the key activities in our programme is that the employees leave their desk and move around a little,”he said.
A healthy lifestyle being a core part of a person’s happiness, Dr Raza explained: “A major factor leading to unhappiness is poor lifestyle. On average, people can spend two hours in commuting to work and then eight hours or more at work. Where do they have time to work out at the gym or go for a walk? This is what compelled us to launch this initiative. There is enough data available that when you improve your employees’ health, productivity will go up by 25 per cent.”
The initiative aims at creating awareness on the wellbeing of the employees first, and motivating them to do something doable, easy and that makes their day more interesting and lifts their mood.
Dr Yasmin Shaikh, group marketing head, Arabian Healthcare Group, said: “For example, we suggest that employees should leave their work stations every hour to get water instead of keeping filled water bottles with them. They should also drink a glass of water (250 ml) in three sips. Our aim is that every individual should drink a minimum eight glasses of water every day to flush out toxins from the body. Similarly, workers can do a few light exercises to relax body muscles that can otherwise get very stiff, causing cramps.”
Explaining how they reach out to companies, Dr Jean Marc Gauer, CEO of RAK Hospital, said: “We are reaching out to almost 300 corporates across the UAE and the exercise will benefit thousands of employees.”
The campaign was inaugurated by Rabab Al Tajir, the first Emirati woman international and national car rally driver, at Dubai RAK Diabetes Centre, Jumeirah.
Don’t sit around
– Sitting 8 hours a day increases your risk of contracting heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 40 per cent
– On an average, 55 per cent of workforces spends 7.7 hrs sitting
– Controllable factors that could help decrease the risk of lifestyle diseases: diet, body weight, level of physical activity, level of sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol abuse