Top 8 Ways to Be Accountable for Your Health
Empowering working professionals to maintain their health strengthens the heart of an organization. Whether one sits all day or is always on the move, there are many ways to engage in health-promoting activities. Doing so can benefit not only you, but also your team with reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and a stronger moral.
One business trend impacting employee health is the growing number of organizations introducing or expanding wellness programs for their employees. Studies released in April reported wellness programs are now offered in 79 percent of large and 44 percent of midsize businesses. These programs range from simple incentive programs from tobacco use cessation and weight-loss initiatives, to company-sponsored health screenings, to on-site mini gyms for employee use, and more.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these programs have a variety of workplace benefits, including: influencing social norms; establishing health-promoting policies; increasing healthy behaviors such as dietary and physical activity changes; improving employees’ health knowledge and skills; helping employees get necessary health screenings, immunizations, and follow-up care; and reducing employees’ on-the-job exposure to substances and hazards that can cause diseases and injury. At HopeHealth, our employee wellness program has increased employee activity, productivity and moral. You can often find employees walking around the HopeHealth Medical Plaza together on their breaks.
Beyond increasing the health of an organization, maintaining your own health is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family, your work and your community.
Are you being accountable for your own health? Here are eight helpful tips:
Take advantage of workplace wellness programs
Promote your own health by getting involved in activities that will bolster your fitness levels. Check with your employer about any health and wellness incentive programs they offer and participate. In some cases, these programs can offer financial incentives that will offset the cost of your health related activities such as a gym membership. The benefits of workplace programs vary for organization to organization depending on the programs offered. By taking advantage of them you invest in yourself and your company.
Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider – and keep it
If you don’t have a primary care provider, make it a priority to establish a health care home where you are comfortable. A primary care provider learns your specific health care needs and is able to develop health care plans that work for you as a whole person rather than treating individual problems in isolation.
Be honest with your provider
Not being honest about your eating habits, daily routines, stress factors and more means your provider can’t tailor your care to your true needs. It’s like buying the wrong size diaper for a baby; you can make it work but probably won’t have the best results.
Establish your health risks
Learn about the medical history of your immediate family members. Knowing your family risk factors can help your provider determine what screenings you might need. It can also help you determine if there are changes you can make to reduce your risk for developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Write down and bring questions for your provider so you don’t forget to ask about those day-to-day concerns that otherwise take a back seat to the top reason you are visiting.
Talk to your doctor about what routine age- and gender-specific screenings are due. Whether it’s having blood drawn to check your triglycerides, getting a mammogram, colonoscopy, or other tests, getting the appropriate screenings completed can save your life. When tests come back negative, it can bring great peace of mind. If they come back positive, you and you doctor can work together to determine the best course of action.
Be compliant with your medications
Take your medications as prescribed. Even if you begin to feel better, it is important to continue following your doctor’s instructions. Never discontinue or alter your prescription without talking to your doctor first. If you experience unexpected side affects, contact your provider. Talk to your provider before you leave your appointment if you have any financial concerns about filling your prescriptions. Your doctor may prescribe an alternate medication or have other suggestions.
Keep a health care diary
Only you know what is going on with your daily health. Keep a journal and track your health. Include health care providers you have visited, their names, addresses, phone numbers, and the reasons you visited them. Note the medications and dosages you have been prescribed and if you have adhered to the directions. Write down changes in symptoms and improvements. Over time, this can help identify your personal health trends and help resolve long-term health issues that might otherwise go unrecognized.
Being physically fit does not have to involve a gym membership. If weightlifting and treadmills are not your style, find an activity you enjoy and that gets you moving on a regular basis. Go for a walk with a friend, take your kids on a bike ride. Take advantage of the many local public facilities such as parks, tennis courts and trails.