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Reducing the Risk of Diabetes - One step at a time

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to serious complications. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to adequately produce and/or properly use insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to use sugar as an energy source.

Risk factors that contribute to developing type 2 diabetes:

The Workplace Perspective: Why physical activity is so important

More and more employers are recognizing their role in promoting the health of their employees - their most valuable resource! As well, employers recognize that workplace physical activity programs:

  • reduce health care costs and insurance premiums
  • reduce the number of accidents on the job
  • reduce worker’s compensation claims
  • lower turnover rates

Research shows that increased physical activity has a measurable positive impact on:

  • absenteeism
  • productivity
  • disability claims related to heart disease, diabetes and back-related injuries

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Facts & Stats

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Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace

It is evident that business benefits from workplace physical activity programs. To be successful the program will:

  • Involve a senior manager that supports individual health management
  • Meet the needs of employees
  • Be well-planned, officially introduced, and include a health-education component
  • Encourage employees to incorporate active living into their daily lives
  • Support physical activity at work (e.g. Pedometer Program)
  • Establish a baseline measure of employee health before any initiative is started so that the post-participation benefits can be measured

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For Employees: Why physical activity is so important

Physical activity may help you prevent type 2 diabetes. It does this by:

  • lowering blood sugar by improving your body’s ability to use insulin and helping manage your glucose levels;
  • lowering blood pressure;
  • improving the fats in your blood by raising good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides; and
  • helping to maintain a healthy weight (a risk factor for diabetes is carrying excessive weight, especially around your middle).
Benefits of Physical Activity Health Risks of Physical Inactivity
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved focus and work performance
  • Increased energy
  • Weight management
  • Helps you relax and manage stress
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Benefits to your heart health
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Some types of cancer
  • Decreased mobility

Quick Fact: Type 2 diabetes may be prevented or delayed through increased physical activity, healthy eating and weight loss.

Source: http://www.diabetes.ca/files/cpg2008/cpg-2008.pdf (PDF 4.1MB, page S2)

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Getting Started – Tips for Employees

Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommends that adults (ages 18-64):

  • Accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week to achieve health benefits.
  • Include muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities in your routine at least 2 days per week.
  • Do more! Any amount of physical activity will benefit your body, but the more you do the greater the health benefits!
Start by adding 10 minutes of activity a few times a day
  • Take the stairs whenever you can.
  • Walk at lunch or on your break.
  • Do a few stretches to relieve stress at your desk or workstation.
  • Plan stretch breaks during meetings and other times during the work day.
  • Start an early morning or after work exercise routine or group.
  • Park further from your entrance and walk more briskly than usual.
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Start a house league in your favourite sport.
  • Challenge other departments to a game of volleyball, Frisbee, catch or road hockey.
  • Have a walking meeting - grab your colleagues and discuss business while taking a walk.
  • Contract your stomach and back muscles while sitting.
  • Try walking to your co-workers desk instead of using the phone or sending an e-mail.
  • Choose active forms of transportation - walk, bike or rollerblade to work.

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Resources

Other Topics

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Revised: August 14, 2014

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