List of Suggested Lifestyle Habits Activities

Here is a non-exhaustive list of activities and interventions relating to lifestyle habits that can be implemented in your workplace.

Most cardiovascular diseases (90%)1 and fatal cancers (80%)2 are linked to poor lifestyle habits, including smoking, a poor diet, physical inactivity, stress, alcohol consumption, and lack of quality sleep. In addition, lifestyle habits are extremely difficult to change. Motivation is an important factor in the equation.

A program that promotes healthy lifestyle habits in the workplace can have a significant impact on employee behaviour since it leverages positive peer pressure and creates a group domino effect.

One of the biggest challenges facing corporate health and wellness program managers is continuing to find new activities that meet employees’ needs, program objectives, and get employees interested in participating and changing habits.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of activities and interventions that can be implemented in your workplace, with or without help from an external service provider and at a range of budgets. The list is divided into two main categories: 1) awareness-raising activities and 2) motivational and call to action activities.

You can also consult our Service Provider Directory where you’ll find companies offering a wide range of services and activities in different fields of intervention.

 

Awareness-raising

“Lunch & Learn” events focusing on a particular topic related to lifestyle habits For example:
-Healthy eating (nutritionist)
-Sleep (doctor, nurse, psychologist)
-Stress management/meditation/cardiac coherence (nurse, psychologist)
-Time management (psychologist, HR consultant)
-Physical activity (kinesiologist, coach, doctor, nurse)
-Chronic diseases and how to prevent them (doctor, nurse)

Health Day
Organize a day of activities with informational booths to promote healthy lifestyle habits or a specific theme:
-Distribution of information and brochures
-Access to health professionals or experts in the field via information booths
-Tasting of nutritious foods: health bars, smoothies, fruits and vegetables ...
- Distribution of healthy recipes
-Workshops or presentations
-Screenings for chronic diseases (diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, etc.)

All of these activities can also be offered separately.

Health newsletters
Distribute health information of all types via a company newsletter, the employee intranet, posters, or relaxation room/cafeteria TVs, for example. We recommend choosing themes at the start of each year. There is an enormous amount of resources available where you'll find information to share. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), insurer, or insurer broker may already have themes and marketing materials ready for you to use.

Monthly themes
Create your own health-related themes or follow a calendar of government or community events (for example, nutrition month, mental health week, etc.).

Physical health assessments
Invite a kinesiologist to evaluate employees’ physical health using different assessments. Participants receive the results of their assessment in the form of a report. Some service providers issue a physiological "age,” and others go so far as to suggest possible ways that the employee can improve their health. The company also receives an anonymized report on its employees’ state of health. We recommend contacting a fitness centre near your company or any of your suppliers for more information.

 

Motivation and action

Health challenges
Walking, running, nutrition, hydration, physical activity, meditation, stress management ... Many different types of challenges exist. Some community challenges are free and offer a component that is specific to companies (for example, the Quebec-based Défi Santé which targets nutrition, exercise and life balance: https://www.defisante.ca/espace-au-travail). Some providers offer platforms for participants, while others use a mobile app. In short, there is a large market for them, and prices vary. Make sure that you have a clear idea of your needs and analyze the possible options before making your choice. Lastly, align your objective with the challenge selected.

Register for an existing event or challenge or organize your own
Take advantage of the many initiatives and events (often fundraisers) that promote physical activity. Whether it's local or regional, you're sure to find something that will interest your employees, such as a walk, run, bike race, dragon boat race, or triathlon. What's more, these types of activities bring employees and the community together.

Implement a program focused on attaining and maintaining a healthy weight
Harness the power of peer support by creating a group of employees all aiming to reach a healthy weight. You can also establish an overall objective for the group within a set timeframe. Weekly meetings are a must to ensure success and follow-up. Optionally, you can call on a nutritionist or nurse to manage the group. You can also find programs offered by specialized services providers such as Weight Watchers or ÉquiLibre, for example.

Stop Smoking program
-Participation in a challenge (such as the Quit to Win! challenge) - Government resources (such as local community service centres) - Non-profit organization resources: Heart disease foundations, Montreal Heart Institute, Canadian Cancer Society

Health professionals—guidance and follow-up
If you have enough employees and if your budget allows for it, offering on-site services provided by health professionals (such as a nurse, nutritionist, kinesiologist or even a doctor) can be very profitable. These professionals can help prevent illness, allow employees to take control over their health, and even provide access to a family doctor. Virtual medical services are also available to gain access to a nurse or doctor via a mobile app or phone services. Monthly/employee fees apply, but this type of service can save employees a great deal of time and stress. In addition, it promotes your employees’ overall health and well-being.

Offer a fitness or wellness class on site
Giving employees access to a program offering a range of physical activity options allows them to integrate physical activity into their daily schedules. For example, you can offer aerobics, weightlifting, yoga, cross-fit, Zumba, or a walking or running club.
If you have the space and budget, you can also set up a fitness room. Note that you don't need to buy large pieces of equipment (furthermore, it's not recommended for most workplaces). See our resource on setting up a company fitness centre for more information.

Contribution to a subscription, sport, or equipment
Employees frequently request this type of contribution. Note that this amount is a taxable benefit. Ensure that you can verify that the employee is truly participating once they've committed themselves to avoid spending money when there won't be an actual impact on their lifestyle.


1. INTERHEART study, Lancet 2004. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction.
2. Prévenir le cancer Richard Béliveau PhD, Denis Gingras PhD, 2012.

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