It happens so fast: after landing that great job, you find yourself having to deal with the long hours, even longer commutes to and from home, work deadlines, late lunches, late-night dinners, and family responsibilities if you are a parent.
The workouts at the gym or the long runs start getting relegated to weekends, and before too long, whenever you can fit them into your schedule. At first, you gain just a few barely noticeable pounds. And then a few more. And a few more.
Before you know it, you’re not feeling as alert as you once did, you wonder where the extra weight came from, and the health issues — like heart issues, high blood pressure, diabetes and the like — become a real thing.
The City of Houston’s Wellness team understands these obstacles and offer disease management programs designed to educate and engage employees about being their best healthy selves. Some of the programs can easily be done from an office or desk.
“The COH Wellness team offers classes on diabetes, cancer, weight management, stress management, and lower back pain,” Sean Small, public health education chief, explained. “These classes are designed to inform participants of chronic disease management tools and serve as a starting point to achieve better health.”
Small said virtual wellness classes are conducted via Zoom by their Public Health educators. These classes are generally four one-hour sessions conducted over four weeks. They feature tailored curriculum and presentations, participant interactions such as answering questions and group polls, and a survey at the end to assess participant satisfaction.
“Over the past year, almost 500 COH employees have completed a virtual wellness class,” Small said.
Sheila Stamp is a believer. The contract administrator with Houston Public Works participates in the 15-minute At-Your-Desk and 30-minute Chair Yoga sessions.
“I have enjoyed them,” she said. “It gives me a chance to stretch, especially since I’m working at my office desk.”
The City of Houston Wellness Program aims to empower employees, retirees and dependents to make better health choices, leading them to achieve optimal well-being.
Additional resources include wellness engagement options that cover employees, covered spouses and retirees under the age of 65, and they include the signature Win For Life Wellness Program where employees can earn a medical plan rate discount each year.
Small also said city employees are not spared from developing chronic diseases.
“Our rates of prevalence for chronic disease mirror that of the general population, with our top conditions being diabetes and obesity,” he said.
“Most chronic diseases seek to take over your life. They tell you what you can eat, what you can do, and dictate how you feel,” he added. “Take back control through education, proper nutrition, and physical activity. It is possible to resolve these health issues and restore quality of life.”
As a key takeaway, Small said the best way to manage chronic disease is to stay in touch with your doctors and follow their directions. Also, a proper diet and high levels of physical activity go a long way in managing many chronic diseases.