Health Tips

Health and Wellness Tips for the Executive Athlete

By: Diane Dew, RD, LD, MSC, FAND
Registered Dietician
TriHealth Corporate Health

What exactly is an executive athlete and how would you define health and wellness pertaining to them? As defined by Merriam-Webster:

  • Health – “state of being free from illness or injury”
  • Wellness – “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal”
  • Executive – “having administrative or managerial responsibility”
  • Athlete – “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina”

In putting all these terms together, health and wellness for the executive athlete refers to the person who is working in an office, a lab, any kind of office setting. Usually people in these areas would not label themselves athletes but they are in a certain manner. They are performing consistent tasks over and over and often doing this under a lot of stress.

Just as a traditional athlete must think about their own health and wellness for optimal athletic performance, so should an executive athlete.

Do you, the executive athlete, pay as much attention to your wellness during the workday as you do getting a report written or balancing a budget? Have you considered how your hydration status or sleep is affecting the quality of your work and the speed or accuracy of what you do? Have you thought about your physical movement, or the lack thereof, and its impact on your mental acuity?

Below are four aspects comprising wellness as it relates to the executive athlete or the person who is working day after day in an office or business setting. Paying more attention to these with a focus on specific goals can help you gain that edge in the workplace:

1. Sleep Goal: 6 or more hours of sleep every night

Rationale:

  • Lack of sleep results in decreased attention span, decreased focus and decreased decision making
  • Tired people “rebel” against healthy eating
  • Tired people feel increased stress which can lead to thinking they deserve a drink
  • Tired people have less willpower and focus on what didn’t get accomplished

2. Exercise Goal: Move every 1.5 hours

Rationale:

  • Sitting for longer than 1.5 hours increases sugar in the blood and decreases sugar moving into brain cells. Critical thinking and decision making may then be compromised
  • Movement during the work day increases oxygen to all cells. This in turn improves cognitive functioning as well as health
  • Movement improves mood and improves learning

3. Food Goal: Have a meal or snack every 3 hours

Rationale:

  • All cells in the body require fuel (food and nutrition) regularly
  • Skipping breakfast or waiting too long between meals/snacks decrease:
    • Mental acuity and clarity
    • Decision making
    • Ability to manage functions such as time

4. Water Goal: Consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily

Rationale:

  • Thirst equates to dehydration
  • People should ALWAYS avoid thirst
  • Inadequate water can lead to:
    • Memory impairment (up to 20 percent)
    • Increased anxiety
    • Slowed judgment
    • Slowed decision making
Tags Health Tips , Nutrition and Eating , Sleep

Last Updated: October 29, 2019