Workplace Wellness Strategies

Health Coaching for Matters of the Heart

health coaching, heart health, employee heart health, employee wellness program, disease management, wellness coaching, employee health coaching

Health Coaching can target employee heart health risk.

With approximately 610,000 deaths annually, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the CDC, every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, a surprising 30% happen in people who have already had a heart attack. Thanks to advances in medical therapies, the mortality rate from heart disease has declined over the past thirty years. However, there is still much work to be done to improve risk and impact the financial burden heart disease continues to have.

In matters of the heart, individual health coaching can literally be lifesaving. An experienced health coach can be supportive in helping patients improve work-life balance as well as educating them on the importance of staying engaged to prevent future heart events.

Providing a heart-healthy workplace environment can help reduce human and economic costs.

“Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year, a burden that contributes to most of the $320 billion in annual healthcare costs and lost productivity caused by cardiovascular disease,” said the former director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. “About 1 in 3 adults have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which means many more Americans could die from what is often preventable through lifestyle changes or managing medical conditions. Employers can help reduce these human and economic costs by providing a heart-healthy workplace environment to support employees’ efforts to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle both inside and outside of work.”

There are numerous factors that can contribute to heart disease risk. Although hereditary factors can play a strong role in the development of heart disease, the majority of other risk factors are related to lifestyle and behavior. Heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, weight management, nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use and excessive alcohol use, can be improved with ongoing health coaching.

A patient who has had a heart attack or event in the past may be in even greater need of ongoing health coaching. Depression is common for patients after a heart event. Family distress, loss of job time, and anxiety about personal health can all take a toll on one’s mental and emotional state. These patients need ongoing support to build confidence and make lasting lifestyle changes. On the other hand, you may have a patient who seems awe-inspired and determined after a heart attack. Many are motivated by fear which helps them to remain engaged in the recovery stages of cardiac rehab. However, once they are discharged and start to resume their normal daily lives, it can be easy to forget the ongoing risks for future events. A common misconception is that once a patient undergoes heart surgery or completes cardiac rehab they are “cured.” There is no cure for heart disease and management of this disease requires engagement in a healthy lifestyle forever.

How can health coaching help to achieve this lasting engagement?

Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle may be the largest predictors to heart health and usually both the health coach and the patient are well aware of this. The conversation between the coach and the patient is not focused just on nutrition and exercise, but rather on common barriers that patients face when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A health coach can help a patient focus on the following as it relates to managing their heart disease:

  • Support on how to realistically incorporate daily physical activity and how to progress at a healthy pace.
  • Education on nutritional needs to improve heart health and prevent future complications.
  • Encourage gradual change that will lead to an overall healthier diet and improved meal planning.
  • Improving time management to better balance daily schedule.
  • Stress management and incorporating more relaxation and recovery techniques to minimize stress on the heart.
  • Successfully navigate new barriers and challenges that can potentially derail them, such as job changes, family event, divorce, or new health problem.

Health and wellness coaching is an integral component in all of our programming. Our highly-trained wellness coaches can help employees move to a new place in life and reach their goals through education, one-on-one support, guidance and encouragement. They are passionate about helping individuals achieve wellness goals, reduce their risks and improve their overall well-being.

health coaching; sb wellness staff; wellness coachesHere is a look at some of our health coaches and what they have to say about their experiences in targeting heart health, inspiring behavior change and reducing risks.

Shannon Holt-Janis, B.S. in Fitness and Human Performance; ‘I have learned over the last 7 years that health coaching is needed on all different levels whether it is setting small goals to go for 5-10 minute walks or to run a mile in less than 7 minutes. One of my coaching clients was wanting to lose weight to help reduce all of his risk factors. We focused on smaller portions throughout the day and in 3 months he lost 25 pounds and in 6 months he lost 60 pounds!’

Katie Normand, B.S. in Exercise Physiology and Health Promotion & WellCoaches Health Coach Certifiied ; “Not only do I see firsthand the difference coaching makes to individuals, but I know there is a growing need for individual support in today’s very busy and stressful society.”

Judy Weiss, American Council on Exercise Certified Health Coach and Certified Personal Trainer; “People are so busy these days and overloaded with so much information that making healthy choices can be confusing.  Health coaching helps them to sift through that fog of information and help them make the best choices for their health.”

Shelly Beall, WellCoaches Health Coach Certified; Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist; “I love connecting with people on the level that health coaching seems to create. We are all in this together. We are all trying to do better, live healthier and achieve a higher quality of living. Even though I know I have much to share, I learn from doing this every time as well. People say they love the encouragement and the accountability health coaching provides. I think this is a big part of why it is so successful when done face to face!”

Ashley Marullo, B.S. in Fitness and Human Performance. Currently working on ACE Health Coaching Certification, “One of the biggest rewards I see from being  a health coach is seeing the confidence and pride that I can help build in a client. Being able to be that person to give them the extra push needed is one of the greatest feelings ever.”

Anna Roberts, Masters in Health Coaching; “One of the most effective methods when trying to improve overall health is to change and maintain habits one at a time. Don’t try to over-do It by changing everything at once. Start with seemingly small habit, like getting up from your desk once every hour, then move to a more challenging area like cutting out soda and sugary drinks, for example. Add new habits every few weeks and before you know it you’ve made a lot of significant changes for your health.”

Amanda Perron, LDN, RD, NSCA- CPT; Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer; “I really believe “food is thy medicine” as Hippocrates said. Diet is directly related to many diseases. I enjoy helping people eat better and exercise to improve their health and reduce their disease risk. It’s exciting to see someone’s numbers decrease, whether it is their weight or their lab values. Their quality of life is greatly improved as well, and that is what being “healthy” is all about!”

Olivia Hocevar, B.S. in Health Sciences; currently working on her Masters and undergoing the WellCoaches Health Coach Certification; “I have seen the positive impact that coaching has on overall health in individuals, especially in those that have really utilized all that SB Wellness has to offer.”

Contact SB Wellness for more information health coaching and other wellness and disease management programming.

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