National Wellbeing Workplace Day

National Wellbeing Workplace Day

Working together for a healthier future

Measuring your health

Jim Kirwan: creator of #GetAmericaMoving, employee well being speaker, coach, consultant and author of #TheeXerciseFactor, demonstrates that by itself, Body Mass Index [BMI], the most common and popular measure of body fat is certainly not a perfect measure. 

It's somewhat ironic that a body fat measure is actually unable to distinguish between body fat and muscle. So what should you do? The answer is to use BMI in conjunction with one or both of the measures below

Waist-to-Height Ratio: This is an important measure which is gaining popularity and credibility. As we get older, largely because of our diet and the lack of physical activity, our waists grow as we accumulate dangerous visceral fat around some of our most important organs. So we need to pay particular attention to this measure because it is correlated with abdominal obesity. Your waist-to-height ratio is defined as your waist circumference divided by your height and is a measure of the distribution of your body fat. To measure your waist, place a tape measure around your body at the top of your hipbone. This is usually at the level of your belly button. You calculate your waist-to-height ratio as follows:

Example: Waist 34 inches, Height 68 inches - 34/68 = 50%

Your goal should be to have a waist-to-height ratio of less than 53% for men and less than 49% for women. Anything more puts you at greater risk of weight-related health problems as shown in the table below.

Weight -----------------Males ---------------- Females

Healthy Weight------- 43% to 52%---------- 42% to 48%

Overweight------------ 53% to 62%---------- 49% to 57%

Obese------------------- Over 63%-------------- Over 58%

Your Waist-to-Hips Ratio: This is another useful measure which you can use in conjunction with your BMI and your waist-to-height ratio. It measures the ratio of the circumference of your waist to that of your hips. You measure your waist as above and your hips at the widest part of your buttocks with the tape measure parallel to the floor. You calculate your waist-to-hips ratio as follows:

Example: Waist 35 inches, Hips 40 inches - 35/40 = 87.5%

This ratio is another indicator of your health and the risk of developing serious health conditions. Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies, who have more weight around the waist, face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies, who have more weight around the hips. This indicator is used as a measurement of obesity which in turn is a possible indicator of other more serious health conditions. You can identify your level of risk in the table below.

Risk Level -----------------Males---------------- Females

Low Risk-----------------95% or Lower------- 80% or Lower

Moderate Risk----------- 96% to 100% --------81% to 85%

High Risk ------------------Over 100%----------- Over 85%

So in the example above, a waist-to-hips ratio of 87.5% is low risk if you are male but high risk if you are female.

Get Moving

Jim Kirwin also provides us with 10 Simple Ideas to get moving now!

Baseline Exercise is a term used to describe the "unplanned" activities of normal living including standing, walking, sitting, housework and lifting light objects. It excludes planned exercise, such as going for a walk or a run or to the gym. We do far less baseline exercise today than we used to and this gradual reduction in physical activity contributes to many of our health problems. To combat the risk that “Sitting is the New Smoking” in your life, you and your organization, need to develop a "moving mindset". Look for opportunities to reduce your sitting and increase your moving throughout the day! Here are 10 simple ideas you can use immediately:

1.       Five Minutes Every Hour: Try to get up and move for five minutes every hour. Build this into your coffee breaks, your lunch and getting to and from work.

2.       Take the Stairs: Everywhere you go take the stairs instead of a lift or elevator. This applies at work, school, college, airports, hospitals and hotels.

3.       Drink Lots of Water: This is good for you but means more visits to the bathroom. Walk to a bathroom further away and take the stairs if you can!

4.       On the Phone: Every time you make or receive a call, stand up and walk around. You'll be amazed how much activity you will accumulate every day!

5.       Walk Meetings: Instead of holding meetings the traditional way, go for a walk. You'll increase your productivity and creativity as well as helping others to move.

6.       Park Your Car Further Away: Instead of parking your car in the closest space, park it further away. This idea can sometimes help you make a quick getaway.

7.       Walk an Extra Stop: If you take a bus, train or tram to work, get on a stop later or off a stop early or both; you may even save some hard earned cash.

8.       Walk the Dog More: I'm sure you could increase the amount of time you spend walking the dog, especially at weekends. Your best friend will thank you!

9.       TV Commercials: You've always wanted a reason to stop watching the ads. Now you have one; stand up and walk around during the ads.

10.   Track Your Steps: It makes sense to track your daily moving to ensure you are doing what you need to. There are many apps or wearable devices you can use.

To book Jim Kirwan for your event, contact Front Row Speakers on +353 1 485 3991 or email

You are what you eat

The Happy Pear also offer their top three eating habits to reboot your health and have you back to feeling fit and fresh!

1. Eat more fruit and vegetables

So if there is one key habit we recommend for having more energy and improving every single part of your overall health – it’s eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre and are the ultimate health food. It is recommended that you get at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but we say eat as much as you like! Just be sure to include plenty of leafy greens for an added fix of iron and calcium and colourful berries for antioxidants. By choosing produce that is in season, you can save money too. We recommend expanding your horizons beyond the average apples, bananas and tomatoes- try out different varieties and new fruit and veg you haven’t had before. Blood oranges, heirloom tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms are just some of our favourites!

2.       Eat whole-grain carbohydrates instead of white carbohydrates

 It’s simple – just replace white carbs such as white bread, pasta and rice with the whole-grain variety for an instant health boost! Whole-grain carbohydrates are those that are unprocessed, and where the whole grain is still intact. These carbohydrates are a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Fibre helps to keep us fuller for longer and is great for encouraging healthy digestion. A fibre-rich diet also helps to protect us from heart disease and reduces our risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

White carbohydrates have been processed and had their outer layer removed in order to improve their shelf-life. This means they are lacking the fibre and goodness that whole-grains provide us and cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Swapping your white toast in the morning for a bowl of fibre-rich porridge will ensure will keep you filled up until lunch time and help you to avoid that dreaded mid-morning slump that has many of us reaching for the cookie jar!

If you find it difficult to make the transition to whole-grain, start out by replacing half of your rice/ pasta/ bread with the whole-grain variety and gradually increase it as time goes by. With time, your entire portion will be whole-grain! And then when buying bread, make sure to buy the 100% whole-grain variety (brown bread can often be white bread simply dyed brown using molasses!).

3. Eat more whole foods and less refined or processed foods

 Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, pulses and legumes are all whole foods that help to take our health and energy levels to the next level.

Our busy modern-day lives mean that pre-packaged convenience food is a popular choice however, these foods are often highly processed and contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Make sure to look at food labels if you do buy anything that is pre-made and watch out for any ingredients that you can’t pronounce or don’t understand. Sugar can be disguised under a variety of different names so avoid anything with ingredients ending in ‘ose’, as this usually indicates that sugar is present.  

Highly refined foods are often referred to as empty calories, as they do not contain any health benefits. These foods are lacking in fibre, so they don’t fill us up for long and their high sugar content means they spike our blood sugar levels and cause us to crash hours later.

Not only are processed foods bad for our waistline, they are also bad for our heart health. Most refined foods contain saturated fat and dietary cholesterol which contribute to heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. By sticking to whole foods, we are helping to keep our heart healthy and happy.

Stephen & David a.k.a The Happy Pear are available for corporate talks and demos, to book Stephen & David Flynn for your event, contact Front Row Speakers on +353 1 485 3991 or email