Fitter, happier, more productive

A healthier lifestyle could make you a better manager. And not just because there'll be more biscuits for your staff.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

As you’ll no doubt be aware, it’s hard work being a manager: it can be stressful, frustrating and time-consuming. So it’s perhaps no surprise that people’s health can sometimes suffer as a result. According to a BUPA survey of senior employees, one in four were failing to exercise at least once a week, and nearly two-thirds were clinically overweight – that is, they have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 25. To make matters worse, one in ten still hadn’t given up smoking.

The only bit of good news, health-wise, was that at least the pressures of management weren’t driving them to drink. A mere 4% admitted to drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol (28 units) in any given week. Or at least – that’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

Now you may be thinking that if you want to eat, smoke or even drink yourself into the ground, that’s up to you. But according to BUPA, this kind of sloth can have an effect on your workforce – your bad habits can rub off on them.

Equally, an unhealthy boss who changes his ways can inspire their team. As BUPA Wellness medical director Dr. Peter Mace puts it: ‘If a manager is seen to be making their health a priority by making changes to their diet and lifestyle, it will encourage employees to do the same and benefit the business because of a healthier workforce.’

What we need is some high-profile leaders to set a good example. Take Mike Ashley, for instance. As we’ve clearly seen from his appearance in those skin-tight Newcastle shirts (at least we think they’re meant to be skin-tight), the Sports Direct founder’s BMI apparently leaves a little to be desired. And having just appointed a new manager, it’s a perfect time to inspire the troops. So why not get himself down to Newcastle’s training ground to take part in Kevin Keegan’s training sessions for the next few weeks?

Based on the club’s current squad, he could even find himself getting picked in centre midfield by the end of the month...

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