To explore the benefits physical activity can have on employee well-being as well as an employers’ bottom line, we posed a series of questions to Dom DiLuigi, M.A., a training expert and innovator in functional health.
You use the term “functional health” when describing healthy lifestyle goals. Can you please define the concept for us?
DiLuigi: “Applied Health,” or “Functional Health,” in a nutshell means the utilization of both the mind and body to everyday tasks rather than relying on technology or the path of least resistance to get through one’s day.
There is an application for ‘Societal Tools,’ but when a person becomes dependent on them rather them using them as needed, he or she can slip into a dependence situation quickly, not unlike using medications when one needs them vs. being a hypochondriac.
It’s important to use and challenge both the mind and body daily in order to keep them in tune and nimble. In a society where most people under 30 can no longer drive a manual transmission car or do math in their head, we have a problem.
Use it or lose it!
What are some of the benefits for businesses when employees are physically active?
It depends on the starting point of each person. Today, here in ‘economically developed’ nations, people seem to come in one of two flavors, hypo- or hyper-active. Those that park up close as they can in a parking lot to get to the building in the least number of steps and go home, and those that do the same thing at health clubs, only to get on the first cardio machine and sit on it for an hour plus.
I don’t separate mental activity from physical activity, so I’d have to say, mental stimulation would come first, and physical, second. Both are relative to a person’s background, general profile and lifelong habits.
In a generic sense, there’s been much research already done on the matter. What I would say is that everything should be promoted in moderation, balance and nothing to excess.
The immediate benefits of a flexible, mental, or physical activity session at work (or before and after) include effectively staying off stagnation throughout the body, thus helping to maintain balance, which is the key to prolonged health and productivity.
Also, physical activity helps people stay off the ‘anything addictive-a-holic’ syndrome that so many people suffer from in economically developed societies (which those coming up through agrarian societies don’t have to contend with).