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The role of HR Directors in prioritising executive health

Discover how prioritising executive health through preventive medicine and stress management can lead to enhanced performance and business success.

Executives lead demanding, fast-paced lifestyles. Stress, burnout, lifestyle-related diseases and frequent travel can take a toll on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Organisations must recognise the importance of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of their executive teams to help them to thrive in their personal lives and equip them with the resilience and vitality needed to excel in their professional lives. In 2012, a Mayo Clinic study found that 53% of executives attending Executive Health assessments had clinically significant findings.

The role of preventive medicine in enhancing executive wellbeing and performance

A notable trend in healthcare is the emphasis on preventive measures over reactive treatment. Preventive medicine helps specialists to accurately identify existing health problems, as well as detecting those that may arise ahead of visible symptoms.

Executive Health services provide executives with a comprehensive insight into their health and a personalised plan to support optimal health and wellbeing. These programmes are carefully designed with the demanding executive lifestyle in mind. By adopting this proactive approach, executives are able to enjoy many healthy years doing what they love in their personal and professional lives.

The health and wellbeing of executives profoundly impacts business performance. Healthy executives are more productive, resilient, and engaged. This helps to foster an environment conducive to enhanced decision making and innovation within organisations. Prioritising executive health initiatives can also lead to tangible benefits such as reduced absenteeism, improved retention rates and the cultivation of a positive corporate culture that attracts top talent and drives organisational success.

Understanding stress: its significance and impact

Stress emerges as a primary challenge for many executives. Prolonged chronic stress can have detrimental effects on every system in the body. This can lead to a number of problems, such as cardiovascular issues, digestive disorders and compromised immune function.

Dr Debar, an Executive Health doctor at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London, emphasises the importance of managing stress for maintaining overall health and wellbeing. “Experiencing stress is a normal part of everyday life. However, Mayo Clinic Healthcare experts emphasise the importance of knowing how the stress cycle works to manage stress and maintain good health.”

“The stress cycle begins when someone experiences a stressor, such as work-related pressures, and the body mounts a stress response. The adrenal gland increases cortisol production, resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and muscle tension. As the body prioritises survival mode, it downregulates the digestive and reproductive systems in order to divert the body’s energy to triggering the fight or flight response, and the immune system goes into inflammatory mode.”

“Once the body no longer perceives the stressor as a threat, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and bodily functions all return to normal. The stress cycle is complete.”

Dr Debar explains “when the body completes a stress cycle quickly, there is no long-term wear and tear on the body. It can even help build resilience and teach the body how to cope with similar stressful experiences in the future.”

The problem is that executives consistently under stress may find it challenging to complete a full stress cycle as they encounter one stressor after another. “When the whole stress cycle doesn’t complete, the ability to regulate stress levels is slowly affected. Two things may then result: you can experience prolonged periods of stress where your body is in fight or flight mode, or you have an inadequate response to stress or show no response.”

Dr Debar says that both situations have internal hidden impacts that affect every system in the body, including the heart, immune system, reproductive system and gut.

The role of Executive Health

Preventive healthcare can help to mitigate the health risks associated with demanding and fast-paced lifestyles. Executive Health Programmes are one of the best ways to prevent health problems ahead of visible symptoms keeping leadership teams healthy, happy and performing at their very best.

Backed by over 50 years of experience in delivering executive health services, Mayo Clinic Healthcare understands how important investing in health is for maintaining business success.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic Healthcare’s Executive Health Services in London here.


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