The Power of Compound Choice; Linking Wellness to Performance

Linking Wellness to Performance - People Development Network
Linking Wellness to Performance - People Development Network

Linking wellness to performance

When we think of having to change our habits with a view to improving our health, we often think of monumental changes that will need to be made; an additional hour of exercise to be slotted into the day, effort eating healthy foods… It’s no wonder that so many people opt out of making changes but what many don’t realise is that compound interest not only applies to finances but to health too.

For instance if in a day you took the stairs up and down the office instead of the lifts. A 160-lb. person expends 29 calories in 3 minutes walking up stairs. Climbing those stairs four times a day would burn 116 calories. Let’s say you typically eat a pie and coke for lunch. Continuing with the pie but having water instead would save you a whopping 180 calories. If your usual daily consumption was typically around 2500 calories, with just the stairs and water swap you’d be down to almost 2200 without even trying and you’d have saved yourself an afternoon slump as a result of the sugar rush filled would-be coke.

Consider the potential compounded effect of; taking the cheese off your burger (yes, every time you ate a burger), eating a burger without fries, walking from the bus to the office, walking to meetings, having walking or standing meetings, swapping a coffee for a water every second drink during the day…each choice (and there are infinitely many) in each moment adds up to a substantial future value saving. Calculate that over a month, a year, two years…? Add to that the effects of increased basal metabolic rate as a result of improved fitness over time and well I’d say that’s one hell of an investment.

So yes, it’s a good investment but why does this matter apart from the obvious benefits of eating less, exercising more.

Take the above choices and throw proper sleep into the equation, as opposed to the broken sleep so many suffer from, and you’ve got yourself a formula for success. I mention success specifically because often people tend to associate wellness with a leaner waistline and perhaps more attention from the opposite sex but wellness is not often associated with success in a professional context. Of course the correlation has been made between (un)wellness and time off from work but very rarely has the opposite been focused upon; wellness results in increased professional performance. The brain needs nutrition and blood flow just as much as the muscles. Nutrition filled foods such as high protein foods help the brain stay alert;

“Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach. So far, so obvious. Now here’s the part we rarely consider: Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate…” ~ Harvard Business Review

Another factor not often considered in corporate wellness is the link in human engagement. Ask any successful entrepreneur or corporate ranking top performer and they will tell you that relationships are vital for success. Exercise evaluates mood which, in turn, promotes interpersonal relationships. Forget the science, common sense dictates an individual full of vitality is far more likely to engage with others than someone who feels depressed, overweight, lethargic or generally demotivated.

So in as much as the compound effect of our choices have an effect on our wellness, so too do these compound choices affect various other avenues of our lives. It’s essential that individuals and organisations begin to see the link between wellness and professional performance. It’s not simply a matter of possibly having a lower rate of illness and absenteeism. It’s a matter of professional and organisational performance. Now that’s something worth paying attention to.

Who’s for a cup of herbal tea?

Until next time


Lisa Steingold

Lisa Steingold

Lisa is a performance coach passionate about helping others to live optimally and get professional results from optimum wellness. She is the author of six books (including Carbs, Curves and Everything in Between) and has contributed to CNBC Africa, Psychologies, Shape Magazine and The Star Workplace. Lisa is also currently a mentor for The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. She regularly consults to individuals and organisations on the topics of engagement, wellness and performance.
Lisa Steingold

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