It wouldn’t be a spoiler to tell you that in the very first episode of the HBO series Succession, the CEO of a major media corporation suffers a serious health scare that threatens to upend his company. That medical emergency sets off all manner of corporate chess games, alliances and backstabbing as his adult children fight to take his place.
Sure, the boardroom drama is amped up for television. But it isn’t a big stretch from the real world, where a company’s image and standing are closely tied to the well-being of its senior leadership.
February is American Heart Month, which is an especially important reminder for everyone to take cardiovascular health seriously. But for people in high-stress upper management positions—particularly men, who are more prone to stress-related risk factors—a healthy heart is paramount to a strong and productive business.
Increasingly, studies show men in executive leadership face some serious health challenges because of the high stress of their jobs:
- Business leaders are at high risk of heart disease, according to Corporate Wellness Magazine.
- 73% live sedentary lifestyles, according to a Tufts University cardiology survey of 200 patients, many of whom were Fortune 500 executives.
- 82% are overweight and 58% are at high cardiac risk, according to the CEO Health and Wellness Survey.
- The cost to replace a corporate executive can be up to 213% of his/her annual salary, according to Business Office Systems, Inc.
There are several things you can start including in your daily routine to protect your heart health, such as:
- Moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
- A diet including whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats or other protein sources.
- Cutting back on alcohol if you drink more than one alcoholic drink per day.
- Find methods to reduce stress while at work, such as practicing breathing techniques at your desk or taking a break for a walk.
You should also be checking in regularly with your medical provider to monitor your heart health.