PHA's Sneakers Friday encourages working professionals to achieve overall health and wellness by sitting less


According to the Philippine Heart Association(PHA) and the husband and wife tandem of fitness gurus, Jim and Toni Saret, the simplest guideline to achieve overall health and wellness would be to “sit less and move more.”



PHA is thus encouraging Filipinos, especially working professionals, to improve their physical and mental well-being through its recently-launched health and wellness campaign called “Sneakers Friday.” The ultimate goal of this campaign is to encourage the corporate sector to integrate more physical activity into the office despite the hectic pace and to transform the corporate sector as the paragon of good workplace health.

“Sneakers Friday” capitalizes on promoting physical activity. It is meant to promote workplace health and wellness where employees are encouraged to wear sneakers, casual top and pants every Friday as a “dress down day.”



The PHA’s “Sneakers Friday” campaign builds on the perspective that individuals have the ability to adopt healthy lifestyles when supported by a conducive workplace environment that promotes “healthy eating, healthy habits, and physical and mental fitness.”

The “Sneakers Friday” initial campaign was spearheaded by medical professionals and cardiovascular experts themselves last November 2017 with the Makati Medical Center as its launch site, followed by The Medical City wherein every last weekday was officially declared as “Sneakers Friday.” Last May 22, 2018, the “Sneakers Friday” campaign was officially launched nationwide.

High health risks among working professionals

There is a direct correlation between time spent sitting and the risk of early mortality due to any cause. In a nutshell, as total sitting time increases, so does the risk of an early death. Sitting for around eight hours a day at the workplace increases the risk of contracting heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 40 percent.

A vast majority of the world population belongs to the working age group. This group is always in front of the computer, either for work or as a form of recreation. Being glued to their seats (and screens) for close to eight hours, these working professionals lead sedentary lifestyles while taking on different forms of stress, leading to unhealthy eating (or stress eating) and lifestyle.



Most of these people are unable to engage in physical activities for their physical and mental well-being.  In worse cases, some do not have the means to cope with stress and maintain mental health.

Eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding vices like alcohol and cigarettes are ways of preventing major lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, diabetes and cancers. However, awareness and practices of these healthy habits are still low among the working populace.

A holistic approach to fitness

In order to attain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to incorporate wellness in all aspects of one’s life, including in the workplace. Corporate wellness generates many positive outcomes for the employees as well as the company.

Even simple activities such as walking (or brisk walking, with 100 steps per minute) has so many powerful health benefits. When done correctly and regularly, walking can be a key to losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, boosting memory, and reducing the risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.

Walking could be done effortlessly without interrupting corporate work. One can also choose to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator or when one parks the car, choose the farthest end so you’d have more time to walk.

Wellness support at work

There are countless benefits of incorporating a wellness program like “Sneakers Friday” in the workplace. It can contribute to productivity because it relieves employee stress, as well as promoting camaraderie among employees.

Incorporating the Sneakers Friday campaign is great for promoting employee fitness and health. Taking part in physical fitness activities is proven to lower the chances of contracting diseases, which in return will ultimately lower health care costs both for employees and the company.



Setting time aside for employees to exercise can help reduce stress and overall sitting time. Exercise also releases endorphins (happy hormones) resulting to feelings of happiness and more vigor.

Furthermore, employees get to know fellow employees outside their work areas. With a great group activity that allows co-workers to get to know each other better, employees will get the benefits of physical activity and the socialization that comes along with the group exercise.

Through the “Sneakers Friday” campaign, and with other healthy habits and lifestyle, the PHA looks forward to seeing happier and heart healthier Filipinos.

PHA is a non-stock, non-profit organization of 1,780 Filipino cardiologists that is committed to fostering exceptional cardiovascular education and primary care for all Filipinos.

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