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Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

You’d like to mingle more with your co-workers, but every opportunity seems centered around eating and drinking. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to integrate your healthy lifestyle with your on-the-job social life, enabling you to boost your social capital while staying true to your health goals.

Studies show that healthy habits are strongly influenced by the people we spend time with, for better or for worse. Don’t let your co-workers’ negative health habits bring you down. Instead, be a positive role model for an active, healthy lifestyle and help build a corporate culture of health from the ground up.

Go For a Walk

  • Invite a co-worker to join you for a quick walk instead of a coffee or smoke break. You’ll have a chance to catch up on work or personal matters, and return to your work stations reenergized and focusing on the tasks at hand. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and creativity.
  • If you have a standing 1:1 meeting, suggest making it a walking meeting and reap the benefits of physical activity while getting the job done.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible and others will likely follow your example.
  • Take it one step further and organize a workplace walking group. Meet before or after work, during breaks or at lunch time for fun, fitness, and camaraderie.
  • Bring your lunches to a nearby park or other outdoor area. After eating, enjoy a walk together.
  • Visit a local bookstore, art gallery, or museum during your lunch break.

Team Training

  • Join a company-sponsored or community sports league and have fun playing basketball, softball, hockey or soccer with your work team.
  • Find a local fitness event, such as a 5K walk/run, walk-a-thon, or sprint triathlon and invite your colleagues to train together for the upcoming event.
  • If your workplace has an onsite gym or fitness classes, or if a nearby gym offers a corporate discount, participate.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded co-workers.
  • Help organize and promote an internal fitness event: Climb stairs to benefit a charity or create a pedometer step challenge.
  • Bicycle or walk to work. Find other employees who get to work on foot or on wheels and commute in together, if possible.
  • Take 2-minute stretch breaks throughout the day together.

Just For Fun

  • Organize a potluck, but bring a healthy dish to share and pay attention to your portion sizes.
  • Play Frisbee® or freeze tag on your lunch break.
  • Organize a weekend company day hike or volunteer to help organize active games at the employee picnic.
  • Volunteer as a work team to plant trees, clean up a park or walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  • If unwinding at a pub after work is part of your workplace culture, join in once in a while. Practice moderation, and if you don’t want to drink, order a sparkling water or orange juice.
  • Invite co-workers to your home for a barbeque and a backyard Badminton tournament.
  • Start an employee bowling league.
  • Invite a co-worker to join you for an after-work run, bicycle ride, or game of racquetball.

Social Success

Developing good relationships with the people you work with is important, not just for your career, but for your health. Don’t let your commitment to good health stop you from getting to know your co-workers. Take the initiative to be active at work and encourage others to join in. When you inspire your co-workers to make physical activity a priority, you create even more of the social support you need to keep yourself moving.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3223/20-active-ways-to-be-social-at-work/

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Employers finding wellness programs can be good for a company’s culture — and bottom line

 

By Daria Meoli, January 4, 2016 at 11:45 AM
(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

When Tiffiny Marinelli founded Energy in Motion, a Rockaway-based business specializing in group exercise instruction and corporate wellness seminars, nearly 20 years ago, she never could have predicted how the demand for her services would change. When she started creating wellness programs in the 1990s, Marinelli worked with big, corporate clients such as AT&T, Lucent and Home Depot to develop wellness perk programs to sweeten the compensation package for employees.

Today, she focuses on the smaller businesses that look to wellness as A way to put a lid on health care costs. “There are many smaller companies with less resources and less ability to drive a culture of wellness within their company,” Marinelli said. The market for corporate wellness products and services has exploded. And with products even Marinelli couldn’t have predicted.

Take The Fruit Guys, a national organic fresh fruit delivery service that started in San Francisco but is expanding rapidly on the East Coast. Drew Dix has been the director of sales development since 2010. According to Dix, who works out of the company’s Maplewood office, The Fruit Guys delivers fresh fruit to more than 4,000 businesses around the country. Dix has had a front-row seat to the emerging wellness trend. “The biggest change we’ve seen is that companies are adopting a new position called a wellness director or a wellness manager, and that did not exist 20 years ago,” he said. “It’s always been in the realm of HR to dictate employee benefits. But the concept of wellness has evolved from a flu shot and an HSA to weight loss, nutrition and fitness programs. That role is still part of HR, but we’ve seen a lot of companies make that a full-time job.”

Companies of all sizes and industries across the state are getting serious about their employee wellness and health improvement programs for many reasons. Healthier employees mean lower insurance rates for employers. More and more companies are designing and implementing health improvement strategies to mitigate the costs of unhealthy employees and avoid the types of high claims that lead to rate hikes. “Health care rates are getting higher and will probably continue to rise,” Marinelli said. “People already are struggling to afford the rates. If you can get employees healthy and you can help them manage their chronic conditions, you will see a huge change in the overall cost of health care benefits.”

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act made wellness a priority for health insurance providers by creating a set of rules mandating providers incentivize corporate wellness programs and reward individuals for engaging in healthy behaviors. Brian Marshall, manager of wellness at the Cranbury-based AmeriHealth, sees the change every day. “The ACA forces us to be creative and inclusive to make sure our wellness incentives are targeting everyone,” he said. “Instead of treating the disease, we want to treat the person. Since the ACA was enacted, there are no costs associated to wellness screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopy and immunizations, and that has opened up preventative care to people who may not have realized it was available before.” AmeriHealth, for example, rewards fitness milestones and healthy behavior by reimbursing individuals for participating in fitness programs, stress management activities, flu shots, dentist visits and parenting classes.

“It’s all self-reported through our online portal, which gets people engaged with managing their own care,” Marshall said. Marshall said he foresees two corporate wellness trends gaining momentum in 2016 .“One trend we are seeing is employer groups are becoming much more active in designing their own programs,” he said. “At one time, corporate clients looked to us as subject matter experts. Now, they look to us as partners in the process and they come to the table with more of an understanding of what most effective strategies for their group would be.”

Marshall also predicts companies will offer more incentives to employees for participating in the wellness programs. These incentives are not just in the form of reduced premiums being passed on to employees, but they will offer time off, better working environments and other perks in exchange for participation. Marinelli has seen the carrot-and-stick approach work for many companies. “Depending on how much money a company has, a wellness program should be incentivized, even if it’s a small amount,” she said.

By way of example, Marinelli said employees might be hesitant about biometric screenings because of privacy concerns. A company should incentivize that initial screening with raffles or gift cards for people who attend. Through the program, the company educates employees on the personal benefits of doing the screening, such as saving a trip to the primary care doctor and getting immediate results. Over time, the company has another screening and promotes it by reminding employees about the positive experience they had at the last screening. But this time, instead of a gift card, you offer to lower their premiums. “It’s a much more effective process than telling employees, ‘If you don’t get this screening, you’ll have to pay more for your premium,’” Marinelli said.

In addition to lowering health care costs, companies continue to leverage wellness as a retention perk. “If you invest in your employees, you get that tangible return as well as less sick days, better morale, (and) higher retention rate,” Dix said. “If you walk into a startup and see pingpong tables and video games, what you are really looking at is a company competing for top talent. Fresh fruit and other wellness perks are also part of an effective retention package.” Marinelli said not all companies are ready to take this approach to wellness. “But, companies that are innovative and can look ahead to see where things are going with regard to health care and they want their companies to survive, they are going to get more serious about wellness,” she said.

Starting an effective wellness program

When a company first launches a wellness program, it’s best to start by dipping a toe in the pool rather than throwing employees into the deep end.
John Gallucci, founder and president of JAG Physical Therapy, an orthopedic physical therapy provider with multiple locations throughout New Jersey, has worked with many corporate clients as part of their employee wellness programs. Gallucchi believes the best way to get started is with educational programs. He says he has led many successful “lunch and learn” sessions on a range of topics, including the health risks of siting all day and how to mitigate them, how to fight dehydration, proper ergonomics and avoiding sports-related injuries. “There are a lot of weekend warriors out there who don’t engage in physical activity all week then go out and play a few pickup games one night and get hurt,” Gallucchi said. “Sports-related injuries contribute to absenteeism and poor productivity.”

Tiffiny Marinelli, founder of Rockaway-based Energy in Motion, suggests kicking off any corporate wellness program with an activity employees will actually look forward to. “If a client is just getting started and they really don’t have a company culture of wellness, the first thing I do is introduce something that is really fun for employees and build on that positive experience,” Marinelli said. “An example could be a stress management program where we bring in a massage therapist, yoga teacher or meditation expert. Other fun ways to get started include a session on how to de-stress at your desk, cooking demonstrations or walking programs.”

Employee wellness is a business strategy and should be treated like one. Marinelli recommends companies establish a mission statement or a business plan for improving the health of their employees. By documenting a plan, businesses can allocate budgets and measure effectiveness of the various aspects of the wellness program.

Marinelli has been in the corporate wellness industry for more than 20 years and said that for a health improvement program to be effective and actually save a money for a company, wellness has to be part of the company culture. “An emphasis on wellness has to come from the top down and executive management has to play a role,” she said. “It’s important that organizational policies promote wellness by encourage healthy choices and educating the employees on health improvement.”

E-mail to: dariam@njbiz.comOn Twitter: @dariameoli

Source: http://www.njbiz.com/article/20160104/NJBIZ01/301049998/resolution-2016-change-of-heart

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Fitness buffs start year with boot camp at Lakeland YMCAIt can be difficult fitting exercise into the daily grind. People come up with so many excuses to keep them from a healthy lifestyle and staying active. Becoming one of the “fitness faithful” may seem out of reach, but guess what? It’s actually a lot easier than you think! Exercise has to become part of your daily and weekly habits and once it is, it’ll become second nature and just another part of your routine. Here are 4 easy ways to make exercising into a sustainable habit, instead of feeling like an occasional chore.

1. Have a Partner

You know those days where you just don’t feel like getting up and stepping out of the house? It becomes more difficult when you have a friend waiting outside, ready to go! Having a workout buddy helps to create a fun atmosphere and gives you someone to share your workout journey with. There are even websites, like sparkpeople.com, where you can get a virtual workout buddy and log/track your progress.

2. Create a Routine

Consistency is the key to creating workout success. Pick at least three days a week at a specific time where you are dedicated to your exercise program. Make sure not to cancel those trips to the gym on a whim, unless it’s something very important. But this should be the exception rather than the rule. If you have to cancel, reschedule for the same day at a different hour or the next day. Planning your workouts into your calendar, just as you would a dinner date or business meeting, will help form and reinforce a habit, leading you to overall fitness success.

3. Make Yourself Accountable

There are many different ways to hold yourself accountable to your actions, so the idea is to find one that is realistic for you. As mentioned above, having a buddy to go with you provides motivation on those days you feel less than motivated and can help keep the energy high. Does money motivate you? There is a website, stick.com where you create a commitement contract to yourself towards achieving a certain goal. If you don’t meet the goal, it costs you money, which you can designate to go to a charity if you chose. Another way is to create a daily reminder. Most phones have free apps that ask you if you have fulfilled a certain activity for that day. Or you can be traditional and just use a calendar. Either way, when faced with a “yes” or “no” question, it’s harder to skip your workout.

4. Reward Yourself

Come up with small rewards for accomplishing your goals and you will be more likely to succeed. Everyone likes positive reinforcement and a reward system will give you something to look forward to for accomplishing your workout goals. Pick something you like and reward yourself with it for good behavior. Say you like going to the movies. After every two weeks, if you haven’t missed a day, take yourself out to see a movie. You will begin to associate hitting your goals with getting to see the next blockbuster, which will help with overall success.

Habits can seem very difficult to form and break, but if you chop them up into smaller activities, they become easier to achieve. Follow these tips and you will be able to form new, healthier habits that will lead you to a life of good health and fitness!

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

Further Reading

Lack of Workout Time? Fitness Dilemma Solved!

Preparing for a Lifestyle Change

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stk134391rkeIn today’s digitally driven world, many of us spend our workdays sitting at a desk, working on a computer. The hazards of sitting too much have now been established by scientific research, and these studies are starting to make headlines. Surprisingly, it’s been found that sitting too much even takes a toll on people who exercise on a regular basis.

Fewer than 20 percent of jobs involve physical exertion, which means that most employees spend eight hours a day or longer in a chair. So the danger of inactivity is difficult to avoid—and is exacerbated by following a desk-bound day with a sedentary evening of watching television, playing video games or sitting around a dinner table, talking.

We sit a lot: at work, in the car, at meetings and on the couch. This translates into a lot more sitting than moving. Sustained sitting contributes to the risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke, among other health problems.

So how do you prevent the damaging effects of sitting too much? Here are some great tips to get you up and moving:

Stand! Make it a habit to stand up during your workday. For example, every time the phone rings, stand up to answer it. Research shows that just by standing periodically, you can significantly better your health. Plus you will feel more alert, focused and energized.

Take stretch breaks. Get together with other colleagues and have regular stretch breaks. Both your body and mind will benefit from improved circulation.

Take regular walks. Make it part of your work schedule to get up every hour and walk for 5 minutes. In an eight-hour day, this translates to 40 minutes and a great calorie burn.

Attend workplace fitness classes. Encourage your company to hire a fitness consultant to get everyone on their feet. (And make sure you note that one of the benefits of fitness will be greater productivity and fewer employee absences!) Many fitness groups offer after-hour classes. It’s a convenient and effective way to get in some exercise, helps keep employees fit, and is an affordable way to keep employer health costs down.

Tiffiny Marinelli is the president of Energy in Motion LLC, which provides convenient and affordable workplace exercise classes for employees. For more information on bringing fitness classes to your workplace, visit einmotion.com, email Info@einmotion.com or call 973-983-9554.

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Whether you’re looking to loose weight, reduce stress, strengthen your body, or get in overall shape, we offer exercise programs to help reach your goal! Our new client in Wayne, NJ is offering 3 exercise classes to choose from. Contact Energy in Motion LLC at info@einmotion.com with any questions. You can also find us on Facebook.

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Whether you’re looking to loose weight, reduce stress, strengthen your body, or get in overall shape, we offer exercise programs to help reach your goal! Check out our Fitness Fusion classes held at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany. Open to all levels and you can join anytime. Contact Energy in Motion LLC at info@einmotion.com with any questions. You can also find us on Facebook.

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There’s an old saying about when most diets start – tomorrow. It’s easy to understand why diets can be put off, over and over again, until they never happen. Even people who understand that diets shouldn’t be temporary and should be a lifestyle change experience this phenomenon; after all, thinking of all the food you’re not planning to have ever is a daunting task.

But getting started on a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that challenging. It’s all about your attitude and your determination. Most healthy people who used to be a lot heavier or less active, when asked about what finally worked, will tell you that they simply made a decision not to live the way they were anymore. Planning is important of course and keeping your motivation up is necessary, but knowing that it is in your control to make the changes is a powerful tool.

Think realistically about your motivation for getting in shape or losing weight. Is it event-based like a family vacation or class reunion? Maybe it’s because your doctor told you to do so. For many of us, it’s when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. Sometimes, we try to lose weight because other people want us to – parents, significant others, etc.

In reality, none of these issues are going to make you successful unless you own them. If your doc said “Lose it!”, you aren’t going to lose weight for your doctor, but you may lose it when you commit to having a healthier body because you want to live longer for your kids and grandkids. Maybe your class reunion sparked a desire to fit into a smaller dress, but it will only really work when you realize that how you look to people you haven’t seen for 20 years is less important than how you see yourself every day.

Many people find that once they start down the road to a healthier lifestyle – if they make it more about the lifestyle and less about the scale or dress size – that they actually start feeling better about themselves almost immediately. You don’t have to reach some imaginary end for it to feel good; you’ll start to feel great simply because you are loving your body and showing it by doing good things to it. That is the key to making a real change.

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