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You may have heard of workplace wellness programs and all of the perks that companies offer their employees to help them stay healthy and present. But maybe, for one reason or another, you’ve never really explored what your company has. Even though employee health is good for your company, the focus is YOU so why not take advantage of it all? Here are three benefits you won’t want to miss out on.

Youthful energy: The carefree spirits and good health associated with young adults can be yours too when you take advantage of all the benefits your wellness program has to offer! These programs typically include benefits that are tailored towards helping you to greater physical health — whether that is giving you free fitness classes, getting you a standing desk, or encouraging noontime walks. Being more active through these activities reduces your risk of a whole sleuth of preventable diseases, like obesity and heart disease! These little fitness-y breaks also help you have higher energy levels, a better mood, and less muscle stress. Really, who can say they wouldn’t like to be more healthy?

Organized fun: That being said, sometimes becoming more healthy is hard. Whether it’s to lose that holiday weight or swim a mile, having others support you as you strive towards your goals increases your likelihood of achieving them. Your coworker might be trying to accomplish the same goal, so you can train together and share tips!

Employee health and wellness programs also help you have a greater sense of community at work through team-bonding (or competitive) activities. Think a friendly baseball game with your coworkers vs employees from a different department, a golf outing with the CEOs, or a whole-company charity walk. It’s always fun to make more friends at work, especially through interesting wellness activities.

Unused cash: Even if you’re generally healthy, it would be silly to not use resources already given to you at free or very discounted rates – and you definitely don’t want to spend money on something that you could get for free. My dad has worked at his company for around 10 years and just found out a year ago that he’s been getting a free gym membership with his employment this whole time 😛 .

Besides saving money through free fitness passes, you might be able to save cash in other ways. At some companies, joining a wellness program will make your health insurance premium less expensive or give you free health services. Ask your company to see what you get!

Employees nowadays often spend their 8-hour days sitting slumped at their desk staring at a computer screen, but you don’t have to be one of those people if you partake in some wellness on the job. A healthier you is a happier you and maybe a more productive, likely-to-be promoted you!

Pictures by Lyvly Ambassador: Highsam A. & Melissa

Lyvly Bee

You may have heard of workplace wellness programs and all of the perks that companies offer their employees to help them stay healthy and present. But maybe, for one reason or another, you’ve never really explored what your company has. Even though employee health is good for your company, the focus is YOU so why not take advantage of it all? Here are three benefits you won’t want to miss out on.

Youthful energyThe carefree spirits and good health associated with young adults can be yours too when you take advantage of all the benefits your wellness program has to offer! These programs typically include benefits that are tailored towards helping you to greater physical health — whether that is giving you free fitness classes, getting you a standing desk, or encouraging noontime walks. Being more active through these activities reduces your risk of a whole sleuth of preventable diseases, like…

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Prolonged sitting is linked to a long list of health issues, including lower-back pain and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Here are seven tips for increasing physical activity in the office.

Contact Energy in Motion to learn how workplace group fitness classes can save time and money. Learn why employees love the convenience of our onsite exercise programs and contact Tiffiny at Energy in Motion to learn how you can bring fitness classes to your workplace. #einmotion

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Many people establish an exercise routine to get into better physical shape. Beyond appearances, though, exercise benefits the mind and body in myriad ways you can’t see in the mirror (or in a selfie). Twenty minutes per day is all you need to reap these benefits of exercise!

Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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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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The warmth of the summer months beckon us to spend time with family and friends outdoors and away from work to enjoy these precious days of sunshine. However, there are challenges to maintaining our mental well-being when these days come. I would like to share with you some facts about working in the summertime, and how you can help your staff feel their best.

Spreading the hours around

A study noted in the Huffington Post found that 26 per cent are not using paid vacation days provided by their employer. The majority of those said it was because they felt they had too much work to do and taking time away would leave them behind in their work. Others are saving their vacation days for emergencies, and still others claimed to not want a vacation. By encouraging staff to take time away, even for a staycation, the benefits in creativity can be reaped when returning with a fresh view and feeling more relaxed. Time away also decreases burnout and subsequently can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Covering for others

According to CMHA Ontario, the summer months of vacation time can be a cause of stress for those filling in for others in their absence. Whether it is on the assembly line or in an office, taking on the job of another, often one that they may have little experience doing, can make those employees feel anxious and stressed. When personal life stressors occur during this time, the pressure at work can seem overwhelming. To make vacations work for everyone, discuss with everyone the upcoming workload so you can plan deadlines around vacation dates. Knowing who is on vacation and when will also help you plan your projects. Ensure staff that is covering for others are clearly aware of new tasks and responsibilities, and check in to see how manageable the workload is while other staff is away.

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder typically affects some in the winter months with shorter and colder days, but there are some individuals who are affected by depression in the summertime. Increased humidity is unbearable for some, who may stay in their air-conditioned home to avoid the heat, and are likely less active as a result. When it’s too hot to cook, many choose to eat out or order in and poor food choices are often made. Changes in routine and schedules can bring on feelings of depression, such as having bored school children or university students now at home. Financial strain with camp and entertainment costs is increased, as well as the costs of going on a destination vacation. Wearing shorts or bathing suits can increase feelings of poor body image, and may inhibit some from joining friends at the beach or poolside. Some signs of summer depression to look for in your staff could include difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, and feelings of anxiety. One way to stave off symptoms of depression is to maintain physical fitness, so encourage employees to use their employee discount at the air-conditioned gym, even for the summer months. Another way to maintain mental wellness is to stay connected, so hosting a BBQ for staff to enjoy each other’s company outside of the workplace and engage with each other in a social environment helps build camaraderie, minimize isolation and enhance work relationships.

I hope you take the time to enjoy your summer, with your co-workers, family and friends!

via Keeping Your Cool in the Workplace this Summer — Charles Benayon

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Working OutWith class schedules expanding at gyms around the country and boutique fitness studios booming, it’s clear that people are flocking to group fitness classes—and with good reason. Group fitness classes offer the opportunity to experience movement in positive, memorable, and purposeful ways, inspiring meaningful change both physically and mentally.

Here are the top five reasons people love group fitness classes, and why you will, too.

1. Expert guidance with no guesswork

One of the main reasons people are drawn to group fitness is the expert guidance they receive from certified instructors. An exceptional group fitness instructor is proficient in the art of creating enjoyable movement experiences that keep participants committed to their health and wellness journeys. There’s no guesswork when it comes to how to structure your workout session— the GFI has done the work for you.

2. Accountability to create a workout routine

The fact that group fitness classes occur on a set day and time works wonders with creating structure around physical activity, even for people who struggle with workout consistency. As opposed to hoping you’ll make it to the gym at some point during the day, choosing a class to attend and signing up in advance creates a greater sense of accountability and enables you to plan your day around your workout (and your health!).

3. Social support and so much more

The feeling of being part of something bigger and the camaraderie forged in group fitness classes is something that quite simply can’t be replicated. Group fitness classes exude positivity, and serve as a welcome invitation for people of all different ages, backgrounds, and ability levels to come together in one inclusive experience to move with passion and intention, all without judgement or expectation.

4. Explore movement in a new way

If you find yourself stuck in a fitness rut, group fitness can be a perfect option for adding variety to your routine, while also ensuring a well-rounded approach to exercise. Do you dread the idea of running on a treadmill to get your cardio in? Try attending a dance-based fitness class to improve endurance while burning just as many, if not more, calories. Feeling uninspired to focus on your flexibility? Try a yoga class to improve your range of motion and enhance your movement quality.

5. Fitness and fun rolled into one

Hands down one of the most commonly cited reasons people choose to attend group fitness classes is because of the fun factor. Group fitness classes prove the old saying “no pain, no gain,” couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, an effective workout can and should be a fun one, as the more enjoyment you experience during exercise; the more likely you are to stick with a regular routine of physical activity.

Contact Energy in Motion for more information on bringing exercise classes to your workplace.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/5892/5-reasons-people-love-group-fitness-classes-and?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ACE-Fit-Life-04-13-2016&utm_content=Consumer+Outreach&spMailingID=25230537&spUserID=NjU5NTYyNDEwMjUS1&spJobID=782085234&spReportId=NzgyMDg1MjM0S0

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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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