The Well-Being Journal

Lincoln Industries: A Case for Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

Recently, CFO magazine published a story on Lincoln Industries inspired by the findings of a new study done by Lincoln Industries in conjunction with Healthways and the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO). This study, featured in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is among the first peer- reviewed research evaluating the effectiveness of worksite health and wellness programs offered by a small employer. Findings support the premise that high-quality employee wellness programs in small businesses improve employee health and well-being, which drives organizational outcomes such as absenteeism, healthcare costs and disability claims.

The study shows a phenomenal corporate culture of health at Lincoln Industries, adopted by the company years ago. Lincoln adopted a culture of health years ago. Its leadership realized that to take its wellness program to the next level, there needed to be a stronger emphasis on well-being, focusing on the whole person, not just physical health. To gain a better understanding of the needs of their population and identify areas of opportunity, they began using the Healthways Well-Being Assessment™ (WBA). The WBA assesses physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, life evaluation, and basic access to food, shelter, healthcare and other necessities, and provides management with a comprehensive, holistic view of the health and well-being of their employees.

The study marks an important step toward broadening the workplace well-being impact beyond just large businesses. Small businesses, which stand to benefit from financial incentives provided by healthcare reform legislation, are in need of guidance regarding their investment in programs that deliver results.

Lincoln is a great example of how to do it right. They make well-being a part of individual objectives, and as a the result, they’ve seen a 5 to 1 ROI in wellness programs. They achieved an 87 percent response rate on the Well-Being Assessment (without incentives). Additionally, approximately 99 percent of employees complete regular health screenings with the majority of the workforce participating in wellness programs throughout the year. They’ve successfully reduced tobacco use, significantly reduced workers compensation costs, and have consistently managed to beat the national average on health insurance rates by $3000 per employee.

So how do they do it? Watch the interviews below where their Director of Wellness, Safety and Life Enhancement, Tonya Vyhildal talks with us in about the well-being improvement programs at Lincoln Industries. For a more detailed dive into their successes, watch her complete presentation from the Healthways Well-Being Summit here.

As a leader in well-being, how do you promote well-being internally?

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IXxgmNy1AE']

How do you tie well-being into individual objectives?

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What impact have well-being programs had on your organization?

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOqXSuj_kQU']

Why do you include well-being as a performance measure?

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlcf9NSsOb8']

Talk about the HERO paper published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine,

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78_XyVTSkvA']

What's the one thing you'd tell an employer looking to move to well-being?

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di2jd1Q9hEc']

Topics: Return on Investment Well-Being HERO Tonya Vyhildal Nebraska Workplace Well-Being Business Performance Competitive Advantage Prevention wellbeing and health Wellness Lincoln Industries Healthways Wellness Program Well-being Assessment

NPT Reports: Children's Health Crisis: Mental Health

Jennifer Rudloff

I’ll be honest – I’m not much of a blogger. It’s not that I have anything against it – I guess I just needed to find something I felt was blog-worthy. That part was easy.

It’s been a year and half now since the Healthways Foundation in conjunction with Nashville Public Television, the Nashville Healthcare Council, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, launched a seven-part documentary series (NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis) to explore the challenges children in Tennessee face in order to lead healthy lives. Our statistics are alarming - here is just a small sampling:

  • TN ranks 41st in overall child well-being.
  • 41% of Tennessee children are overweight or at risk for being overweight.
  • Tennessee has the 4th highest infant mortality rate in the United States.

The series Emmy Award-winning documentary series will run over three years and continues to focus on key issues ranging from high infant mortality rates to obesity to mental health issues. Bottom line, we hope that this documentary spurs community-wide interest and conversations that will lead to solutions.

Beth Curley, president and chief executive officer of NPT, puts it best when she stated “It's not a child's fault if she or he is overweight, or in poor general health as a result of improper nutrition, lack of inoculations or inadequate exercise. The situation has become too dire to lay blame, though, and we feel this documentary series is the best way to reach the community-at-large. This isn’t only a problem for parents, teachers, caregivers or the medical community. It’s everyone’s concern. The ramifications for not addressing this crisis now will be significant.”

The next episode, which addresses mental health issues, airs this coming Wednesday, June 29 at 8pm. For those of you in Nashville or the surrounding area, that’s on channel 8. Please tune-in and learn more about the crisis we face. For those of you outside the viewing area or unable to watch tonight, this documentary will be made available online. The future of our beloved community depends on us collaborating and finding the right solutions to offset this epidemic.

Thank you for listening, tuning-in and caring enough to do something about the crises we face. Oh, and thank you for being a part of my first blogging experience. I could get used to this.

Want to learn more or watch other reports from the series? Simply click here for more information on NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UQ_TVyWdVw

Topics: Mental Health In the News Emmy Award-Winning NPT Reports Children's Health Prevention Events Healthways Foundation

Well-Being Defined

Jennifer Rudloff

When Gallup and Healthways made a pact to improve the health of the American people in late 2007, we knew we needed a broader definition of health. Our intuition told us there was more to impacting the lives of people than just badgering them into preventing disease. After all, the past collective efforts of the field had not produced stellar results. Think about the current statistics: 67% of adult Americans are overweight or obese; 60% don’t exercise; 82% report having at least moderate stress, 21% still smoke and 56% have at least one chronic illness. Albert Einstein was widely quoted as saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Unfortunately, it seems that in improving the health of Americans over the last 40 years we are all guilty of a little insanity. So, Healthways and Gallup wanted to think bigger and broader. But then came the dilemma. What was it we were trying to impact and measure? The answer – well-being.

In our view, well-being was broader and more encompassing than just health but a complete definition still proved illusive. Then, one of our board members took us back to 1946 and the preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization. In this document we found the following statement:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Knowing what I know now I might change it just slightly to say, “Well-being is a state of complete physical, mental, and social health and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Either way, you get the drift. This definition really helped us get our head around well-being. However, we still needed a little more meat on the bones. Working with Gallup we identified six domains of well-being which include the following:

  • Life Evaluation – on a scale of 1 – 10, how a person feels about their general life today and how they think they will feel in five years
  • Physical Health – the amount of acute and chronic illnesses people experience
  • Emotional health – how much people experience happiness, stress, anger, and even depression, among other emotions
  • Healthy Behavior – how often people exercise, eat properly, consume alcohol, smoke and observe other proper or improper health habits
  • Work Environment – how much support people receive at work and how they perceive they are treated
  • Basic Access – the access people have to basic necessities such as food and shelter, but also the access they have to elements of a supportive environment, such as a safe place to exercise or affordable fresh fruits and vegetables

This basic definition of well-being gave birth to the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index® (WBI). Since January 2008, the WBI surveys 1,000 adults nationwide each day (major holidays excluded) which takes over 26,000 calls per day to complete. We recently launched the WBI in the UK and Germany as well. In the US we now have over 1.5 million surveys completed which has continued to help us define well-being and understand what improving it means, both in terms of health impact and in terms of personal and business performance. While our definition will continue to be fine tuned, we already have some incredible insights that I will share with you through future blogs. For starters, take a look at the path analysis performed using WBI data and presented in the graphic below as an example:

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a concern to which we can all relate. Simple physics tells us that controlling BMI is strictly a matter of balancing calories consumed versus calories burned. But more recently we have accepted findings that stressors can cause other physiological changes in the body that make our systems more conducive to gaining weight. Fair enough. This still has an explanation rooted in physiology. Yet, as you can see from the graphic above, we have been able to correlate many other social and emotional factors to BMI. Is it likely for instance that the amount of recognition a person gets at work changes their physiology to the point that he or she gains or looses weight? Probably not! But does it have a correlation to BMI? According to this path analysis, unequivocally yes! So does this tell us we have a lot more to learn – absolutely! Does this show incredible promise in understanding how to improve the well-being of Americans including their physical health? Without a doubt!

Just by looking at BMI we can see the definition of well-being must be broad because its reach is extensive. The WBI continues to demonstrate that well-being is a state of complete physical, mental, and social health and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, and the inter-related nature of its domains are immense. I will provide much more on our findings and the topic of well-being in the months ahead. In the meantime, soak this in and give me your thoughts.

Does this resonate with you conceptually? Do you put credence in what the WBI is telling us thus far? Do you have any reason to think this is totally off base? Do you have some examples to share of well-being in action? We really want to know!

Topics: Well-Being Index Prevention

Men’s Health Month

Jennifer Rudloff

Men: June is all about us (ladies, you’ll have your turn). We take the time to celebrate our fathers, showering them with gifts of love and appreciation. And all month is devoted to our health. Men’s Health Month is celebrated each June in an effort to increase awareness of preventable diseases. Many chronic illnesses affect whole generations of men. Nearly 1 out of every 2 adults is impacted by at least one chronic disease, most of which are preventable. This is not only costly to each citizen and the US economy, but it also robs us of years of quality life. Education and awareness are the first steps towards action; and Men’s Health Month provides a nice opportunity to educate, reflect, and start down a path of prevention. But don’t be mislead! To actually prevent these illnesses men must take personal responsibility to make the necessary behavior changes.

It’s important to know what we’re up against. The findings in the table below from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® show the prevalence of some of the most common chronic diseases among men:

Chronic Disease Percentage of Adult Men
High Blood Pressure 30.4%
High Cholesterol 27.5%
Depression 12.5%
Asthma 9.2%
Diabetes 10.9%
Cancer 6.5%
Heart Attack 5.5%

One action every man can easily take is to get regular checkups from a medical professional. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. Men’s Health Month implores all men to visit the doctor and seek medical advice and treatment. Men need to do this early and regularly to help combat the chronic diseases affecting our gender. The second step is to take some time to honestly assess your current behaviors. As a leader, it’s important that you lead by example. Start by asking yourself:

  • Do I smoke?
  • Do I exercise regularly?
  • What are my eating habits like? Am I eating enough fruits and vegetables?
  • Do I consume too much alcohol?
  • Do I drink enough water (8 cups of water a day is recommended)?

If you find yourself answering in the negative to any of these questions, it’s time to come up with a plan of action to make your life better. Smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, and excessive consumption of alcohol are all directly related to the development of chronic diseases that affect men. Enlist the help of your loved ones – your parents, your partner, your children, your friends, and even your coworkers – to help keep you on track in taking the actions that will help you be more energetic today and healthier tomorrow. You are in charge of the direction of your life and Men’s Health Month is the perfect time to start making positive decisions that will redirect the course of your life.

Men’s Health Month has provided us with a great foundation from which we can begin to improve our well-being, adopt healthier habits throughout the year and encourage others to do the same. Here are few recommendations to help you and your people get started and stay on track:

  • Exercise is of key importance in the prevention of chronic diseases. Running or even walking is a great way to get active and stay active. Try organizing walking groups at lunch for your employees and track your progress with MeYou Health’s fun and interactive iPhone app, Monumental.
  • If you’re a smoker or have friends or co-workers who smoke, visit QuitNet.com for support and tips on how to help kick your smoking habit.
  • Check out Munch-5-a-day or EveryDRINK from MeYou Health. Also, sign up for the MeYou Health Daily Challenge that will send you simple daily health challenges in many areas of well-being. Challenge your people to do the same. You might strike up a little healthy competition in the process.

So for all of our readers – I want to know, how are you going to lead by example? What action are you going to take to change your lifestyle so that you can live a long, happy and healthy life? Leave your comments below. In the meantime I am off to the mountain bike trails. Perhaps I will see your there!

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Health Prevention MeYou Health Mens Health Wellness Medical Costs & Utilization

National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy

Jennifer Rudloff

Today members of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, will release the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. This marks the beginning of America’s movement away from a healthcare system that focuses on the sick and chronically diseased, in favor of a system that will put emphasis on prevention and wellness and will help to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

Today, 70% of chronic disease is preventable and nearly ½ of all adults have at least one chronic disease. Healthcare.gov states, “Focusing on preventing disease and illness before they occur will create healthier homes, workplaces, schools and communities so that people can live long and productive lives and reduce their healthcare costs.” Every American has a role in creating a healthier nation. Our communities, and economy will reap the rewards.

The National Prevention Strategy includes actions for the public and private sectors. The strategy outlines four strategic directions and they are as follows:

  • Build Healthy and Safe Community Environments: Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor's office.
  • Expand Quality Preventive Services in Both Clinical and Community Settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs.
  • Empower People to Make Healthy Choices: When people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices.
  • Eliminate Health Disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans.

So what? This is an important step for our nation. For the first time, we are seeing a visible commitment to health and well-being and a national strategy to that includes both the public and the private sectors working together to create positive change. Also, the government has a collaborative strategy in which 17 federal agencies will work together! This will help to assure cost savings and quality improvement for our citizens.

To read more about the announcement, visit:
www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention06162011a.html.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being In the News Healthcare Health Promotion Community Prevention National Prevention Health Promotion National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy Public Health Council Preventative Services Government Health Conditions

National Employee Wellness Month

Jennifer Rudloff

The third annual National Employee Wellness Month (NEWM) kicked off on June 1st nationwide in an effort to promote existing healthy living programs and share successful strategies for corporate health initiatives. NEWM gives employers a great opportunity to jumpstart or enhance your company’s well-being programs and maybe even try out some new initiatives. If properly administered, these programs will not only have the potential to lower healthcare costs, but they will also ultimately create happier, healthier and better performing employees.

As a proud sponsor of NEWM, Healthways is implementing our own initiatives to improve our employees’ well-being on a number of levels, and encourage everyone to be healthy and social. Here are a few of the things we’ve put in place.

  • Fitness classes: We are offering our colleagues a variety of fitness classes on site to fit their schedules. They can choose to exercise before work, at lunch, or at the end of the workday.
  • ‘Workout Wednesdays,’ allow and encourage employees to wear workout gear to the office to help remove some of the barriers to exercise. We also offer additional fitness classes on these days and encourage group walks.
  • Walking workstations: our employees can get away from their desks and get moving by working from one of our walking work station treadmills.
  • Healthier and Fresher Food: In addition to providing healthy options in our Café, we’ve also startedan herb garden on site which our chef can pull from, and we offer a weekly farmers market for employees to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • We offer Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes to employees to help them better manage their stress.
  • All of our many web-based, telephonic coaching, and disease management programs are available to our colleagues, just going to show it is so good we eat our own cooking
  • Company sports leagues: We help employees form teams for local sports leagues. Employees often gather together at lunch to practice in the courtyard.

In addition to our own workplace initiatives, we have launched Healthways|Blue Zones Vitality Cities, a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in the Southern California’s Beach City Health District. Read more about what we’re doing to help communities.

When talking about workplace well-being initiatives, it’s important to note that success often requires a cultural shift that starts with leadership but is accepted at all levels of the organization. As discussed in a previous post, “wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation.” A new study finds a disconnect between employers and employees regarding wellness initiatives. The report found that 42 percent of employees say that their bosses do not look out for their physical health enough, while only 14 percent of management thinks the same. National Employee Wellness Month provides a wonderful opportunity for employers to open up a dialogue about well-being with their employees and renew their commitment to wellness in the eyes of their people.

**NOTE: Healthways was recently chosen to be one of Baltimore’s Healthiest Employers by the Baltimore Business Journal. To read about some of the initiatives that helped land us on this list, click here >>

What are some well-being initiatives you are thinking of or already have in place? What kind of wellness initiatives would you like to see implemented within your organization?

Topics: Well-Being Company Workplace Well-Being Healthcare Business Performance Health Competitive Advantage Prevention wellbeing and health How to Improve Employee Performance Health in the Workplace National Employee Wellness Month Wellness Healthways Employee Performance Improvement

How to Live Happier and Healthier Longer

Jennifer Rudloff

We launched Healthways|BlueZones Vitality Cities as a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in Southern California’s Beach Cities to help people live longer, better. Here are some facts that inspired this project and drove a community to take action:

  • Discover your Purpose: People who know why they wake up in the morning live seven years longer than those who don’t.
  • Discover and share your values: People who discover and embrace their values, passions, and talents (and share them regularly) live up to 4 years longer.
  • De-stress: Turn stress-shedding strategies into daily routines. This will help you avoid major age related diseases.
  • Eat Wisely: Those who adopt concrete health habits about their food intake live up to 8 years longer than those who don't.
  • Don’t skip your Vegetables: The healthiest cultures on earth eat a few more plants and a little less food.
  • Snack on nuts: Eating about a handful of nuts a day could add 2-3 years to your life.
  • Enjoy wine daily: Individuals who drink 1-2 glasses of wine a day outlive those who don’t.
  • Move Naturally: Find ways to make yourself walk more! Park further away, walk your dog, do your yard and house work. This can help you gain up to 4 years of life expectancy.
  • Discover a sense of belonging: Those invested in a positive, committed relationship can add up to 3 years of life expectancy.

As part of the Vitality Cities initiative, we’re helping residents of the beach cities community achieve these goals. Some of the programs we have in place include:

  • Vitality City Purpose workshops: These workshops are designed to help people understand their strengths and articulate their purpose. They help people discover new energy for life and connect individuals to volunteer opportunities where community members can apply their strengths to helping others.
  • Walking Moais: Moai comes from Okinawa, Japan and it means “meeting for a common purpose”. It originated as a way for villages to support each other in times of need. Vitality city Moai walking Teams encourage that same social support while adding the physical benefits of walking.

This initiative is just beginning and there are many more programs to come. There’s been a tremendous response from the community and local employers. The first walking Moai program has been a hit; In April more than 1000 beach cities residents formed walking teams and have been walking weekly with friends (new and old) ever since. In addition, some local employers were inspired and have launched walking moais at work. More than 200 workplace walkers at companies like AAMCO, Aerospace, Body Glove Crowne Plaza, and Redondo Beach Unified School District are participating in this program. These employers are seeing some positive cultural shifts with more enthusiastic employees at work, a greater sense of camaraderie between employees, and a greater sense of engagement in healthy choices.

Since April 1, 2011 we’ve had 32 employers who together employee 17,413 people sign on to become vitality employers with more interest every day. Since June is National Employee Wellness Month, we’d like to applaud these employers for taking this important first step to make a difference in the lives of their employers and throughout their communities.

To learn more about Vitality Cities, check out this video:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHKWMG6FDZE']

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Healthcare Health Community Demand Vitality Prevention Beach Cities Healthways|BlueZones Vitality City Wellness Healthways vitality cities How to Live Longer Finding Happiness Blue Zones Project

Behavioral Change: The Science Behind MeYou Health

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-being Wire by MeYou Health

It would be nice if we could all just wake up one morning and say to ourselves, “Today I’m going to start eating healthier foods,” or, “I’m going to start working out today.” Well, actually, it is easy to say it, and sometimes we even stick with our vows to change. All too often, however, our will fails to attain what ourwords promise.

The truth is that change is a process, not a one-shot deal. That’s why all of our products at MeYou Health encourage taking small, achievable steps toward better well-being, not shooting for the moon and running the risk of seeing your lofty goals plummet to earth. Our products also include a huge social component, so that you’ll never have to walk alone on your journey of small steps towards positive change.

Cutting-edge behavioral-change research helps inform the design of products like Daily Challenge, the Path to Well-Being, Munch 5-a-Day, and Monumental. Even the lighthearted adventures of MeYou Health’s Small Action Man, are based on serious science.

Psychologists James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., John Norcross, Ph.D., and Carlo DiClemente, Ph.D., developed one of the seminal theories of behavior change in the 1970s and 1980s, when they wrote that change is not an event but rather a process that occurs in five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. MeYou Health’s Daily Challenges, for example, raise awareness of problem behaviors, get you to weigh the benefits of change, and encourage you to take small actions toward lasting change — the “action” stage where people “have made specific overt modifications in their lifestyle, and positive change has occurred,” according to Prochaska.

Of course, how ready we are to change varies widely from person to person. “What is unique about Daily Challenge is that the challenges we offer up on a daily basis may touch on a new or an existing behavior, depending on the user, but it helps to move all users to make positive impacts on their well-being — whether they’re doing the action for the first time or repeating and reinforcing a behavior they’ve attempted before,” says Josée Poirier, Ph.D., director of program design and research at MeYou Health. “In either case, the completed challenge influences the user, regardless of what stage he or she is in.”

Just as there are many paths to enlightenment, there are many pathways to change, as well. Researcher B.J. Fogg, Ph.D., of Stanford University describes behavioral change in terms of “dots,” “spans,” and “paths”: dot behaviors are those that take place one time, span behaviors take place over a duration of time (a month, for example), while paths are lasting changes.

“Our Daily Challenges are all ‘dot’ behaviors” points out Poirier. “We believe in focusing on the present: what can you do today to improve your well-being? We’ve all made long-term commitments in the past and see them fail. What we aim to do with Daily Challenge is keep our members away from the all-or-nothing mentality: go to the gym 6 days a week or don’t work out at all. We want to empower our members by making them realize that it’s okay not to become an athlete or a gym addict; what matters is to take one step toward a more active lifestyle today.”

To connect these dots, so to speak, MeYou Health draws on the pioneering research of Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, who found that behaviors — good ones like quitting smoking, or bad ones like obesity — can be spread, virus-like, through our social networks. The “contagion” of positive behavioral changes is at the core of MeYou Health products like Daily Challenge, Community Clash, and Change Reaction, where your social networks are engaged to support your efforts, while at the same time you can encourage your friends and family to join and improve their own well-being.

“Feedback and member posts have demonstrated again and again how helpful these social interactions are to our members,” says Poirier. “We also see that members who have a close circle of connections within Daily Challenge — friends and family — tend to complete more challenges than those who do not.”

“If we affect our friends, and they affect their friends, then our actions can potentially affect people we have never met,” write Christakis and Fowler in their book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. “We discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend gained weight, you gained weight. We discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend stopped smoking, you stopped smoking.

And we discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend became happy, you became happy.” So, by completing your Daily Challenges, “climbing” Mt. Everest with Monumental, or eating your daily recommended intake of fruits and veggies with Munch-5-a-Day, you’re not only changing your life for the better but possibly your friends’, too — heck, maybe even your roommate’s brother’s cousin in Cleveland!

Topics: Healthy Living Change Reaction Well-Being Community Clash Small Steps Health Prevention Stages of Change MeYou Health Path to Well-Being Munch 5-a-Day Wellness Monumental Daily Challenge Paths to Behavior Changes Connected: The Surprising Power of Social Networks well-being wire BJ Fogg Social Well-Being James Prochaska wellbeing wire Nicholas Christakis James Fowler Small Action Man

How to Make the Time for Exercise

Jennifer Rudloff

We all know that exercise is good for us and is something we should do. However, we often forget or play victim to the excuse, “I just don’t have enough time.” Perhaps we overlook all that exercise has to offer us. Exercise does much more than make us look in shape - it can improve our quality of life, personally and professionally, in many many ways. As stated in our previous post those who exercise regularly see substantial differences in all of the WBI domains and rake in the benefits of feeling well rested, less stressed and overall more satisfied with their jobs. With that being said, in 2010 only 51.1% of Americans exercised regularly according to the WBI. So, how do we improve that number and overcome the phrase “I just don’t have enough time.”

In today’s fast- paced world we know exercise often drops to the bottom of our lists. To make sure that does not happen, and that exercise becomes part of our daily routine, we have come up with a list of ways you can incorporate it into your daily lives. Whether it is big or small – every little bit will help!

  1. When you’ve finished your lunch, don’t just sit there for the remainder of the break. Get up and walk around for 15/20 minutes. You’ll feel refreshed and it will give you an excuse to enjoy the nice summer weather outside.
  2. We live in the age of DVR. Instead of spending that 30 minutes to an hour on the couch watching a must see show – tape it and go for a run/walk around the block. It will be there when you get back.
  3. If you drive to work, don’t waste your time trying to find the closest available parking spot. Park far away from your detestation to get in some walking time and always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. Don’t have time to work on those abs or biceps? Make the most of your TV time andgrab that exercise ball or any other at home workout accessories and do yourcircuits in front of the TV.
  5. If you own a treadmill or exercise bike, place them in front of your TV.
  6. Wake up in the morning and can’t fall back asleep? Get up and go for a morning jog.
  7. Don’t put off your outside chores. Mow the lawn, or plant new flowers. Your body will truly benefit.
  8. Get your family to participate with you. Round up the family and go for a walk at the end of the day. This will be a perfect opportunity to catch up on everybody’s day while getting a workout.

What are you doing to help yourself incorporate exercise into your routine?

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Exercise How To Stay Fit Fitness Health Wellness

Employers and Employees at Odds about Wellbeing, Study Finds

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-being Wire by MeYou Health

Bosses may be overestimating their perceived attention to employees’ well-being, a new British study finds.

Researchers found that 42 percent of employees say that their bosses do not look out for their physical health enough, while only 14 percent of management thinks the same, InspiresMe reported June 6. Similarly, 50 percent of employees think their employers fail to support their emotional well-being, but only 13 percent of employers concur.

In workplaces where a large majority of employees feel their employers care about them a great deal, however, most workers describe themselves as “loyal” to their jobs, the study finds.

“We believe employers who address physical, emotional and financial health and wellbeing could improve engagement and ultimately the productivity of their people,” says James Glover, director of Simplyhealth,which released the study (PDF). “Wellbeing is highly valued by employees and a key driver in their level of job satisfaction, loyalty and motivation. If employers fail to communicate that they care, they could lose talented people as soon as the job market starts to recover.”

Reader Question: Does your employer look out for your well-being?

Topics: Business Performance Competitive Advantage

Exercise: Who does it Best?

Jennifer Rudloff

Exercise rates are nowhere near what they should be in the US. No matter how you cut it, no segment of the population is exercising at levels necessary to prevent chronic disease, mitigate lifestyle risks, or keep people active and healthy. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, just over 50% of the U.S. population integrates regular exercise sessions into their routine. So who does it best? Check out the exercise demographics below. Please note: the percentages that you see below represent the % of people exercising 3 or more times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time.

  • Gender: Exercise rates are higher among males with 52.8% of males exercising regularly in 2010 vs. 49.5% of females.
  • Age: Regular exercise declines with age, with those in the 18-29 group getting regular exercise the most (56.2%) vs. the 65+ population who exercises the least (48.4%). 50.8% of people in the 30-44 age group get regular exercise, with that number declining to 50.0% for the 45-64 age group.
  • Marital Status: People who are single are most likely to exercise regularly (54.2%), followed by the folks who are married (51.0%). 48.9% of people who are divorced exercise regularly, and that number declines to 45.9% for those who are widowed.
  • Children: Contrary to some beliefs, those who have children actually do not have significantly lower regular exercise than those without children. 50.8% of those with children exercise regularly, compared to 51.3% of those without children.
  • Ethnicity: When looking at exercise by ethnicity, Hispanics (51.1%) and Caucasians (51.0%) have the highest exercise rates. 49.3% of African Americans exercise regularly and the Asian population exercises regularly the least at 48.2%. I was a little surprised on this one to see Asians so low and Hispanics so high. I have checked the numbers on this a few times – the trends were similar in 2009 and 2008.
  • Income: Income is the biggest disparity driver of all of the demographic segments. At the lowest end, of those who make less than $24K per year, 47.7% exercise regularly. The % exercising regularly incrementally increases as income increases, with 56.8% of those making more than $120K exercising regularly.
  • Region: Regional differences in exercise rates are negligible, with the exception of the West. In the West, 54.9% are exercising regularly, vs. the Midwest at 49.9%, the South at 50.0% and the East at 50.0%.

When comparing those who exercise regularly vs. those who do not, we see substantial differences across all of the Well-Being Index domains.

  • Emotional Health: People who exercise have lower stress levels, worry less, and are more likely to be learning and doing interesting things.
  • Life Evaluation: Those who exercise are more likely to be in the “thriving” category of Life Evaluation, and are spending 20% less on average in healthcare costs.
  • Physical Health: Those who exercise are substantially more likely to feel well rested and have sufficient energy, and are (obviously) less prone to being diagnosed with a chronic condition. Their BMI risk is also cut in half.
  • Basic Access: People who exercise are more likely to live in a safe neighborhood and to perceive their city as getting better as a place to live.
  • Work Environment: People who exercise are more likely to be satisfied with their job and also are more likely to be using their strengths to do what they do best at work.

What are your barriers to exercise?

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Index

Business Travel: Well-Being Woes

Jennifer Rudloff

Not surprisingly, road warriors are more likely to report poor health than workers who don’t travel for business as much. I think that there are several contributing factors. Here are a few ideas on engaging people in healthy habits while on the road:

The food available in most airports is not conducive to healthy eating or fruit and vegetable intake, which is one component of a person’s lifestyle that can lead to poor health (higher rates of chronic conditions, obesity, low energy, etc.). The Well-Being Index (WBI) shows that 67.7% of the US population eats healthy and only 51.4% eat fruits and vegetables regularly. These numbers are low, and depending on the person can be attributed to things like such as lack of access to healthy foods / proper nutrition, not having enough money to afford healthy foods, and not having enough time or the inclination to change healthy eating habits. All of these things can be exacerbated by business travel, and companies and HR departments can help business travelers better manage their health on the road. Here are a few options:

  • Take some time to put together collateral that can be used by travelers that suggests some healthy eating places within airports or major cities.
  • Promote / feature hotel chains that offer healthy options on their restaurant menus or at check-in. For example, most W Hotels are always happy to put a fruit bowl in a guest’s room for snacking.
  • Simple education on healthy eating and serving sizes can go a long way in helping people make healthy decisions .

Exercise can be incredibly difficult when traveling on business. Back-to-back meetings, conferences with packed agendas and just flat out being exhausted from traveling are just a few of the culprits. We know from the WBI that feeling well-rested and having sufficient energy are two key factors in a person’s proclivity to exercise. Here are a few options to get folks in the exercise mood on the road:

  • Promote technology that engages people in finding exercise options – checkout the apps that highlight running routes for travelers and find nearby gyms.
  • Review your gym membership reimbursement policy and other fitness benefits and educate your business travelers on using those benefits while traveling.
  • Encourage teams to start libraries of exercise DVD’s that people can check out when they are traveling. Get people to bring in yoga, P90X, and any other fitness DVD’s that can be can be rotated to team members who travel.

Stress, stress, stress - Delayed flights, lost hotel reservations, and long nights of catching up on emails adds a pile of stress on top of road warriors. According to the WBI, about 40% of Americans experience significant stress on a daily basis. Stress increases cortisol levels which elevates the risk for obesity and other chronic conditions. Finding ways to relieve the stress for your company’s travelers can yield significant preventative benefits:

  • Look into some options for subsidizing or partially funding stress relief activities for business travelers such as massage, yoga, and gym memberships.
  • Encourage employees to go for a walk outside or grab a healthy snack during conference breaks to boost energy. Maintaining energy throughout the day will help fuel the motivation to exercise in the evening or the next morning.
  • Review travel policies to ensure that the best vendors are servicing your travelers – if you are primarily using an airline that is on time 10% of the time and a car rental agency that has trouble keeping reservations, you are probably better served to find some new vendors.

To read more in an article recently published today in Human Resource Executive, click here.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Index

Healthy Living Starting from the Workplace

Jennifer Rudloff

Many of us in the workforce spend almost all, if not more than half, of our waking hours each week at our desks and in front of our computers. While this allows us to be productive and enjoy the challenges of our jobs, it also leaves us limited time to pursue personal growth and well-being which can lead to fatigue. For some people, repetitive day-to-day tasks in the workplace result in stress, anxiety, and even depression. As mentioned in a previous post, business consultant and best-selling author Daniel Pink suggests that to remain motivated in the workplace we must stay fully engaged.

People are the most valued asset of any organization and, therefore, it’s important for them to be engaged throughout the day. To create an environment with greater well-being for yourself at work, take a few small actions that can counter the effects of repetitive work. Here are some tips from on how you and your coworkers can improve your well-being at work from Nick Golding of Personnel Today

  1. Connect: Take 5 minutes to do something for your coworkers (make a cup of tea or get them a drink).
  2. Be active: Go for a walk at lunchtime or make some time to get some fresh air during the day.
  3. Take notice: Be aware of how your coworkers are really feeling. Ask them how they are and have a chat with them.
  4. Learn: Take a few minutes to expand your mind; you could read a newspaper, magazine or book, or do a crossword.
  5. Give: Build relations at work and get to know your coworkers better by hosting a breakfast to kick-start the work day.
Topics: Business Performance