The Well-Being Journal

Tough Mudders: Overcoming Obstacles

Jennifer Rudloff

Sometimes you’re looking for something more, something new, and something extraordinary. Recently, ten colleagues from the Nashville CEC found just that as they climbed, crawled, shivered, and ran through the backwoods of Georgia.

Let’s set the stage: 12 miles, 28 obstacles, 30 degree weather, 30 mph winds. Did we mention the obstacles include jumping into ice water, climbing stacked hay bales, greased monkey bars, and then some casual electrocution (10,000 volts)?

Our game plan was simple. We organized meetings where veterans could share their insight and training details from previous Tough Mudders. Since everyone had their own motivation for participating; we capitalized on the concept that no matter what, we would all finish…. “no man (or woman) left behind”!

Through the experience we ignited teamwork, camaraderie, pursuit of excellence, and unwavering trust. Ultimately, what we discovered was we are stronger together than alone. The mission of Tough Mudder is very closely linked to that of Healthways; it brings out the character and perseverance that make all Healthways colleagues great.

So I guess you could say, “We found something more, something new, and something extraordinary. We are all Tough Mudders. We are all making the world a healthier place, one person at a time.”

Topics: Healthy Living Tough Mudders Health Coach Team Work Healthways Success Stories

Just In: Healthy Behaviors on the Rise

Jennifer Rudloff

This week, the February findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® were released. They indicate that Americans starting 2012 on the right when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. In fact, since December, the percentage of Americans who reportedly ate the recommended servings of fruits and veggies at least 4 days in the last week (5 servings) increased by 3.3 percentage points. That’s quite an improvement for just a few short months. But healthy behaviors aren’t stopping in the kitchen; they’re also extending to the gym as more Americans are exercising more frequently. These 2 factors together boosted the Healthy Behavior Index score by nearly 3 points since December. Looks like those resolutions are paying off after all.

And yet there’s still more positive news – it seems that we’re starting to reverse or at very least slow the trend when it comes to obesity. In February, the Well-Being Index shows that Obesity dropped to 25.6% -- that’s tied for the lowest monthly level Gallup and Healthways have found since October 2008.

Now that’s the good news. The bad news is that when it comes to healthy behaviors, American’s still have a long way to go! There’s no doubt that most Americans know what it takes to be healthy, and there’s no shortage of resources out there to help. But we often let our desire for immediate gratification get in the way of doing the right thing. Take heart health for example: The American Heart Association has a list of 7 heart healthy behaviors they refer to as “Life’s Simple 7” which include some fairly straight forward behaviors including:

  • don’t smoke
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • engage in regular physical activity
  • eat a healthy diet
  • manage blood pressure
  • take charge of cholesterol
  • keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels

Seems pretty straight forward, no? Yet a recent study shows that only 1.2% of Americans are following these simple seven. And that’s why heart disease remains America’s number one killer, folks.

So how do we move forward and build momentum behind a healthy behavior movement? The first step towards impacting populations is to recognize where the gaps lie. You know that thing "they" say about know knowledge being power…it's true! As you explore your population and identify gaps, you'll begin to better understand the needs of your people and poise yourself to more effectively support their journey towards better well-being.

If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck -- we have the tools to help! For organizations, the Healthways Well-Being Assessment™ makes the process of understanding your population easy! It offers simple, complete, and actionable insights into the social, emotional, and physical health factors that are impacting the well-being of your unique population. It also help brings awareness to each person as they'll each receive a personal well-being report and plan. The plan is reflective of their responses and risks, and provides targeted feedback to help them make progress towards improving their health and well-being.

Topics: In the News Exercise Well-Being Index Simple Seven Healthways Gallup Eating Healthy Healthy Living

American Exercise Habits Remain Relatively Unchanged in 2011

Jennifer Rudloff

Last year, 51.6 percent of Americans reported exercising three days or more per week, a slight increase from the 51.4 percent who did so in 2010, Gallup reported March 15.

In addition, the number of Americans who got no exercise at all dipped half a percentage point — to 29.7 percent — in 2011, according to the latest findings of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. However, Americans’ overall exercise habits — aside from a small decrease in exercise rates in 2009 following the financial crisis — have remained essentially stable since Gallup began tracking that data in 2008.

In 2011, most overweight and obese Americans (66.9 percent) got no physical activity in a given week, while a slim majority (58.1 percent) of normal-weight adults worked out three or more days per week, the survey shows.

While doctors are increasingly prescribing exercise to patients and government initiatives such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign are working to get more people active, “moving the needle on a national scale remains a challenge,” the report says.

How often do you exercise? How does your employer help you get moving?

Topics: In the News Physical Health Research Well-Being Index Healthways Gallup Exercise

Sense of Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

Find out which U.S. states ranked  high in

To learn more about the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and how your state measures up, click here.

Topics: Well-Being Well-Being Index Healthways Gallup