The Well-Being Journal

Walking Together for Longer, Healthier Life

Jennifer Rudloff

walking togetherWith all of our modern technology, connecting quickly has become easier. But there’s something to be said for trading some high-tech time with real, face-to-face quality time every once in a while. When we do this by going for a walk with friends, for example, it can do wonders for our physical and emotional health.

Successful Strides

Four years after becoming the first Blue Zones Project city, Albert Lea, Minn., continues to be a living, breathing example of this. A recent news article reported the city has 30 moais, or groups who continue to get together twice a week for an hour-long walk, bike ride or dancing. This Midwestern city has shown how a healthy habit can become a life-changing lifestyle.

Those who’ve participated in the Blue Zones program and adopted its principles—like regular activity and healthy eating—have experienced numerous benefits, such as:

  • Improved physical and emotional health
  • Elimination of medication for certain health conditions
  • An increased lifespan of 2.9 years on average

In summary, walking with others can make it easier to adopt healthy choices, which can grow into a lifestyle, which can lead to well-being improvement beyond measure.

Some Pep for Your Step

When was the last time you met up with a group of friends, colleagues or neighbors and went for a walk? Whether you have a health-related goal or would like to reconnect on a deeper level, consider making contact and find a time that would work. You could even consider organizing a "walking school bus" in your neighborhood, like described in this YouTube video. One step is all you need to get started. And if you want to use a little high-tech to initiate the conversation, a quick text probably wouldn't hurt.

Topics: Healthy Living In the News Exercise Physical Health Health Emotional Health Social Well-Being Success Stories Blue Zones Project

A resolution checkup and a trend to break for a healthier second half of 2012

Jennifer Rudloff

healthy choicesWe often look at the beginning of the year as a starting point for new well-being goals. Maybe you were one of many who made such a resolution, or maybe not. Either way, this might be a great point to stop and think about it as we continue in the second half of 2012. Read on to learn why.

 

Where are you?

Maybe you are going strong in your resolution, never had interest in setting one, or are somewhere in between and need a boost of motivation. Wherever you are, you might be interested to know that research presents us with a great wellness opportunity for the second half of the year.

What the trends show

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index,® Americans on average experience a decline in healthy behaviors and physical health in the second half of the year. We can all probably name factors that influence the lack of steadiness. The well-known truth is that resolutions aren’t always easy to keep all on our own and momentum can easily fade.

What we can do about it

Well, knowledge is power. So now that we’re aware that the U.S. as a whole could be near a high point for the year in healthy behaviors and physical wellness, we can look at this as an opportunity to do something to prevent a decline. If we all make simple, positive changes, perhaps we can even reach new highs in our individual well-being all throughout the year. Think about how it would feel for you personally and what it would mean for your organization as a whole. Below are a couple ideas that could help.

  1. A simple way to get started could be making one tangible well-being improvement goal for the next 30 days, and listing some related action steps. You can do anything for 30 days, right? At the end of 30 days, evaluate your progress, and then decide if you want to continue with that goal or switch to a new one. Make sure to write down your goal, find some resources to support it, track your progress, and for best results, enlist an accountability partner (or your whole organization). By continually introducing new ideas and evaluating your progress, healthy behaviors can become habit, and therefore more of a lifestyle.
  2. Take it a step further and use Healthways as your source for scientific research and proven programs filled with a breadth of resources, tools and support. We can help identifying the unique needs of your organization, create and sustain effective engagement with individual members, and drive positive behavior change that delivers measurable outcomes for the long term. Read about our approach and our solution to learn more, or contact us.

Just a few of the programs that make up our configurable Well-Being Improvement Solution include:

  • The Healthways Well-Being Assessment™, personal Well-Being Plans online and Health Coaching over the phone
  • Prime® Fitness for access to more than 9,000 fitness centers
  • Innergy™ for sustainable weight management
  • QuitNet® for quitting tobacco
  • SilverSneakers® to help seniors boost physical and social activity

If you’re currently a member of a Healthways Well-Being Improvement Solution, you and your colleagues may already be enjoying the benefits of improved physical, mental and social well-being, as well as the financial benefits such as lower healthcare costs and fewer sick days. Maybe you want to take your program even further or get your whole community involved in an initiative, like our BlueZones Project™. Talk with your benefits manager or with us here at Healthways for strategic input.

Let’s all partner together for the greatest well-being improvement—for the second half of 2012 and for the long term.

Topics: Healthy Living Weight Loss Workplace Well-Being Engagement Well-Being Index

Smart Snacking Strategies

Jennifer Rudloff

A well-chosen snack can offer vital nutrients, satisfy hunger, and give a much-needed energy boost throughout a busy day. The key is portion control. Try these tricks for refueling the next time a snack attack strikes:

  • Dip high-fiber veggies in a low-fat or non-fat ranch dressing.
  • Create a delicious smoothie with low-fat or non-fat milk, strawberries, a banana, and a handful of spinach – you’ll never know it’s there.
  • Spread celery sticks with a tablespoon of peanut butter and top with rasins.
  • For a frozen treat, try a peeled banana dipped in low-fat or non-fat yogurt, rolled in crushed cereal or granola.
  • Top low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small amount of crunchy granola and berries.
Topics: Healthy Living Snacking Strategies Eating Healthy Blue Zones Project

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