The Well-Being Journal

It's never too late to start exercising

Jennifer Rudloff

Physical activity is important to people of all ages - it helps us control weight, combat health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy, and promotes better sleep. It also helps to combat aging by improving strength, flexibility, balance and endurance which helps enable people to live happier, healthier, more independent lives. And when exercise becomes a social activity – it encourages new friendships, and adds an extra element of fun.

Well the seniors of Wheat Ridge have no shortage of friends to have fun with SilverSneakers® style. With more than 5,200 eligible Silver Sneakers members living within a five-mile radius, this community is invested in health. Learn more about this program, hear instructors talk about the program components, and get a sneak peak at some of the classes in action.

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Learn more about the benefits to exercise >>

Topics: Healthy Living Exercise Aging Fitness Seniors Prevention Silver Sneakers Healthways

Don’t Stress – Employee Well-Being Is Simple

Jennifer Rudloff

Whether it stems from work, family or finances, stress is a part of life that’s tough to fully escape. While external pressures will always come and go, there are steps that we can take to help to manage and eliminate stress in our daily lives, and they don’t have to be costly solutions.

There are many ways that employers can help reduce the stress of their employees, we’ve outlined a few stress-reducing ideas that could be executed in almost any workplace. On an organizational level, these activities are very inexpensive, or in many cases, free.

  • Walking during lunch: Even if it’s just for 15 minutes each day, taking a brisk walk around your office can allow employees to clear their heads and return to work feeling refreshed and with more focus. Depending on the climate, organizations might consider creating indoor walking paths around the office or outdoor walking maps of the surrounding areas. To take it one step further, think about organizing walking moais for your colleagues, or consider providing pedometers to make walking a little more fun (they could even download an app like monumental to their phones.) Fun fact: pedometer users walked at least 2,000 more steps each day than nonusers, increasing their physical activity levels by 27%. Regardless of how they choose to move, there are many benefits to moving more at work.
  • Office pot lucks: Whether it’s company wide or with individual teams, organizing office pot luck lunches once a month will allow your employees to connect with each other over a nice meal. These could be themed for each month – but the company should always encourage healthy choices. Having regular “non-work” events like this breaks up the workday and provides an incentive that employees can look forward to, rather than stressing about current tasks at hand. It will also help to build a collaborative environment and provide a sense of belonging, which can help drive engagement.
  • Group athletic activities: Company stress-busting initiatives don’t have to require major financial investments. You can build a culture that supports fitness activities and add a little fun to the workday. It can be as simple as allowing employees flex time so that they can go visit a local yoga studio. Or it could mean encouraging employees to bring in their favorite fitness DVD’s (or providing them a library of choices) and allowing a space to gather together and sweat.
  • Organizing clubs: Clubs are a great way for employees to connect on a social level inside and outside the office. Organizations should communicate to their employees that clubs are welcome, and that these clubs can use the company setting (such as conference rooms) for gatherings or discussions if needed. Whether the group focuses on food, books, tea, or other interests, communicating the acceptance of non-work-related clubs to employees indicates that your organization supports the lifestyles of employees outside of the office. If possible, the company could also donate a few healthy snacks for club meetings.
  • Lunch breaks: This sounds like a no-brainer for stress reduction, but in a time when many companies are doing more with less, many employees have taken to eating lunches at their desks on a regular basis. In fact, some 70% of Americans report to eating at their desks several times a week. Encouraging your employees to take lunch breaks, even short ones, allows them to take the time to actually focus on enjoying their lunches (which can help to prevent mindless overeating), and connect with colleagues. Furthermore, desks dirty – in fact, on average; desks are 400 times dirtier than your toilet.

While some worry about the “loss” of productivity that comes with giving employees time for their own mental and physical health, improving the well-being of employees has actually been proven to increase workplace productivity. Think about it: taking an hour –or even half an hour – each day to clear your head allows you to return to work with a clean mental slate. When we feel fit and focused, we’re better workers.

If you’re looking for a point person to help set some of the above ideas in motion, try your company’s human resources director or manager. We bet they’ll be happy to work with you on investigating ways to improve the well-being of the people at your company, particularly those that can be done with minimal investment. For more ideas on decreasing stress while simultaneously increasing productivity, contact us about our solutions.

How does your company help decrease the stress of its employees?

Topics: Healthy Living Workplace Well-Being Business Performance Stress Social Well-Being Stress Management

5 Ways to Get Moving Without Thinking About It

Jennifer Rudloff

Blue Zones® research shows you don't have to run marathons to be a well-being super-star. In fact, many of the world's oldest and healthiest people engage in low-intensity activity on a daily basis. If your busy schedule keeps you away from the gym, here are some simple ways to get moving without even thinking about it.

  1. Move for the fun of it! Build activity into your life by doing what you love. Ride your bike to work. Walk to the store. Play basketball with your kids.
  2. Inconvenience yourself. Take the stairs at work. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote.
  3. Start walking. Walking is easy to do and free to everyone. It also invites company and can relieve stress after a hard day.
  4. Strengthen your social connections. Make a regular time to walk with your "moai" - a group of lifelong friends - and build social connections while you take steps to improve your health.
  5. Grow a garden. Gardening is a great way to be physically active daily and even helps reduce stress. Improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance, all with the benefits of fresh homegrown vegetables.

What are your favorite ways to move naturally each day?

Topics: Healthy Living Exercise Move Naturally Blue Zones Project

Small Daily Actions Can Help You Reach Bigger Health Goals

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the MeYouHealth.com/blog

Bigger isn’t always better. Particularly when it comes to the goals we make each New Year. Travel the world, lose weight, get out of debt -- these resolutions often set us up to fail, because they’re unrealistic, overwhelming and gigantic. They don’t have to be, though. Just as a journey starts with a single step, big goals are met through daily small actions.

It’s in the little actions and our daily intentions that we can achieve our aspirations. This year, we’re asking you to not make a resolution. Instead, choose a small action you can do every day, like pack your lunch (to save money or lose weight) or replace one bad-habit craving with a healthy snack or mini-meditation.

Little healthy actions like a packed lunch or snack swap can help each of us reach bigger goals, if we’re consistent. If it helps, keep track of your little daily actions and intentions on a calendar. Aim for 30, 100, or even 365 days of a small action that will help you achieve that bigger goal.

You don’t have to take our word for it. When we reached out a few blogger friends to let them know about our Anti-Resolution Revolution, they were happy to help spread the message that it’s the small things we do on a daily basis that matter to our success in reaching bigger goals.

Check out what healthy living bloggers Jan, Anne, Laura, Melissa, and Suzanne had to say about our opposition to making a New Year’s resolution:
Jan -- “Whatever your weight, health, or fitness goal is... I know you can achieve it this coming year if you believe in yourself and go for your goal by making small, sustainable changes and setting realistic milestones.”

Anne -- “I believe much more in the power of small daily actions, or intentions. I find that setting smaller daily or weekly goals vs. broad resolutions really helps with making healthy living a lifestyle change vs. a quick fix – or a huge overwhelming goal that is never reached.”

Laura -- “ Making small, daily changes will help achieve any s.m.a.r.t. [specific, measurable, attainable, realistic] goal. Take the steps to succeed and let the Anti-Resolutionists help you along the way.”

Melissa -- “I actually gave up on making resolutions several years ago because I realized that I rarely kept them because they weren’t specific enough and they had such a large scope that they become overwhelming. Having huge yet nebulous resolutions never seemed to serve me well. These days, I prefer setting smaller more short-term goals.”

Suzanne -- “Making small daily changes to your routine will be the difference between success and failure. Forget ‘changing your life’ or resolving to do things differently on a certain date. Simply begin by taking one small action every day.”

Small daily actions can give your well-being a great boost and break bigger goals into actionable, attainable mini-celebrations you’ll be more likely to stick with. For more ideas on small actions that can make an impact, check out our behind-the-scenes MeYou Health video, and be sure to sign up for Daily Challenge to get a boost of well-being delivered to you daily.

What positive results have you seen by taking small steps to reach a goal?

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Health Prevention Small Daily Actions MeYou Health Daily Challenge Anti-resolution Revolution