handheld fitness equipment and water bottle

Break Out of the Office Space with Fit Play

When temperatures begin rising and the trees begin to bring the colors of spring to life, it can be difficult to stay inside during the workday, especially if you work in a sedentary job. The Centers for Disease Control recommend adults partake in1:

  • At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity; or
  • 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity; or
  • An equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Also recommendedis that we focus our daily nutrition and fitness routines on what Dr. Michael Greger calls The Daily Dozen, including foods such as beans, berries, cruciferous vegetables, and whole grains and exercise such as 90 minutes of moderate activity or 40 minutes of vigorous activity. (You can download The Daily Dozen app free for the iPhone and Androids.)

While you stare out your office window and daydream about how to make time to improve your activity levels and nutrition, here are some tips to get you started:

Get outside with coworkers

A walk in a nearby park can easily relax and refresh us, allowing us to be more productive and maintain greater focus. Start a walking club with coworkers, and plan to get your spring strides in for at least 20 minutes. Hold your next department meeting outside as well and enjoy the cardio and fresh air as a team. Ask management to host a walk or a meeting of their own outside so they can have a chance to see how fitness and wellness help your team become more productive.

Make small strides (they add up!)

Proclaim every Friday to be email-free; instead of emailing your colleagues, walk over to have a chat with them. Take the stairs to get there and to get back to your desk. Walk while you’re on that conference call; instead of taking it from your office phone, dial in from your cell phone so you can stretch and move while still working. Don’t snag that highly prized front parking place each morning when you arrive; instead, park at the far end of the parking lot or even a few complexes away if possible. If you take public transportation, get off a couple of stops before your place of work and walk the rest of the way.

Hold a fit feast

Work with your company’s event and/or wellness teams to host a lunch highlighting healthy foods. (If your office doesn’t have one or both of those committees, start one or both yourself!) Ask employees to bring in their favorite plant-based dishes and/or healthy seasonal fare or coordinate several choices from a local restaurant. Work with management to award fun fitness and health related gifts for the coworkers who bring in the most brightly colored dish, the tastiest dish, the most creative dish, etc.

Nix nibbling

You likely have your desk organized in a way that allows you to work efficiently and quickly. You may also have it arranged in a way that is conducive to snacking. Avoid storing high calorie junk foods in your desk that may tempt you throughout the day, especially if your workdays are stressful. Also, avoid using your desk as your lunch space; instead, get away from your desk to enjoy your lunch. Move around a bit before and after as well.

Organize a day of activity

Work with your events and/or wellness teams to organize a field day with friendly competitive events such as kickball, relay races, soccer, and an obstacle course. You could also include activities such as yoga and a walking challenge for your coworkers who would rather relax than compete. Not only will such a day help morale but it will also3 help you and your coworkers by boosting your alertness and productivity and alleviating stress.

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1: “Current Physical Activity Guidelines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/policies_practices/physical_activity/guidelines.htm

2: “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist.” Michael Greger, M.D. NutritionFacts.orghttps://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

3: “How Does Exercise Improve Work Productivity?” Julie Boehlke. https://www.livestrong.com/article/422836-how-does-exercise-improve-work-productivity/

doctor holding prosthetic kidney

March Spotlights Spring Health Cleaning with National Kidney Month

Spring cleaning season is upon us, a fitting time to learn more about kidney health. March is National Kidney Month, and the National Kidney Foundation is using the month to encourage us all to visit our healthcare professionals for a checkup. Take the time during this particular health observance to learn more about your kidney health as well as ways you can protect it.

Let’s take a look at why the kidneys are so imperative to our health1:

  • They filter waste out of 200 liters of blood each day
  • They regulate of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
  • They remove drugs from the body
  • They balance the body’s fluids
  • They release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • They produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • They control the production of red blood cells

Talk to your healthcare professional about these alarming statistics1:

  • Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the country
  • More than 30 million Americans have kidney disease, and most don’t know it
  • There are over 95,000 people waiting for kidney transplants
  • More than 590,000 people have kidney failure in the US today

So what can you do to protect the health of your kidneys? Consider these recommendations:

  • Eat a whole food, plant-based diet2. You can learn about meals focusing on veggies, fruits, whole grains, lentils, etc and more plant-based options herehere, and here.
  • Eat meals that include plant protein, as research shows they reduce mortality in chronic kidney disease3.
  • Know what healthy kidneys do and how to recognize symptoms of chronic kidney disease4. You can click here to take an online assessment to rate your risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, stay active, and monitor your blood sugar level5.
  • Stop smoking6. You can click here for tips to help you stop.

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1: “Focus on the Kidneys During National Kidney Month in March.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/news/monthly/Focus_KidneyMonth

2: “Can a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet Help to Preserve Kidney Health?” T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.  https://nutritionstudies.org/can-whole-food-plant-based-diet-help-preserve-kidney-health/

3: “Plant Protein Reduces Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/news/plant-protein-reduces-mortality-chronic-kidney-disease-patients

4: “Six-Step Guide to Protecting Kidney Health.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/sixstepshealthprimer

5: “8 Golden Rules: What Can You Do for Your Kidneys?” World Kidney Day. http://www.worldkidneyday.org/faqs/take-care-of-your-kidneys/8-golden-rules/

6: “What Effects Does Smoking Have on the Kidneys?” LiveStrong.comhttps://www.livestrong.com/article/266870-what-effects-does-smoking-have-on-the-kidneys/

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runner jogging down paved road

Spring Training Tips: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Fitness

Spring is in the air – or certainly will be soon for those who live in colder locales. With the flip of the seasonal switch often comes the interest to get outside, get moving, and get in shape. If you’re ready to come out of your fitness hibernation or if you’re looking for ways to spring clean your fitness routine, check out the following ideas for inspiration to get in the spring swing of things!

1. Nourish your body with plant-based whole foods.

Add more plant-based, unprocessed food to your diet to give your body the wholesome fuel it needs to help you meet your fitness and wellness goals. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tempeh, lentils, and beans are all examples of simple, clean foods that give you the protein, vitamins, and minerals needed to treat your body well. Learn more about spring cleaning your diet here and here.

2. Make fitness fun.

Ask a buddy to talk walks with you around your office building each day. Check out that new park in town and mix up your workout with some sightseeing. Join a step challenge on FitBit (you can download the app for free and use it to track steps or join challenges and communities without buying the fitness tracker). Get creative in the kitchen by trying new veggies or new combinations of food. If you make your fitness journey enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it.

3. Get active every day.

It’s easy to say “I don’t have time to work out today,” but it can also be easy to find a physical activity you love and focus on it for just a few moments each day. Like to take a break and get outside during the workday? Take a quick stroll around the building. Want to try some exercises with weights without joining a gym? Try an at-home workout with water jugs. The idea is to get your body moving on a consistent basis and learn to get into the routine of making fitness a priority.

4. Set achievable goals.

Whether you’re getting back into fitness after this winter or you’re new to fitness, it’s important to pace yourself. If you like to walk/jog/run, start off this spring with a 20 minute walk every other day. Increase it each week by 5-10 minutes and/or gradually increase your speed. If you like to include weights in your training, start off with low weights/high reps and gradually increase the weight each week. If you want to join a gym but aren’t sure you’re ready to commit to it, establish a workout routine at home and add new exercises each week.

5. Learn to say no.

Your coworker may come in with donuts for the team while you’re working hard to establish new, healthier habits. Your significant other may suggest going out to that one restaurant with that one menu item you love the most when you’ve already prepped your meals. Your best friend may text you to see if you’d like for her to pick you up your favorite latte topped with chocolate and whipped cream. While it’s certainly acceptable to treat yourself now and then, your fitness goals may involve you saying no to frequent indulgences. Discipline and willpower will go a long way in helping you realize your goals both with food and with fitness level.

6. Stretch.

This activity of lengthening your muscles gives your body time to warm up and decreases your risk of soreness as well as injury. It also promotes flexibility, which is important to your overall fitness performance. Start by holding stretches for 15 seconds and gradually increase to at least 30 seconds per move. Breathe freely with each stretch, and be sure to incorporate stretching in the beginning and in the end of your workouts.

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doctor holding a phone and charting

Telemedicine Rouses Patient Satisfaction, Positions Consumer Value at the Forefront

As healthcare’s unsustainable costs continue to pose challenges1, it’s easy to understand the importance of finding ways to not only cut your costs but also enhance value. Digital health services such as telemedicine are packaging value, convenience, and competitive pricing so well that they are becoming “part of [consumers] normal process in terms of getting healthcare”2.

Let’s look at what telemedicine offers.

Today’s technological advancements in health and medicine have transformed the way health professionals are able to help consumers like yourself all over the globe. With the help of phone, video, and wireless capabilities, you have the advantage of 24/7/365 access to highly qualified doctors to discuss health concerns you have for yourself or for your loved ones.

This digital health service can be a powerful tool3:

  • Approximately more than 70% of urgent illness conditions can be taken care of with the help of telemedicine such as pharyngitis, sinusitis and upper respiratory illnesses.
  • It eliminates any chances of transmitting infectious diseases from a patient to the health care professional.
  • It allows health professionals to cater to the needs of the patients from any place at any given time.

Let’s look at the benefits of telemedicine.

Lower costs: A recent study found that use of telemedicine can reduce your out-of-pocket costs as well as costs for the hospital system4.

Increased patient satisfaction: Hospitals are keenly aware how patient satisfaction is tied to federal reimbursement benchmarks that assess the quality of the care they provide. In a recent study, 98% of respondents who received care via telemedicine noted they would be interested in similar visits in the future and 99% would recommend telemedicine to others4.

Increased access: Telemedicine isn’t the new innovation on the block; it’s been providing access to healthcare to remotely-located patients for over 40 years5. The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center reports that it increases access6 to remotely located patients who need clinical services as well as remotely located hospitals, allowing them to provide emergency and intensive care services.

Let’s look at the future of telemedicine.

A quick search of recent headlines on telemedicine proves that the service is only just beginning to see its full potential. From diagnosing widespread flu2 to coordinating the ability to perform telestenting via robotic technologyto expanding access of health services to patients in rural areas8, the power of telemedicine is set to continue to revolutionize how and where healthcare meets you when you are in need of care.

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1: “Editorial: Rising Healthcare Costs a Cancer, Not a Tapeworm.” Merrill Goozner. ModernHealthcare.comhttp://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180131/NEWS/180139978

2: “In-Depth: Surging Flu in a Proving Ground for Digital Health, Telemedicine.” Dave Muoio. MobiHealthNews.comhttp://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/depth-surging-flu-proving-ground-digital-health-telemedicine

3: “The Importance and Value of Telemedicine.” Karandeep Virdi. ElectronicHealthReporter.comhttp://electronichealthreporter.com/importance-value-telemedicine/

4: “Telemedicine Can Lower Costs for Health Systems by $24 a Patient, Study Finds.” Jeff Lagasse. HealthcareFinance.comhttp://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/telemedicine-can-lower-costs-health-systems-24-patient-study-finds

5: “Telemedicine poised for exponential growth.” Robert Ryan. BizJournals.com http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2016/09/27/telemedicine-poised-for-exponential-growth.html

6: California Telehealth Resource Center. “Why are Telemedicine and Telehealth so Important in Our Healthcare System?” http://www.caltrc.org/telehealth/why-are-telemedicine-and-telehealth-so-important-in-our-healthcare-system/

7: “Mayo Clinic to Explore the Use of Telemedicine for Stent Surgeries.” Etic Wicklund. mHealthIntelligence.com https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/mayo-clinic-to-explore-the-use-of-telemedicine-for-stent-surgeries

8: “Health IT Infrastructure Supports Successful Telemedicine Programs.” Elizabeth O’Dowd. HITInfrastructure.comhttps://hitinfrastructure.com/news/health-it-infrastructure-supports-successful-telemedicine-programs