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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Sources:

 

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/

child weighing food options during National Childhood Obesity Month

Make Healthy Choices to Combat Childhood Obesity

One in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1. That means obesity affects approximately 12.7 million children and adolescents2. The month of September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this epidemic and to highlight simple steps parents, teachers, communities, and health professionals can take to combat it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children with obesity are at a higher risk for3:

  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bone and joint issues
  • Type 2 diabetes

They also have more risk factors for3:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

In addition to the emotional toll obesity may take on children due to bullying and social isolation, they are also more likely to have obesity as adults. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers3.

So what can we do to prevent obesity in children?

  1. Be role models. Make healthy choices when it comes to nutrition and fitness. Fill your plates with colorful fruits and vegetables. Stick to a fitness schedule. See your doctor regularly for checkups.
  2. Get kids involved. Let kids help in the planning and preparation of meals and in workout routines.
  3. Make creative choices. Prepare snacks and meals that are creative and colorful. Plan fitness routines that involve being in parks or fun recreational areas.
  4. Make small changes. Keep fresh fruit within reach or go on a family walk after meals.
  5. Talk with teachers and school administrators. Ask them to provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students. 
  6. Communicate with health professionals. Learn how they show leadership within their communities and which programs they support that prevent childhood obesity and encourage improved nutrition, fitness, and wellness. 

 

With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.

Stay tuned to our next blog post!

Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.

 

Sources:

1: “September: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/SeptemberToolkit.aspx

2: “YCMA Offers Health Tips for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.” Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glenview/community/chi-ugc-article-ymca-offers-health-tips-for-childhood-obesity-2017-08-30-story.html

3: “September is National Childhood Obesity Month.” Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html