Health Resolutions You Can Stick To In 2018

 Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
It has once again reached that time of year when we start to think of New Year resolutions to make and break. But do we ever really keep them?

We ask the experts which resolutions we should be making this year, and how we can actually stick to them.

Whether it's giving up smoking, exercising more, or getting our 5-a-day, most of us have usually given up before January ends.

But with a little help from the pros, you can live a happier, healthier life in 2018...

1. Drink more water

Health and fitness mentor Sarah-Anne Lucas (birdonabike.co.uk) says starting a daily ritual is the answer to New Year resolutions. She suggests drinking more water: "Water intake is massive. Most people do not drink enough, but what we'd all like is more energy. That comes down to what you put in, so increase your water intake. It's the first thing you put in your body in the morning. Go and get yourself a minimum of 100ml water and get it into you. To progress that practice, add lemon, to make the body alkaline. Lemon water is amazing, it also adds a bit of flavour."

2. Learn to meditate

Life-coach and mindfulness practitioner Dr Caroline Hough (aspiring2wellness.com) says we can train our minds to reduce stress, making us more likely to achieve our goals: "It involves sitting and meditating for 20 minutes. Bring yourself into the moment and be aware. That's an awareness of your external environment, so just looking at the flowers and the trees and the sunshine and appreciating it instead of rushing through life. Be aware of your internal environment, by noticing if you're very stressed, for example if you're clenching your muscles. We tend to live our lives at a level of stress which is unhealthy."

3. Start self-watching

Professor Jim McKenna, head of the Active Lifestyles Research Centre at Leeds Beckett University, advises we record our successes to motivate ourselves: "Whatever you want to do, whenever you achieve, write it down. You're trying to achieve it every day, so it needs to be nice and small, and all your job is then is to keep the sequence running. It's really as simple as that. What you're capitalising on there is positive self-regard, but also the fundamental process of self-watching. There's a lot of success in seeing your own achievements. When you collect all that up, you can start saying, 'Actually I've got nearly 10 occasions there when I did well, I'm doing well, I'm someone who can change'."

4. Look after your skin

Louise Thomas-Minns (uandyourskin.co.uk), celebrity skin therapist, recommends we pay more attention to protecting and caring for our skin: "Wash your skin nightly. Not removing make-up, daily dirt, oil, grime and pollutants from the skin every night will result in infections and outbreaks. Your skin regenerates at night too, so give it a helping hand. And don't pick! Picking at your skin will result in scarring and create more spotty outbreaks. Wear SPF every day to slow ageing and protect from the harmful effects of UV rays. Find out your skin type from a skin health expert, so you stop wasting time and money on incorrect products."

 

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Source:
Go Active (6 December 2017). "Health Resolutions You Can Stick To In 2018" [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.goactiveincumbria.com/get-started/other/article/Health-Resolutions-You-Can-Stick-To-In-2018-e9f9d40d-ca39-48ed-be2e-b2f88f4061eb-ds

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Daily Grind Getting You Down? Make Yourself Happier And More Productive At Work With These Simple Tips

Employee Wellness is crucial for productivity. Katie Sola gives some tips and tricks for your daily routine to have a happier self. See the article below from Forbes.com.

Eat a lot more fruit and vegetables: Eight servings, to be exact

You know fruit and veg are healthy, but did you know they can make you happier than a major positive life event like a promotion or a major raise? Scientists at the University of Warwick, Great Britain and the University of Queensland, Australia followed more than 12,000 randomly selected people for two years. They found that people who switched from eating few fruit and vegetables to eating eight servings a day experienced a spike in well-being equivalent to getting a job after being unemployed.

Exercise before work

It’s common knowledge that exercise makes you happier and more productive, but to gain the greatest benefits, you should work out before or during the workday. Researchers at the University of Bristol, Great Britain, found that office workers are most productive on the days they exercise.

“Critically, workers performed significantly better on exercise days and across all three areas we measured, known as mental-interpersonal, output and time demands,” research associate Jo Coulson said in a statement.

Watch a funny video and have a snack during the workday

Scientists at the University of Warwick, Great Britain found that watching comedic clips and eating chocolate and fruit made workers happier, and boosted their productivity by 12 percent. It worked in a laboratory setting, so it may well work in your office too.

Keep your commute as short as possible

Long commutes sap your happiness more than you think.

“Every ten minutes of commuting results in ten per cent fewer social connections. Commuting is connected to social isolation, which causes unhappiness,” Robert Putnam told the New Yorker in 2007. He’s a Harvard political scientist and the author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

See the full article Here.

Source:

Sola, K. (2016, July 28). Daily grind getting you down? Make yourself happier and more productive at work with these simple tips [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/levelup/2016/07/28/daily-grind-getting-you-down-make-yourself-happier-and-more-productive-at-work-with-these-simple-tips/#14c8a80b31f5


Do You Have an Employee Wellness Plan?

Originally posted May 19, 2014 by Bridget Miller on http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com.

Employee wellness plans have been gaining popularity in recent years, and with good reason: they can benefit both employees and employers. 
An employee wellness program is simply a program that intends to promote the health and well-being of employees. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but the key is that the program has a goal of improving employee health.

The benefits for employees are fairly obvious:

  • The potential for improved health
  • Support in the form of encouragement, goals, or even team activities
  • A focus on healthier choices
  • Maybe a reduction in cost

But the benefits for employers are sometimes overlooked. This is unfortunate because employers actually stand to benefit a great deal as well. Here are just a few examples:

  • Improved employee health can mean fewer absences for illness and higher employee productivity levels.
  • Investing in employees can improve employee morale. Over time, this can even reduce turnover.
  • Healthier employees often cost less to insure over time.

These benefits are there regardless of company size or industry. Every organization can benefit.

Starting an Employee Wellness Program

Starting an employee wellness program can be quite simple. (Of course, it can be quite involved too, depending on how far the employer wants to go with the program.) Here are some examples of easy ways to get started focusing on employee health:

  • Provide health screenings. Examples include blood pressure or Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings.
  • Provide food fact sheets. Simply having access to more information can allow employees to make healthier choices.
  • Start employee fitness groups. Examples include walking groups or even sport team creation to compete in local leagues.
  • Conduct individual health-risk assessments (i.e., questionnaires that help assess overall health and risk factors at an individual level). These are usually administered by a third party and come with personalized reports on health risk factors.
  • Give away health-related promotional items. Examples include pedometers or water bottles.
  • Remove on-site food that does not promote good health; replace it with healthier options. This can be implemented in many areas, such as vending machines, cafeterias, catering for meetings, break room options, etc.
  • Provide information on the health benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Distribute other wellness-oriented communications, such as health-related newsletters.
  • Conduct training sessions on health or wellness-related topics.
  • Allow longer lunch breaks to give time for exercise.
  • Provide discounts on health insurance or otherwise reduce the cost.

Of course, employee wellness programs can also be implemented on a much broader scale, too. Here are some more in-depth examples:

  • Adding an on-site fitness center or partnering with a nearby fitness center to offer free employee memberships; and
  • Sponsoring employee contests. (Be sure to follow the latest guidelines under the Affordable Care Act when it comes to participation and rewards.)

Be aware that there are some rules governing wellness programs, particularly when a bonus or discount is based on an actual change in health status (e.g., lower blood pressure or cholesterol) as opposed to simply participating in an activity (e.g., a health screening).

No matter what type of employee wellness programs you implement, be sure to have a plan to communicate the program details to employees. Getting employees excited and involved is the first step to gaining the benefits. Focus on the benefits for the employees in all communications and make it easy to participate, even offering incentives where appropriate.


The Morning Rituals Of 15 Highly Successful Small Business Owners

Originally posted February 13, 2014 by Richard Feloni on http://www.businessinsider.com

Each morning, small business owners awake with a fresh determination to continue growing their companies, developing their employees, and keeping their customers happy.

This unique intimacy with both staff and clients requires a high level of effective time management that starts as soon as they get out of bed.

We spoke with 15 successful entrepreneurs who have developed morning routines that clear their minds, energize their bodies, and prepare them for the day ahead.

Jeffrey Zurofsky, CEO and co-founder of 'wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farm, is 'an animal' about his rituals.

Zurofsky is a co-founder of the gourmet sandwich chain 'wichcraft, which started in New York City in 2003 and grew to 15 locations spread over New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. He and his two business partners, Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar, also opened the restaurant Riverpark and its accompanying urban farm.

Zurofsky is so passionate about his morning ritual that he prepares the night before, when he writes out his to-do list and organizes emails. Before he goes to sleep sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., he eats two scoops of almond butter because he says it helps build energy for the following morning.

After he wakes up at 5:30 (he makes up for the limited sleep with a nap later in the day), he walks his dog and does some kind of exercise, whether it's running, a workout, or squash. He follows it up with some meditation, and then he's ready for an intense meal. "I have an enormous breakfast: 1,000 calories, 30 grams of protein," he says. "It changes cuisines, but it's always eggs, a cup of legumes, veggies, and typically some meats — whether it's chicken breast or leftover something." He washes it all down with a glass of green juice with ginger.

Jeffrey 'jeffstaple' Ng, founder and owner of Staple Design, starts his day with a Japanese pour-over coffee.

Ng, who goes by jeffstaple, started his cutting edge design brand in New York City with a single T-shirt back in 1997. Staple Design has worked with international clients such as Nike, HBO, Puma, and Uniqlo, and his signature pigeon logo has made Staple Clothing an instantly recognizable brand in streetwear.

Ng brings the same energy to his mornings as he does to his business. He wakes at 8 every day and scans his phone for urgent emails or messages while still in bed. And rather than settling for a cup of Folgers, he hand grinds quality coffee beans and then does a Japanese pour-over, a style of drip brewing that takes five to 10 minutes for a single cup.

In the shower, he uses AquaNotes, a waterproof notepad, to jot down ideas as his mind wanders. Three times a week, he'll work out with his personal trainer after coffee.

And of course, his outfit is a top priority, which he said he starts from the bottom up: "I get dressed by choosing my footwear first, then build my outfit based on which shoes I'm going to be wearing. Luckily, my wardrobe is mostly clothing I've designed...so it's pretty straightforward."

Jamie Walker, co-founder and CEO of Fit Approach and SweatGuru, starts her day with a 'good sweat session.'

Walker and her cousin Alyse Mason-Brill started Fit Approach in 2010 as a San Francisco-based fitness "boot camp" that has grown to a network of over 4,000 "ambassadors" throughout the country. The two then launched SweatGuru last year as a tool to set up workouts with friends and colleagues. Walker says that over 1,500 businesses are using SweatGuru's services.

Taking a dose of her own medicine, Walker gets up at 5:30 each morning to get in a "good sweat session," which can mean running, working out, or yoga. It helps her begin her day "on a refreshed and calm note," and making exercise her first priority ensures that it doesn't fall off the to-do list later, "since things tend to come up throughout the day when you own two businesses."

Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, gets going by riding his bike to work.

Gilboa founded the innovative eyewear company Warby Parker with Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider back in 2010. Since that time, the brand has sold over half a million frames, a healthy number for an online startup competing against the near-monopolistic Luxottica prescription eyewear corporation.

Gilboa's not really a morning person, but he thinks he's found a solution: "I'm usually a little groggy in the morning, but I find that anytime I exercise to get the blood flowing, I have more energy throughout the day. So I've been riding my bike to work, even in the winter." He usually makes it to the office by 8 a.m., with his brain "woken up" by the bike ride.

Geoff McQueen, CEO of AffinityLive, holds stand-up meetings each morning in the office.

AffinityLive is a growing small business in Silicon Valley that creates business automation software. It doubled its business last year and the team made significant software upgrades.

McQueen hates meetings that serve only as status updates, because he finds that they waste time and lower efficiency. But he also knows the importance of checking in with his team. His solution is a stand-up meeting to start each day.

"We all gather in the middle of our office and stand while bringing up any urgent updates that need to be discussed," McQueen says. "Standing enforces a sense of urgency, so these meetings are quick and efficient, and I'm still able to get a sense of exactly what's going on with my business.

Elle Kaplan, founding partner and CEO of LexION Capital Management, draws inspirations from watching the sun rise over New York.

Kaplan started LexION in 2010, making it one of the few American asset management firms owned by a woman. Within her first month, she achieved $1 million in assets, due to the network she established at firms she had previously worked for.

Kaplan wakes up some time before dawn to make coffee and give her dog Magic a bone. She then gets to reading the news and sifting through emails.

"Although I have technically begun working, the dog at my feet and the rising orange sun evoke a time before the work day begins," she says. "I look out over the park at Lincoln Center and see New York waking up, the energy invigorating me, too, and I get excited for the day. And I am ready to work."

Click here to see the full list of Small Business Owners


Pedal Power - Wellness Infographic

Originally posted on http://onlinemastersinpublichealth.com/pedal-power/

No big surprise: Riding a bike provides more exercise than driving a car. But with cities embracing cycling by building bike trails and lanes and setting up bike-sharing stations, the general health effects of biking can now be studied en masse.

64%

Percentage increase in bike commuters from 1990 to 2009

54%

Percentage of all bike trips purely for transportation

47%

Percentage of Americans who want more bike facilities in their communities

Riding Healthy

The benefits to regular exercise are myriad and that includes cycling, which can have lifelong advantages.

Women who bike for 30 minutes a day have lower chances of developing breast cancer.

Adolescents who bike regularly are 48% less likely to become overweight as adults.

82%

Percentage of bike commuters who believe their health has improved since they began bicycle commuting

30-60 minutes per day

Length of time cycling takes to improve hypertension rates

We Need the Exercise

Why? Because …

  • More than 1/3 of U.S. adults are considered obese.
  • 18% of children ages 6-11 are obese.
  • Less than 1/3 of Americans are getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, the CDC’s recommended minimum.
  • For each hour per day someone spends driving, there is a 6% increase in the chance of obesity.
  • Excess body weight is possibly responsible for more than 100,000 new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year.
  • Exercising regularly helps stave off depression and raises self-esteem.

It’s Cost-Effective, Too.

Biking instead of driving is healthy for your wallet, but it may be even better for the health of cities and towns.

$11.80

Benefits for every dollar invested in bicycling and walking

$115 million

Annual healthcare costs saved in Portland, Oregon thanks to a regional biking trail network

Seeing Results

Let’s take a look at some cities where bike share stations and paths have been implemented and successful.

Midtown Greenway, Minneapolis, MN

Benefits: Home value increase, higher employment rate, number of cyclists increased to 3,500 per day

Jobs created: 700

Wonders Way Path/Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC

Benefits: 2/3 of path users get more exercise, connects East coast as part of 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway

Jobs created: 525+

Valencia Street Redesign, San Francisco, CA

Benefits: Bike traffic increased 144%, improved business in city, traffic collisions declined by 20%, motor vehicle traffic declined 10%

Jobs created: 218

Schuylkill River Trail/Wissahickon Park, Philadelphia, PA

Benefits: 58% of population uses the trail for exercise, cycling has prevented 47,450 tons of CO2 emissions each year, invasive plant removal due to trail construction

Jobs created: 745 volunteer jobs

Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Portland, OR

Benefits: 220% increase in biking, bioengineered riverbanks reduce pollution

Jobs created: 1,050


The 4-Minute Workout

Originally published by Gretchen Reynolds on The New York Times health blog.

Thanks to an ingratiating new study, we may finally be closer to answering that ever-popular question regarding our health and fitness: How little exercise can I get away with?

The answer, it seems, may be four minutes.

For the study, which was published last month in the journal PLoS One, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, and other institutions attempted to delineate the minimum amount of exercise required to develop appreciable endurance and health gains. They began by reconsidering their own past work, which had examined the effects of a relatively large dose of high-intensity intervals on various measures of health and fitness.

For those unfamiliar with the term, high-intensity intervals are just that: bursts of strenuous exercise lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, interspersed with periods of rest. In recent years, a wealth of studies have established that sessions of high-intensity exercises can be as potent, physiologically, as much longer bouts of sustained endurance exercise.

In a representative study from 2010, for instance, Canadian researchers showed that 10 one-minute intervals — essentially, 10 minutes of strenuous exercise braided with one-minute rest periods between — led to the same changes within muscle cells as about 90 minutes of moderate bike riding.

Similarly, the Norwegian scientists for some years have been studying the effects of intense intervals lasting for four minutes, performed at about 90 percent of each volunteer’s maximum heart rate and repeated four times, with a three-minute rest between each interval. The total meaningful exercise time in these sessions, then, is 16 minutes.

Which, the researchers thought, might just be too much.

“One of the main reasons people give” for not exercising is that they don’t have time, says Arnt Erik Tjonna, a postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who led the study.

So he and his colleagues decided to slim down the regimen and determine whether a single, strenuous four-minute workout would effectively improve health and fitness.

To do so, they gathered 26 overweight and sedentary but otherwise healthy middle-aged men, determined their baseline endurance and cardiovascular and metabolic health, and randomly assigned them to one of two groups.

Half began a supervised exercise program that reiterated the Norwegian researchers’ former routine. After briefly warming up, these volunteers ran on a treadmill at 90 percent of their maximal heart rate — a tiring pace, says Dr. Tjonna, at which “you cannot talk in full sentences, but can use single words” — for four four-minute intervals, with three minutes of slow walking between, followed by a brief cool-down. The entire session was repeated three times a week for 10 weeks.

The second group, however, completed only one four-minute strenuous run. They, too, exercised three times a week for 10 weeks.

At the end of the program, the men had increased their maximal oxygen uptake, or endurance capacity, by an average of 10 percent or more, with no significant differences in the gains between the two groups.

Metabolic and cardiovascular health likewise had improved in both groups, with almost all of the men now displaying better blood sugar control and blood pressure profiles, whether they had exercised vigorously for 16 minutes per session, or four minutes per session, and despite the fact that few of the men had lost much body fat.

“This is not a weight-loss program,” Dr. Tjonna says. It is, instead, he says, “a suggestion for how people can make a kick-start for better fitness,” or maintain fitness already gained, when other obligations press on your time.

The results, Dr. Tjonna says, persuasively suggest that “getting in shape does not demand a big effort” in terms of time.

That finding, though, inevitably raises the question of whether the bar could drop even lower. Could, for instance, a mere two minutes of strenuous training effectively improve health and fitness?

Dr. Tjonna, the killjoy, doubts it. There are other groups of scientists looking at even shorter bouts of exercise, he says, “but it seems like they don’t get the same results regarding the maximal oxygen uptake” as the four-minute sessions used in his experiment. Since improved maximal oxygen uptake can reliably indicate better overall cardiovascular health, he suspects that “we need a certain length of the interval to trigger” such health and fitness benefits.

Thankfully, for those worried that a trip to the gym is an inefficient means of completing four minutes of exercise, the workout can effectively be practiced anywhere, Dr. Tjonna says. Sprint uphill for four minutes or race up multiple flights of steps. Bicycle, swim or even walk briskly, as long as you raise your heart rate sufficiently for four minutes. (Obviously, consult your doctor first if you haven’t been active in the past.)

“Everyone, we think,” Dr. Tjonna says, “has time for this kind of exercise three times a week.”


Special thanks to the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Christopher McDougall for their contributions to the Well 4-Minute Workout playlist.

 


Weight Loss Is Employees’ Top New Year’s Resolution

Source: http://www.compsych.com 

Thirty-nine percent of employees say losing weight is their top health concern while 26 percent say stress has them most worried, according to a ComPsych Tell It Now poll released today. ComPsych is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs and is the pioneer and leading provider of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR and FMLA administration services under the GuidanceResources brand.

“Weight loss is, not surprisingly, the number one health concern this year,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “What is significant is that many more employees are aware of stress as a major contributor to health problems. Corporate wellness programs that address both physical and emotional health are uniquely suited to help employees make lasting lifestyle changes, which will ultimately reduce health and disability costs while improving productivity.”

Employees were asked:  Which health issue are you most trying to stay ahead of this year?

39 percent said “weight loss”
26 percent said “stress”
17 percent said “exercise”
9 percent said “diet improvement”
6 percent said “quitting smoking”
3 percent said “other”

ComPsych’s build-to-suit health and wellness program – HealthyGuidance® -- targets employee behavior and lifestyle issues before they become significant health risks. Drawing upon more than 25 years of behavioral health experience, HealthyGuidance uses a consultative, high-touch approach, empowering employees to make healthy lifestyle changes through expert guidance. The program offers:

• Comprehensive health risk assessments and screenings
• Live, telephonic wellness coaching with behavioral, health and nutrition experts
• Online health management tools including diet and exercise programs and incentive tracking
• Action-oriented wellness seminars, turn-key wellness challenges and award-winning communications
• Targeted programs such as tobacco cessation, weight management, stress reduction and more


Exercise Benefits Low-income Americans Most

BY KATHRYN MAYER
Source: benefitspro.com

 

Here’s at least one advantage to not having a hefty salary: Low-income Americans experience a bigger emotional payoff for exercising and eating well.

According to The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, low income people report a bigger emotional boost from frequent exercise and good eating habits than richer people do.

The Emotional Health Index score is based on Americans' self-reports of positive and negative daily emotions, as well as self-reported clinical diagnoses of depression. Findings are based on 180,299 interviews with American adults conducted between Jan. 2 and July 8.

Low-income adults who exercise three or more days per week are about seven percentage points more likely than their counterparts who exercise less than that to report experiencing happiness “a lot of the day yesterday.” Those Americans experience a bigger exercise bonus than do those with higher incomes in terms of daily smiling and laughter, enjoyment and happiness. They're also less likely to experience depression than higher income adults who exercise.

U.S. adults at all income brackets who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days per week reported widespread emotional health benefits, the report notes. But it is particularly evident in those earning less than $36,000 per year.

 


Learn How Inflammation Can Lead to Chronic Diseases

By Dr. Ann Kulze, M.D.

Inflammation is now widely recognized as a primary driver for most all chronic diseases and it appears that losing even modest amounts of weight can effectively douse the damaging inferno of excess inflammation in the body. For this one year evaluation, 438 women were placed on a weight loss program through diet or diet and exercise. For women in the diet and exercise group, measures of C-reactive protein (a key marker for inflammation in the body) dropped 42%. In the diet only group, levels dropped by 36 percent. For both groups, losing just 5% of their initial body weight provided even larger reductions in C-reactive protein. Because higher levels of C-reactive protein have been linked to a litany of chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers of the breast, colon, lung and uterus, this study underscores the enormous benefits that can result from losing even small amounts of excess body fat.


Joggers Rejoice!

Source: Dr. Ann Kulze

May 2012 Newsletter

Wellness Delivered Pure and Simple

In a stunning affirmation of the profound health-boosting effects of regular physical activity, European Cardiovascular researchers concluded that regular jogging can dramatically increase life expectancy. As part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, investigators followed 19,329 adult study subjects over a period of up to 35 years. Study subjects who reported regular jogging at a "slow or average" pace were 40% less likely to die over the study period than non-joggers and increased their life expectancy by an average of 6 years. What's more, regular joggers also reported an enhanced sense of overall well-being.

 

Based on this evaluation, maximum survival benefits were seen in those who jogged between one to two and a half hours a week over two to three sessions. Thankfully, there are numerous types of aerobic activities that get the heart rate into this "jogging zone". According to the lead investigator, the goal is to move to the point of "feeling a little breathless, but not very breathless". (1)