Q&A: Holistic Wellness in the Workplace

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Holistic wellness approaches are gradually becoming more common in the workplace, with more organizations realizing that truly enhancing well-being requires a broader view of wellness. ERC continually sees employers gradually incorporating holistic approaches into their wellness and health care options, and citing very positive results.

Wellness is now recognized as much more complex than just physical well-being. Employees are "whole people" comprised of many aspects (physical, emotional, mental, etc.), and when one aspect is off-balance, the body and its health can be negatively impacted.
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The Importance of Vaccinations

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Unless we can eliminate vaccine-preventable disease, it is important to continue immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

In our mobile society, over a million people each day people travel to and from other countries, where many vaccine-preventable diseases remain relatively common. Without vaccines, epidemics of many preventable diseases could return, resulting in increased - and unnecessary - illness, disability, and death among children and adults.
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Ten Tips to Starting (and Sticking with) an Exercise Routine

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1. Start slowly and add a little more over time

Many people start out by trying to do too much too quickly. If you’re not currently exercising, try to do 10-20 minutes three times per week. Add a few minutes each week to build up to 30 minutes. Next try to add another day.

2. Get someone to join you

You are much less likely to skip a workout if you arrange to do it with someone else.

3. Vary your routine

Decrease your risk of injury and boredom by doing different activities.

4. Make exercise fun

Plan your walking route to see things that interest you. Listen to music, audio books, or watch TV while you exercise.

5. Keep an activity journal

This is a great way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.

6. Try something new

Not everyone likes the same kind of exercise. Try and find an activity that you enjoy doing.

7. Make exercise a habit

Try to choose a regular time for exercise. Make an appointment with yourself and block it out on your schedule. Research shows that it takes at least three months of doing something to form a habit.

8. Make exercise a priority

Think about your reasons for wanting to become more active. You have to believe something is important in order to make it happen.

9. Knock down your barriers to exercise.

Think about what obstacles have kept you from being active in the past and strategize solutions to solve those problems.

10. Every little bit helps

Try to incorporate more activity into your everyday life. Take a walk at lunch or do errands by bicycle. Take the stairs. Walk to your co-workers desk to communicate.  Play outside with your kids or dog. Work in the yard.

Information provided by Julie W. Allen, M.A., Exercise Physiologist, University Hospitals

Healthy Snacks to Eat on the Run

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If you are always eating on the go, carrying healthy snacks can be beneficial. Healthy snacks should include something that will give you energy, as well as sustain the energy. Snacks should be consumed between meals when you need an energy boost. Remember energy from snacks may only last a few hours. Consuming a snack for a meal may not give you the energy you need to carry you to the next meal.
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Re-thinking Healthy Resolutions

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At one time or another, many of us have set a New Year’s Resolution regarding exercise or weight loss. If you walk into a fitness center in January, there is usually an influx of people who have resolved to “get in better shape” or “lose some weight” in the New Year.

By the time March rolls around, however, many individuals’ resolutions have fallen by the wayside and census in fitness centers return to usual levels. The following are some tips to put some more resolve into your resolutions by re-thinking of them as goals.

1. Set realistic, specific, and measurable goals with a target date.

Examples: I’m going to lose 10 pounds by July 1 or I am going to exercise for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
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Strategies for Stress Management

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Information provided by ERC Partner University Hospitals

Stress – the mere mention of the word often evokes images of racing heartbeat, headache or tension. Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in causing disease.  

Americans continue to struggle with high stress levels, which can have a detrimental effect on their health. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased from 2011.  The problem is not limited to adults. Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens, and psychologists say that if they don’t learn healthy ways to manage that stress now, it could have serious long-term health implications.
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Health Tip: Aim for 5 Per Day

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By Heather Butscher, MS, RD, LD
Outpatient Clinical Dietitian
University Hospitals Health System

Americans are just not meeting the fruit and vegetable recommendations. If fruits and vegetables are so important, then why aren’t Americans eating enough? The United States Department of Agriculture suggests a minimum of two servings of fruit per day and three servings of vegetables per day. However, a 2012 study shows that only 33% of adults eat enough fruit and only 27% of adults eat enough servings of vegetables per day. The statistics are even worse for high school students. Less than one third of high school students eat enough fruit and a dismal 13% eat the minimum servings of vegetables daily.  

Eating enough fruits and vegetables are a part of a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are important as they contain nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and vitamin K as well as potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables are associated with the reduced risk of many chronic diseases and since they are relatively low in calories, they can replace higher calorie foods to aid in weight loss. If fruits and vegetables are so important, then why aren’t Americans eating enough? 

Consuming more fruits and vegetables does not have to be hard. Below are some pratical tips for making sure you get your five a day: 

  • Make half of your plate at each meal fruits and vegetables.
  • Focus your meal around vegetables such as beans instead of meat.
  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator for easy access. 
  • Always travel with a fruit for a snack. 
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables for last minute addition to meals and easy cooking in the microwave. 
  • Buy produce from local farmers and buy-in season.

Interested in bringing this message to your employees? ERC member organizations receive discounts on corporate wellness services through University Hospitals, including nutrition seminars brought on site to your organization.


Healthy Employees: Staying "Heart Healthy"

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By Ron Todaro, RN, COHN-S

Cardiovascular diseases are conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and stroke. Some of these conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no obvious symptoms, but some may have symptoms such as pain, confusion, swelling, or shortness of breath. It's important to know your risk factors for these cardiovascular conditions and what you can do to avoid a diagnosis or manage an existing condition.

Heart Disease Prevention: Managing Your Modifiable Risk Factors

Treatment of heart disease can be difficult. That’s why it's better to try to prevent these health conditions, particularly in people with known cardiovascular disease risks. But how do you prevent heart disease? How do you maintain good heart health?

It may seem simple, but for the most part, lifestyle plays a huge role in keeping the heart healthy and reducing cardiovascular disease risks. Many of these suggestions are probably familiar to most people. They include:

  • Managing your stress levels
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and foods low in fat and cholesterol — maintaining a mostly plant-based diet
  • Becoming active (at least 30 minutes per day) and either maintaining your current weight or losing weight if you are overweight.
  • Monitoring your blood pressure. If it’s high, get it under control following your doctor’s guidelines.
  • Screening your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If your numbers have increased, you may be able to reverse the trend.
  • Following treatment guidelines if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes

Eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, and talk to your doctor about any health concerns you have or any symptoms you notice. The earlier heart problems are detected, the better the chance you can begin treatment before any long-term damage has occurred.

University Hospitals Partners with ERC to Offer Member Discounts

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University Hospitals, one of the nation’s leading health care systems, has partnered with ERC to offer significant discounts to its members.

ERC members will receive a preferred discount on the following services from UH:

  • Executive Health
  • Infertility Treatment
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Travelers’ HealthCare Center

UH, a 7-time NorthCoast 99 winner, has also joined ERC to access the numerous HR services they provide including surveys, online HR tools and the popular HR Help Desk.

“On behalf of the entire University Hospitals Human Resources Team, I am thrilled that we have entered into this partnership with ERC. ERC has a well-respected knowledge and resources base in the Human Resources field and will provide us with additional tools to support our employees and be a Best Place To Work,” said Jason Elliott, VP of HR at UH.

The University Hospital Executive Health Program is a high-quality, customized, convenient and comprehensive program that provides its participants with peace of mind. This specialized ERC member package includes a three-phased approach that provides consistency at each of the testing facilities.

A unique offering for Northeast Ohio organizations are the University Hospitals Corporate Health Wellness Services. The information an employee gains from the Wellness Services will empower them to take better care of their health and start positive habits. It will also help an organization control rising health care costs, absenteeism, turnover, boost productivity and morale.