Is it More Expensive to Eat Healthy?

Recent research has been released in the news stating that it costs an average of $1.50 more per person per day to eat healthy. This is attributed to the fact that unhealthy food is mostly processed, mass produced, and made convenient and less expensive. It is no surprise that the study has found this conclusion. Those of us in the wellness arena have always believed that fresh produce, lean cuts of meat, poultry, healthy fish, and whole grains and fiber (thus the perimeter of the grocery store) is often the most expensive area of the grocery store. There are a number of factors that drive this cost up, such as the quality, the perishability of the food, the potential for crop damage and waste, and the service and manpower attached, among others.  

Using Body Weight as Resistance

As fitness professionals, we often hear that peoople have trouble fitting exercise into their busy schedules. It is a common notion that a gym membership is necessary for one to get in shape or stay in shape. While a gym membership can be helpful and fun, achieving a healthy fitness level and maintaining it can be done without one. Some of the most challenging exercises to perform are those that involve using the body weight as resistance. A simple circuit can be developed of timed intervals, such as 30 seconds in which an individual performs push ups, crunches, squats, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks, dips on a chair or stair, or many other exercises that challenge you to use your own body weight. These can all be done in your home or hotel room and require minimal space. On a nice day, you can also go outside to your yard or a park and add some intervals of light jogs, sprints, side shuffles, hops or skips, or power walks.

Why Some Workplace Wellness Programs Work and Others Don't

A recent article in the American Journal of Health Promotion (September/October 2013, Vol. 28, No.1) discusses why many health promotion programs have been unsuccessful.
A quote by Editor in Chief, Michael P. O'Donnell, states: "We used to think that all we had to do was tell people about the risks of smoking, excess alcohol, and obesity, and the benefits of exercise, a nutritious diet, and stress management, run them through a health screening or health risk assessment (HRA) to help them learn about their personal situation, and they would use their intelligence and rational mind to turn their lives around. Programs based on these assumptions have failed for decades."
 

Rev Up Your Cardio with Pyramids!

Getting bored on the treadmill, bike or elliptical? Do some pyramids to make the time pass quicker and also to challenge your cardio fitness.
If you are on a piece of cardio equipment, try this challenge:
 
15 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
30 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
45 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
60 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
45 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
30 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
 
Then finish out your workout the way you normally would. The next time, do two rounds of pyramids, then three... See how many you can do and watch your fitness level soar!

Shorter Intense Workouts: More Effective or Just a Time Saver?

We increasingly hear more about the benefits of shorter, more intense workouts and less frequent exercise versus longer, more frequent workouts. Traditional exercise guidelines have suggested for many years a recommendation of 3-5 times per week of exercise for a minimum or 30 minutes per session, and preferably 60-90 minutes total per day.
More recently the research has suggested that high intensity intervals can be more effective than longer duration, lower intense workouts. In the past few months, however, articles have touted the benefit of minimalist workouts, such as 16-30 minutes total per week dispersed into quick intervals, such as 5-6 minutes per session of all out work to rest ratio of 30 second intervals, such as 30 second sprints repeated five or six times with brief rest intervals in between.

Functional Fitness in Corporate Settings

With the surge in functional fitness training over the past 5-8 years, many corporations are finding it more financially feasible to be able to offer fitness to it's employees through the use of fitness equipment that is more functional versus the standard one piece of equipment per body part. There are a number of options available, including the use of bands, bosu's, resistance balls, body bars, dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, TRX straps, battling ropes, boxing bags, and the larger multi-station functional equipment pieces. Many of these pieces of equipment can save space as well as dollars in planning an on-site corporate fitness center. When coupled with the right staff, such as LSE Health and Wellness fitness trainers, who all have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a health and fitness related field and certifications from nationally recognized organizations, the options are limitless.

Health Care Dollars at Corporate Levels Continue to Rise Due to Lifestyle Behaviors- Corporations Need Corporate Wellness

 
A recent article was published last week in several newspapers across the country discussing the need for more corporate wellness programs. It's estimated that 50-75% of all dollars spent on health plan costs are due to lifestyle or behaviorally driven conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, stress and smoking. The ROI on wellness programs administered by experts in the field, such as LSE, is now estimated at $5.81 for every dollar spent.

Heart Rate Monitors

I had a friend ask me this weekend about heart rate monitors. She just started using one and mentioned that it beeps at what the monitor considers her top number in her heart rate range but feels like she isn't exercising at her peak at that point. I told her that she was probably more fit than what the heart rate monitor's range was for women her age. This is good information for those of us who use one to remember that we enter our data such as sex, age, height, weight and the monitor will calulate what our training zones are based on this and where the average participant would be. Often times, however, a person who has been working out for years and is very fit will be able to comfortably go beyond that top number and be able to benefit from doing so. Remember that the monitor is just another tool and the best tool is our own perceived exertion. We may have to adjust those ranges based on our fitness level.

High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training continues to be the rage in the fitness arena. The concept, which is well supported by research, is that during your workout your body naturally has intervals of peaks and valleys, since it cannot sustain high intensity for long durations. Longer duration workouts require endurance, which is often done at lower intensity to be able to sustain the duration.

Welcome to LSE Health and Wellness

The economic concerns for employer based healthcare:

  • 20% of the most unhealthy individuals account for 80% of healthcare costs.
  • Most of this cost is directly attributable to behaviors that can be modified or managed.
  • Employer healthcare cost increases annually 8% to 12% a year----three to four times the rate of inflation.
  • The United States spent $2.1 trillion in healthcare in 2006---$7,092 for every man, woman and child.
  • Employers pay more than one-third of these costs.
  • Three chronic conditions, asthma, diabetes and hypertension, are associated with 164 million lost work days per year at a cost to the employers of $30 billion.

Bottom line: If employees get healthier the company becomes more profitable and productive.