Ask the Expert
Alex Garcia, MD
Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
Affinity Medical Group
Q: Can you give us some tips on why and how we should exercise?
A: Companies have long understood the benefits of having employees who exercise regularly. These include a reduction in health problems, leading to lower health insurance costs, less absenteeism in the office and increased productivity. Fewer business expenditures and better performance on the part of the employee leads, in turn, to a more successful business.
One of the most important benefits of exercising on a regular basis is the reduction of the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death of people above the age of 34 in the United States. Major risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity. Regular exercise combats all of these problems by lowering blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and by burning calories. Thus exercise, in addition to proper nutrition and not smoking, is vital in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Regular exercise also reduces the risk of certain cancers and other diseases such as strokes. It also significantly improves quality of life by reducing stress, improving mood, and helping sleep.
The body requires exercise to function properly. Lack of exercise leads to heart and lungs that do not function efficiently. Aerobic exercise such as walking and bicycling improves stamina. Lack of exercise also leads to weak muscles and stiff joints, which can lead to injuries. Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops muscles with increased strength and endurance. Stretching exercises are also important. Improving flexibility reduces the chance of injury at the workplace.
Determining how often to exercise depends on your current level of activity and it is something your doctor can help you determine. If you are a beginner, start off slower than you think you should. Doing too much too soon can have negative consequences, such as muscle strains and stress injuries.
Most people can start by doing cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises such as walking, jogging or bicycling for 30-60 minutes per day, at least three days a week.
Weight training should be done no more than three times per week, targeting the same muscle groups on non-consecutive days because muscles need adequate time to recover.
Many people forget to stretch. Flexibility is important. Stretching can be done every day or at least three times per week. After warming up, perform 5 to 10 stretches that target the major muscle groups, and hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds.
Dr. Garcia is an orthopaedics and sports medicine specialist with Affinity Medical Group in Appleton. To learn more about him, visit his profile on our web site.
Have a question for our experts? Just ask!
Workplace Wellness Tip
New Year Challenges
By Kelly Kelderman, wellness specialist, Affinity Occupational Health
If you're like most Americans, fitness is on your mind with the arrival of the New Year. It's the time of year when it's hard to find an open elliptical at the gym, yet most resolutions to live a more active lifestyle fail. Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you don't take time to set a realistic, specific goal, there's a good chance you won't stick with it.
To get your worksite moving, consider these options:
1. Send an e-mail to your employees around the start of the year with a goal planning worksheet like this one from "My Goal Worksheets
2. Partner with Affinity Wellness and Prevention to offer one-on-one fitness consultations. Through this service employees sign up for a 15-minute appointment at your worksite to sit down one-on-one with an Affinity wellness specialist and walk out with a personalized fitness plan. The plan includes the mode(s) of exercise, working around restrictions, as well as the frequency, intensity, and duration. We also discuss additional factors that will increase success, such as how to work around barriers, social support system, confidence rating, rewards systems, and more.
3. Offer a worksite fitness challenge to capitalize on the natural motivation come the New Year and keep employees committed. Affinity Wellness and Prevention has free turn-key fitness programs to offer you.
Contact Riley McDermid:
(920) 628-1533 or firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested in receiving a free turnkey fitness challenge or if you would like more information about the one-on-one fitness consultations.
With the Experts
The Top 5 Updates in
Labor and Employment Compliance
Presented by Robert Simandl, Attorney with Simandl & Prentice, S.C.
Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2011
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah
A frequent and requested speaker at Breakfast with the Experts, attorney Robert Simandl, of Simandl & Prentice, S.C., will present on "what's new" in labor and employment law. Mr. Simandl will discuss the following hot topics as well as address your questions in an extended Q&A session.
1. The changes adopted by the NLRB in case handling, deferral of matters to arbitration and how to deal with Unfair Labor Practices.
2. ADA: the importance of return to work programs in the accommodation analysis.
3. Social media policies: when is enough enough?
4. Violent and threatening employees: the tools of employers in safeguarding the workplace.
To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or email@example.com.
|Welcome to 2012 and the healthy new you! This edition of Health e-News is all about how to ramp up your personal and corporate wellness efforts for better heart health, weight management, exercise habits and more.
Please share the news! This edition contains several articles of interest to employees and their families. Their version of this newsletter is available at: http://conta.cc/zdTh8n
Happy New Year!
Director, Employer Solutions and Urgent Care
Peek Inside a Proactive Organization's Journey Toward Wellness
A fictional account, described by Brian Harrison, MD
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Eight weeks without a soda! Almost nine, in fact. And, it seems easier ever since I've started publishing my diary in this Weekly Employee Newsletter (Hello everybody! Tell all your friends that you got a hold of your CEO's private day planner!). Today I'm celebrating Month Two's progress with a little longer entry.
Many of you have told me your 2012 Wellness Resolutions have gone well, too. You can't imagine how much that motivates me. And I've surprised myself by "going public" with mine.
I launched the idea to our last Strategic Planning Committee of the Board late last year. Of course this was only personal at first. My dental hygienist had showed me the cola stains on the backs of my teeth using that cool oral camera they have. But those brown spots looked none too cool. And I had seen the Wellness Committee's "Sugar Stacks" break room display in October, where they had 10 sugar cubes in front of that can of soda. Have a look yourself; your jaw will drop: http://www.sugarstacks.com/beverages.htm
And, I had read about the increased risk of metabolic syndrome that comes from just a one-can-a-day soda habit. Tell me, do any of us WANT diabetes?
"Personal" quickly became "corporate" when I looked around that November committee meeting and saw eight sodas on the table. So I went public then and there with my upcoming 2012 New Year's Resolution. And, I've never had better buy-in to a strategic plan. On the spot, our CFO Bob told us he had a tobacco-free quit date of 01/01/12, and our HR VP Sara revealed her 6,000 step-per-day pledge. That's when this all began.
Since then, you've seen Sara's and Bob's ongoing reports in our Weekly Newsletter, too. All three of us share the heartwarming support you have given. As I wrote in February, it meant the world to me when Rick from maintenance emailed me the Can the Soda pledge from his department, that all six of them had gone soda-free for a month (a shout out to Beth, Steve, Otis, Tad, John, and Rick!). And, Bob now has four of you who have joined him as Quit Smoking Buddies on his list serve, plus twelve of you who are already Tobacco Free Heroes. Sara and her "ad hoc" committee from HR, the "High Steppers," together average over 1,000 miles a month! That's the distance from here to our warehouse in Houston, Texas! So, her 12 "committee members" have challenged the employees there to "take a hike" - from Texas to Wisconsin! She already sent them 12 pedometers.
I hope all of you have made use of the ABC Corp water bottle I sent you. I'm sporting mine to every meeting. And I want you to know I'll be making my "Abe Lincoln Rounds" again this month. If I pop into your department and find you using your water bottle, you'll get a five-spot from me, on the spot! Sara will do the same to randomly reward associates wearing pedometers.
So far, so good. I earnestly hope the same for each of you who work here at ABC with me, and your families, with whatever self-improvement plan you've made for 2012, public or private. We're in this together!
Sincerely yours in health,
How to Enjoy the New Year Without Worrying About Extra Pounds
By Julia Salomón, MS, RD, CD, Corporate Dietitian and Nutrition Educator for Affinity Health System
Food is personal. Food provides us with the nutrition and fuel our bodies need, but it does more than that. It symbolizes who we are; it represents our heritage, ethnicity and culture. It is a reflection of our current environment, our geography and history, and what we eat is influenced by the flavor of food and our taste for it. What and when we eat reflects our feelings and our social interactions. This coming year, take the time to establish a healthy relationship with food.
Be people-centric, not food-centric.
Celebrations are all about being with friends and family, being with the people you like and love. The focus of parties and reunions is not about the food - it's about the people. So don't make a big deal out of the food.
Eat only foods you like a lot - not a lot of any food.
If someone gives you something to taste, go ahead and taste it. Then stop and evaluate if this is something you really like and should continue to eat. If so, eat and savor every single bite of it with gusto. If you don't like it, don't eat it. If you are trying a new food, put a small portion of it on your plate, not a big portion. The same holds true with calorie dense foods; eat a small portion, enjoy it and be done.
Review before you eat.
Just like you would peruse the menu at a restaurant before making your choice, take the time to look over the party table and make a mental note of what you really want to taste. Then consider what offerings can wait, and try them only if you are still hungry after you've sampled your first choices. That way you don't end up with a plate piled high as a mountain. Use this same strategy at restaurants, potluck dinners, etc.
Don't eat anything bigger than your face.
This might sound funny, but it is a reminder to keep portion control in mind. Start out with smaller plates; try eating smaller servings of the food. Do you really need two big heaping scoops of mashed potatoes or would one moderate scoop do?
It takes roughly 15 minutes for your brain and stomach to connect and really register that you are full after you have started eating. A fast eater easily over-consumes food in that time. To stall the process, try putting your fork down or drinking water between each bite. Another strategy is to eat with chopsticks! All in all, slow eating will allow you to enjoy the food and not get too full.
Is it head hunger or stomach hunger?
We eat for many reasons. We eat because we need sustenance and feel hungry. However, we frequently eat for reasons not related to hunger at all. We eat because the food is in sight; we eat because others around us are eating; we continue to eat beyond fullness because the TV show (or movie) we are watching isn't over yet! Be aware of stomach hunger ("true hunger") and head hunger (mindless eating), and recognize the difference between feeling satisfied after a meal and feeling full. Follow this mantra: eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied.
Remember Bucky Badger
Although he does not play in the games, Bucky Badger, the University of Wisconsin mascot, doesn't just watch from the sidelines. At football games he does pushups to match the score after each touchdown, field goal or safety. Like Bucky, find ways to keep active even when purposeful activity is not obvious. For example, take the stairs at the mall and at work. Go for a walk after dinner and arrange to meet your friends for a stroll instead of coffee and a muffin.
For 2012, make wellness a priority in your life!
Good for the Body and Soul
Make the mind-body connection! Affinity's Integrative Medicine services offer a variety of alternate therapies and classes to suit your wellness needs. New classes are starting this month, and we welcome you to explore with us how Integrative Medicine can improve your health this year and beyond.
Affinity Integrative Medicine offers a holistic approach to treating and preventing chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, and others. Services include:
Acupuncture - "We see so many patients benefit from acupuncture - even those who have failed many other treatments," says Jen Norden, MD, medical director for Integrative Medicine. "The clinical evidence on acupuncture is growing, and it is so much safer than other interventions, that it really should be used earlier in the course of illness and pain, and should not be reserved as the last resort." Acupuncture is available at the Affinity Medical Group clinic in Greenville, as well as at the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine in Oshkosh.
See below for information on insurance coverage for acupuncture.
Massage - "Massage is therapeutic for both your body and soul," says Tammy Gillespie, massage therapist for Affinity Integrative Medicine. "Not only do you get that alone time to make yourself feel better, you are also doing something good for your body that feels good. Patients with chronic muscular conditions can gain relief from massage therapy."
Tammy suggests putting one dollar in a jar for every healthy choice you make in the New Year - not eating out, going to the gym, etc. - then rewarding yourself with a massage!
Mind-body therapies - Mind-body medicine includes techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, breathing exercises, yoga, and tai chi. "These therapies can be very helpful to people and have clinical studies supporting them for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, back pain and others," Dr. Norden says. "We discuss this with individual patients, and our classes help to teach them."
For more information on Affinity Integrative Medicine, visit www.affinityhealth.org/im.
For a list of mind-body class offerings this winter, visit www.affinityhealth.org/integrative.
Does insurance cover acupuncture?
More insurance companies are covering acupuncture, says Dr. Norden. Following is a summary of what is generally covered, but patients still need to check their own policies for details.
- Network Health Plan covers acupuncture for headache, next pain, back pain, post-op nausea, and chemotherapy-related nausea.
- Medicare and Medicaid never cover acupuncture, even with a supplement.
- Anthem covers acupuncture for nausea, and osteoarthritis of hip or knee.
- WPS covers acupuncture for nausea and post-op dental pain.
- United covers acupuncture only if the patient has a rider.
- Humana covers acupuncture headaches, low back pain, neck pain, nausea from chemotherapy or pregnancy, and osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Veterans Hospital covers and refers patients.
Patients are welcome to pay cash for acupuncture treatments (treatments usually cost $60-$100 each) and are usually eligible for flexible spending benefits.
|Are You Aware?
Ten minutes can save your life! That's all the time it takes to complete each of Affinity's free online health assessments, HeartAware and VascularAware.
Heart disease kills nearly one million Americans each year, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Are you at risk? Discover what changes you can make to your lifestyle to ward off heart disease.
Vascular diseases are conditions of the blood vessels. They can affect a variety of organs, including the heart, brain, kidneys, arms and legs. Vascular conditions are common with age, but many people may not recognize the symptoms. What are the signs of vascular disease, and what can you do to prevent it? Take our online assessment to find out.
Learn your risk factors today at:
For those who need follow-up care, Affinity's cardiology and vascular medicine experts offer skilled diagnostics and treatment.