Friday, May 2, 2014

How Exercising at Work Saves Money

REMINDER: In The Archive is all of the articles that I
have posted since I started this blog. There is TONS OF
INFORMATION there for you to learn from. It's the type
of information that not only saved my life...It also has
given me a better quality of life.

I know I should NOT post negative information because it
turns people off. SORRY...Part of life is negative and I
DON'T run from it.




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By Dr. Mercola

    The top 10 leading causes of death cost the US economy $1.1 trillion, including
not only direct medical care but also the indirect loss of productivity.

    Employers are not only feeling these effects when their workers become
chronically sick or unproductive but also via health insurance costs, which
continue to outpace inflation and earnings growth.

    Yet, many of the leading causes of death, including cancer, heart disease,
diabetes, and even infectious diseases like the flu can be warded off by a healthy
lifestyle; imagine the lowered death toll, not to mention costs to the economy and
employers, if more people decided to take control of their health

    Many companies are, in fact, starting to realize the significant impact employee
wellness has on their bottom-line and are instituting various employee wellness
programs as a result.

Employee Wellness Programs May Save Millions of Dollars a Year on 
Health Care

    In 2008, $1.6 billion was spent on healthcare for state employees in California
alone. Twenty-two percent of this was for treating high blood pressure, heart
disease, stroke and kidney disease  ailments that can be largely prevented through
diet and exercise.

    According to a study by the Urban Institute, if dietary and exercise changes
reduced the prevalence of these conditions by even 5-15 percent  a conservative
estimate  the state would save up to $54 million per year.

    The California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care
Services is now working on implementing a worksite wellness program for its
workers that is designed to give flexibility to scheduling, allowing workers to attend
onsite exercise classes during their lunch hour, for instance.

    At Blue Shield of California, meanwhile, a worksite wellness program has re-
organized food in the cafeteria, providing easier access to healthful items, and also
provides employees with a gym and exercise classes at no charge.

    There are even treadmill desks and stand-up workstations, giving employees a
chance to stay active during their workdays. Four out of five Blue Shield of CA
employees have taken part in the program, and the results speak for themselves:

        From 2008 to 2012, regular physical activity increased by 32 percent
        Rates of high blood pressure decreased by 66 percent
        Smoking rates dropped by 48 percent

Making Wellness Programs Accessible to Employees Is Key

    Implementing a comprehensive company wellness program is a win-win for
both the employers and employees, but successfully getting employees to actively
participate in the program is key. This means designing them to actually make it
realistic for employees to participate. As written by one public-health specialist in
The Atlantic

        My family's experience with worksite wellness programs is typical of many.
We were given a small incentive to complete an online baseline health risk
assessment, and then given recommendations on how we could be healthier. We
each got calls from a nurse to discuss these recommendations, but neither of us had
the time for that in the  midst of our busy workdays.

        Worksite wellness programs won't save employers money -- and may in fact
further drive up costs -- if they aren't designed to help employees actually change
their habits.

    Companies are well advised to take a simple survey to find out which programs
most interest their employees, and provide positive incentives for participating.
CVS’ Caremark, for instance, has actually fined employees $600 for not under-
going an annual wellness review, a step that is virtually guaranteed to have a
negative rather than positive impact on employee morale.

    An example of a positive incentive program that would attract workers is a point-
based reward system, which doesn’t have employees competing with each other.
Instead, employees are rewarded points that can be used for cash bonuses, free travel,
shopping sprees, a month supply of healthy groceries, and/or gift certificates, for
example. Making company announcements on employee successes also helps
encourage and inspire others to participate in wellness at the workplace. Health care
insurance companies are also utilizing incentive programs. When companies
implement wellness programs, insurance companies lower their premiums.

 Empowering wellness programs and simple tools that focus on preventative
health that and other companies offer to assist their employees in
lifestyle modification include:

  1.  Fitness Programs

        Onsite gym with a variety of workout equipment and free-weights

        Classes in yoga, dance, aerobics, Tai Chi, etc.

        Onsite trainers and class instructors to help employees customize their

        Paid off-site gym memberships

        Organized office team sports and activities: bowling, softball, group walks
        during breaks, bicycling, weekend  hikes, etc.
        Encourage staff to use the stairs instead of taking the elevator
        Provide a secure site for bicycles to encourage cycling commuters

  2.  Healthy Work Place Food Choices

        Cater office lunches by local health food stores  providing organic foods

        Offer gift certificates to local organic restaurants  and/or health food stores

        Provide organic tea and coffee

        Replace processed food and soda vending machine choices  with sparkling/
        mineral water, nuts, dried fruits and other healthier choices

   3. Educational Seminars and Classes (at lunch or after hours)

        Offer classes by local chefs on how to prepare healthy meals, preparing proper
        food portions, and how to create healthy snacks

        Offer educational courses by local experts and/or authors on specific related

   4. Mental and Emotional Tune-ups

        Onsite health clinics offering: chiropractic, physical therapy, chair massage,
        nutritionists, etc.
        Discounts or free services provided by an alliance of  off-site specialist

        Employee Assistant Program providing confidential  access for employees
        and their immediate family members to professional counseling services
        for short-term help           in confronting such personal challenges as: alcohol
        and other substanc abuse; marital and family difficulties; financial or legal
        issues, and emotional distress

        Also provide appropriate referrals to community and  private services for
        long-term challenges

Is Your Workplace Lacking a Wellness Program?

    Many small and large companies are embracing wellness programs to help lower
health care costs and create a healthier office culture but some have yet to see the
light. If your employer has yet to implement such options, you (or even better a
group of your colleagues) may want to introduce the idea to the human resources
department or another key decision-maker in the company.

    When doing so, let them know that nearly 70 percent of costs associated with
health care are due to preventable conditions and that new data indicates that
companies who have moved away from managing the cost of illness and instead
support their employees abilities to manage their health have lowered company
risk for large catastrophic health care claims, and will pay less in health care costs
in the long run.

    As an example, IBM spends more than $1.3 billion a year on health care for the
450,000 employees, retirees, and family members it covers in the US. Their
long-term investment in empowering their employees to be proactive in adopting
healthier behaviors has paid off; their wellness program saved the company $190
million in health care costs, according to a 2009 report.

 No Time to Exercise at Work?

    Hopefully your place of employment will be receptive to implementing a
wellness program if it doesn’t already have one in place. If not, at least inquire
about adjusting your working hours so that your schedule allows you to take
control of your health when you’re not at work (such as working from home a
couple of days a week or lengthening your work days to work a four-day week).

    If you can’t exercise during your lunch hour or other breaks at work, you’ll need
to fit it in elsewhere. Viewing exercise as a non-negotiable part of your day is really
the trick to getting it done. Ideally, schedule it into your appointment book the way
you would an important meeting or social event. Set the time for it and then make
no excuses about keeping it. Some options to add more activity to your day easily

        Walk or bicycle to and from work

        Walk your child to school, but recognize you will need far more intense exercise
        than walking to achieve any major benefits

        Be active in and around your home -- use the stairs to exercise, work in the
        garden, or install some gym equipment

    These are all excellent recommendations. However, I recommend not settling
there, but continuing and implementing a well-rounded fitness program to really
optimize your health benefits. This includes high-intensity interval-type training
like Peak Fitness, which gives you a phenomenal workout in just 20 minutes a
few times a week.

    Wellness in the workplace definitely matters, and many companies are moving
toward this healthier, happier office culture. If, however, your workplace is not and
you can’t find employment elsewhere, it becomes all the more important for you to
implement a wellness program in your life outside of work.

Thank You Dr. Mercola

 God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.

Larry Nelson
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513

Have a great day...unless you have made other plans.

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