Tag Archives: Wellness

UAB Innovations in Wellness Conference

innovations wellness conferenceRecently the organizers for the inaugural UAB Innovations in Wellness Conference reached out to me to see if I would be interested in attending. It sounds like a unique event with some great insights, and I am excited about the opportunity to check out this new conference.

Even better, I can take you with me.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

If you’re local to the Huntsville/Birmingham area (or within a reasonable drive and you want to get a hotel in Birmingham) and you are interested in attending, please send me an email by Thursday, November 8th. Continue reading

Why I Run (Race Report + Wellness Insights)

Okay, so I am dying to talk about the race I did last week, but I don’t have a good place for sharing running/race reports. So I’ll talk a little about the “why” and try to connect that back to wellness initiatives (or something). :-)

bourbon chase 2012

Me, Duke, and Tina looking very fresh before our first set of legs

What is the Bourbon Chase? 200 miles. 12 runners. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

When the gun went off last Friday afternoon for our team to start Leg 1 of the Bourbon Chase relay event, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. What I got: sleep deprivation, sore muscles, new friends, and loads of fun and memories as a member of team Modern Bourbon Warfare IV.

I was runner #5 in our van of 6 runners. The way the relay worked was one van is active on the course at a time, so runners 1-6 would run a leg, then that van would go “inactive” for 5-6 hours while van #2 and runners 7-12 ran their portions (approximately 33 miles were covered each time a van was active). Each runner ended up with three legs to run, averaging anywhere from 13 to 19 miles total per person. My own total was 18.3 miles, and even though I’ve run that far on plenty of previous occasions, it still hurts a good bit when you run each leg as hard as you can. Continue reading

Our accidental wellness program

Pinnacle PoundersA quick decision at work last fall has led to untold hours of friendship and fun, and it was entirely unplanned. This is the story of our accidental wellness program.

August 2011

One of our engineers decided to start training for a local marathon. She was already running some, and a few of us at work decided to start going out once a week for a run just to support each other and have some company. What started as one person’s athletic goal has blossomed in so many ways.

Fast forward to March 2012

For three of us, today will be our final training run before this Saturday’s Andrew Jackson Marathon in Jackson, TN. I always said that I wasn’t interested in running a marathon, but after working and running with these amazing people, I just couldn’t resist joining them for the 4 month long training period. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating choices, and we’ve definitely become better friends in that time as well.

The numbers

We’ve estimated that the group as a whole has covered over 2,000 miles just in the past 8 months! A sizable portion of that falls on us training for the upcoming marathon, but the rest is spread among half a dozen others who join us for a few miles whenever schedules allow. The average runner burns 100 calories per mile, so that pushes the group total calories burned to 200,000! In order for a person to drop a pound, they’d need to cut approximately 3,500 calories from their diet over time. Using those numbers, the group has burned enough calories to shed just over 57 pounds. Continue reading

Employee Financial Wellness

employee financial stressIf employee financial wellness is not on your radar, it should be. The level of employee stress and the resulting business impact caused by this widespread issue can’t be ignored. Some studies indicate that up to 1/4 of your employee population is dealing with serious financial issues.

In fact, Financial Finesse\’s most recent research on the trends of employee financial issues indicated that nearly 21 percent of employees reported “high” or “overwhelming” levels of financial stress. With financial problems being cited as one of the leading causes of stress in America, today\’s workplace is greatly affected by employees who are experiencing financial problems.

The hidden victims

One issue that many don’t realize is that this affects people like our military pretty heavily. Having recurring or serious financial difficulties makes it more difficult for soldiers to maintain a security clearance (financial problems make you a target for foreign government intelligence). In fact, soldiers can be declared unfit for duty if they are unable to resolve the financial issues they have. Imagine losing your job due to a few poor financial mistakes, and you realize how serious this is.

What you can do about it Continue reading

Donuts and Wellness

Last Saturday I ran a local race that involved running four miles and eating a box of donuts at the halfway point. Yep, it’s about a fun as it sounds. I picked up a few ideas that touch on wellness and thought they would be worth sharing.

The banana was right

One of the runners in the crowd was wearing a banana costume. On the back was written, “Today I see how the other 1/3 of Alabamians live.” That was a fairly obvious reference to Alabama’s 30+% obesity rate, and it really hit me hard to put it in those terms. Yes, I’ve heard the statistics, and yes, I think it’s crazy that 1/3 of people who live here are overweight.

For some reason, though, the idea that some people make these poor eating choices every day didn’t occur to me until the banana guy came around. More than anything else, it really just gave me a little more perspective on the demographic that wellness programs at work should be focusing on. Thanks, banana man.

Runners who eat vs. eaters who run

One of the issues I’ve seen with wellness initiatives (such as paying for gym fees or providing nutritious snacks) is that it affects those who are predisposed to healthy activity and eating. If you offer to pay for me to go to a gym, I’ll take you up on it because I’m already relatively athletic. However, offering to pay the gym membership for one of our software engineers would get you laughed out of the building. And if you brought them some fruit or veggie snacks, they’d ask for fries and a Coke.

It was interesting because one of the guys on my team for the Donut Run was a self-proclaimed “eater who runs.” He might be stimulated to get up and participate in an activity when there is a handful of donuts waiting for him, but he’s not going to get out there and work out on his own without some sort of incentive. For the record, I’m a “runner who eats.” :-)

The Pounders

A few months back we started a running team at work. The Pinnacle Pounders go out every Tuesday afternoon and run together. There is a great sense of camaraderie, and it’s just a great way to de-stress after a long day. Again, the only people who show up are those who are already runners! We are working to get some of our staff out there to walk our little course, but so far we’ve been unsuccessful. I’m hoping the people who see us enjoying ourselves and having more energy during the day will consider joining us, but only time will tell.

So, any other thoughts on wellness (or donuts)? Have you had an experience with a wellness program? What was it like?