We found this very informative article recently posted on the SHRM website (link below) on the importance of using a health risk assessment (HRA) as part of your workplace wellness initiative. The article authors, Jerry Noyce, Andrew Crighton, M.D., David Anderson, Ph.D, and Nico Pronk, Ph.D open the article with the following statement;
The health management industry is growing rapidly, and many factors—such as technology, the increased use of social media and health care reform—are driving innovations in helping participants to improve their health. In the midst of all this change, however, the health assessment continues to be an essential and valuable component of a best-practice workplace health management strategy.
The article makes a strong case for the HRA, but here are some additional things to consider before implementing an HRA in your organization.
An HRA can help you to begin organizing your employee population according to risk level to determine who the low-risk people are, and who the high-risk people are. This will allow you to develop workplace wellness programs designed to keep low-risk people at low-risk, and programs designed to help high-risk people move to low-risk.
But an HRA is not a one time thing. Keep in mind that your employees will fill out an HRA when they’re ready, not when the practitioner/provider is ready. A person may not be ready this year, but they will be next year. Therefore, an annual HRA is a better choice, and it’s very helpful in establishing annual risk ratings and risk scores.
HRAs are frequently provided as part of a package of services provided by your insurer or wellness program provider. Whomever provides your HRA, make sure their product is HIPPA compliant to safeguard your peoples health data.
Here are 10 steps to include in the implementation of an HRA in your business;
- Select Your HRA Provider carefully.
- Determine Who Is Eligible To Participate.
- Identify An Open Enrollment Period.
- Select Your Incentive.
- Create Your Communications Campaign/Plan.
- Finalize and Distribute Your Initial Correspondence.
- Finalize and Distribute Your Formal Invitations.
- Launch the HRA.
- Monitor Completion Rates.
Interested in more information about the value of an HRA in your workplace wellness program? Contact the Lifestyle Wellness Group for a complementary consultation.
Heat and exercise: Keeping cool in hot weather.
With the heat wave of 2011 still affecting large portions of the country, it’s important to be smart about getting your exercise in while remaining cool.
This article from the Mayo Clinic can help you do just that. If you can’t move your exercise indoors, than it may be important to change the time of day and type of exercise you are performing so as not to experience any of the heat-related illnesses discussed in the article. Pay particular attention to the signs and symptoms mentioned on page 2.
Stay fit and stay safe until the weather cools.
Money is tight but don’t let it impact your health.
In the article at ExperienceLife.com (linked below) by Joseph Hart, it’s pointed out that “health is a priority that belongs in everybody’s budget. And the more you value your health and fitness, the more important it is to economize with those priorities in mind”.
Cutting back on healthy routines to save money is short-term thinking that can come back to haunt you in the future. Hart lists what he calls health-related budget-cutting temptations, reasons for not making the cuts and alternatives to saving that may help keep both you and your wallet healthy.
Want to give your full body a challenging workout in a different environment?
Try this outdoor workout from Experience Life Magazine — weather permitting of course.
Under-the-Sun Workout: Strength Circuits for Outdoor Exercise
When the weather is nice, take your routine outside to your local park or playground to do this super strength workout.
Following a walk or run, or performed on their own, these easy-to-master circuits give your full body and core a challenging strength workout. Both circuits take a total of about 20 minutes to complete.
That’s a really good question. Wellness is a big topic and we are frequently asked about where to begin if wanting to pursue a wellness lifestyle. This is an excellent question and it is grounded in both the depth of the topic of wellness and the need to make smart choices when starting to make potentially difficult lifestyle changes. Let’s begin to answer this question by defining the word lifestyle.
According to the American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, lifestyle is a way of life or style of living that reflects the attitudes, values, and habits of a person. Based upon this definition, it is easy to see that lifestyle is developed, modified, and adapted by a lifetime of acquired experience, habitual ways of thinking, attitudes, and the values one holds. As such, your lifestyle becomes deeply engrained in who you are as a person and therefore can be difficult to change.
The first step in the process of making lifestyle changes of any kind is to determine your readiness to change. Research conducted by Prochaska, Norcross, DiClemente,1 and others indicates that self-change is a staged process. Typically, we move from not thinking about changing a behavior, to thinking about it, to planning to change, and then testing out ways to do it before we actually start. It’s also important to determine if you are Ready, Willing, and Able to make a desired change.
The following questions may help you determine your readiness to change:
Are You Ready?
- Why do you really want to change the behavior (the benefits)?
- Why is it important to you?
- Is this change something you want or something that others want for you?
- Why shouldn’t I try to change the behavior (the obstacles)?
- Do the benefits outweigh the obstacles?
- What would it take for me to change the behavior and overcome the obstacles (what’s my strategy)?
- Can I really do it?
Are You Willing?
Are You Able?
Take the Quiz
Take a short Readiness to Change Quiz to help you determine if you are ready to embark upon the process of change. Click here to download the quiz, print it out and spend some time really thinking through the questions.
Now that you’ve decided that you are ready, willing, and able to change your lifestyle, where do you begin? Research 2 3 4 5 continually shows that the two most important ways to bring about the greatest degree of healthful benefits and get you soundly on the road to a wellness lifestyle are exercise and weight management/proper nutrition (notice that I did not say diet). I know you didn’t want to hear that, but it’s true. There is nothing else you can do that will so profoundly change your life, change your physical and mental health, improve your outlook, or increase your longevity than getting active and eating healthfully.
What’s the Next Step?
In the next two articles in this series we will discuss the wide ranging benefits you can derive from activity and proper nutrition.
Can’t wait for the next installment to start incorporating wellness into your life? A coach might help! Contact the Lifestyle Wellness Group TODAY for a complimentary 20 minute coaching session to discuss your plans and goals.
References of Interest
- Prochaska, J. O., Norcross, J., & DiClemente, C. (1995). Changing for good: A revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward. Harper Paperbacks. ↩
- Haskell, William L et al. (2007) “Physical Activity and Public Health: Updated Recommendation for Adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.” Circulation 116.9: 1081-1093. Web. 10 Nov 2009. ↩
- Osborn, Robyn et al. (2011) “Health Behaviors and Wellness.” Health Services for Cancer Survivors. Ed. Michael Feuerstein & Patricia A. Ganz. New York, NY: Springer New York, 85-105. Web. 22 June 2011. ↩
- Van Velden, D. (2008). “Positive Lifestyle Interventions: The Key to Whole-person Wellness.” Continuing Medical Education 23.6 : 294. ↩
- World Health Organization. (2011). Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved June 22, 2011, from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/en/index.html ↩
New Guidelines on Quantity and Quality of Exercise from ACSM
Looking for the answer to the age-old question of how much exercise is enough? Well the answer is now available with the release this week the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) new recommendations on the quantity and quality of exercise for adults. In the new guidelines, chair of the writing committee Carol Ewing Garber stated
“The scientific evidence we reviewed is indisputable. When it comes to exercise, the benefits far outweigh the risks. A program of regular exercise – beyond activities of daily living – is essential for most adults.”
The press release provided a synopsis of the ACSMs exercise recommendations categorized by cardiorespiratory (cardio) exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility exercise, and neuromotor exercise (motor skills such as balance, coordination, gait, and agility).
The overall message in the newly released exercise guidelines is that virtually any kind of activity is better than none. The updated guidelines still recommend 150 minutes or more per week of cardio activity, and include information on strength training. While the guidelines emphasize that exercise beyond the activity from daily living is important, they do conclude that doing things like gardening and walking the dog—even standing occasionally—are still better than sitting in a chair for hours on end. The long and short of it is simple…get off the couch and start moving at least 5 days per week for at least 30-60 minutes per day. Believe me, your body, mind, and overall well-being will thank you for.
You can read the full report here
If you—like most humans—answered yes than you might find this article in the Los Angeles of interest. According to the article, a vacation should not be seen as a luxury but rather as an investment in your health. Getting away for a stress-feee break can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and help you live longer. and just maybe make you smarter.
To reap the greatest benefits from your vacation however, it’s important to make it as stress-free as possible. According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, only those vacationers who felt very relaxed while they were away report being happier than those people who had not taken a trip. In other words, when you take your holiday this year, chill out, relax, and enjoy yourself. Your entire system may thank you when you return.
In today’s world, a relaxed travel experience may be a tall order. What with hords of people everywhere you go, travel delays, lost luggage—which by the way you had to pay extra for just to get it on the plane—and all the other hassles associated with travel, it may be difficult to truly relax. My suggestion, do your best to enjoy your holiday and remember one of the reasons you decided to get away was to get away and relax a little. — source latimes.com
This One is Music to My…uh…Brain!
Here’s an interesting article and video that discusses 2 of my favorite things–the brain and music, particularly jazz. I have always wanted to make music but have never been successful. This video talks about the creative aspects of the brain that allow for creativity and improvisation in music.
Unfortunately the video doesn’t tell me why, in spite of being fairly creative, I can’t seem to get beyond Chopsticks. It does tell us a lot about how creativity works in the brain however.
You can read the ful article, read related articles, and watch related videos here
If you want to go a deeper into the subject of the brain and music, check out the podcasts available at Library of Congress Music and the Brain Project
Evidence from a growing number of studies does not support the theory that cellphones raise the risk of brain cancer, an independent international panel of experts—the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection—has found after carrying out a thorough analysis of all published research.
After reviewing the study, Professor Anthony Swerdlow, a researcher for The Institute of Cancer Research was quoted as saying,
“Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.”
However, the current data only goes back 10 to 15 years to the first widespread use of cell phones. Swerdlow did cover himself by adding that
“If there are no apparent effects on trends in the next few years, after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it will become increasingly implausible that there is a material causal effect. Conversely, if there are unexplained rising trends, there will be a case to answer.”
Personally, I’m not yet ready to give up my mobile. But then I almost always use my headset for any call that may last more than a couple of minutes. And as I’m deeply attached to my brain, I say better safe than sorry. — source - Medical News Today
Read the study here
So, where do you stand on this issue or any other items in this post? Leave your comments. And share the knowledge with the links below.