Does that sound like a crazy headline or what? It’s only one prediction made by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers but it does serve as a wake up call.
The researchers responsible for the pred
iction used lots of data from the 1960s to today and tried to determine how people around the world spend their time and how they move in their daily lives.
To quantify the expenditure of energy, the researchers used metabolic equivalent of task (MET), a physiological measure describing the amount of energy spent in accomplishing a task.
- 151 MET hours per week – a person who slept 24 hours in a day
- 240 and 265 MET-hours per week – an active adult who did vigorous activity for 30 minutes to an hour each day, but otherwise had a desk job
Shu Wen Ng, Ph.D., a research assistant professor of nutrition said “This study shows that the same shifts have also occurred in China, India, Brazil and the United Kingdom. In fact, we find adults in the U.K. are more sedentary than those in the U.S.”. This was surprising to us because we work specifically with U.S. based populations. It was interesting to note the U.K. home of the Summer Olympics 2012 had worse sedentary numbers than the U.S.
Also of note, China and Brazil had the two highest absolute and relative rates of decline in total physical activity and some of the higher increases in sedentary time. This is partly because of the modernization of transportation, automation of work tasks, and general convenience items like kitchen gadgets, electrification and piped water.
It appears our adoption of modern lifestyles are the root cause behind the increase in sedentary time and an increase in obesity and obesity related health conditions.
If you want to read more about this, please see Spotlight » Get off the couch!.
We are pleased to announce ChallengeWave, our innovative work site wellness motivation engine, has reached the 3rd round in the Health Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Out of 60 entries, ChallengeWave
was selected to participate in the final round with 10 other innovative ideas focused on addressing the growing obesity problem in our fair state.
This challenge was designed to support the development and implementation of entrepreneurial ideas that promote healthy lifestyle and weight in North Carolinians. The contest is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), Forward Ventures, and the Institute for Emerging Issues. These companies are interested in identifying entrepreneurs with a variety of innovative solutions that address the challenge of reducing obesity rates in North Carolina.
Read the press release from Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina here: http://mediacenter.bcbsnc.com/pr/bluecross/bcbsnc-announces-the-2012-health-235550.aspx
If you’re looking for healthy tips that you can circulate among your fellow employees, the most important thing they need to know is that any form of physical activity is better than doing nothing. One of the reasons that most of the population
doesn’t exercise is because they think they don’t have time to work out. While it is true that most busy adults don’t have 1 to 2 hours a day to devote to full workouts, living a healthier life doesn’t require that amount of exercise.
Most of the other employees at your company probably don’t realize that they can benefit from as little as ten minutes a day of exercise. While that seems like next to nothing, ECU researchers found that just this little bit of exercise will increase focus. The reason it takes so little to make a difference is because another study found that less than 40% of adults get over ten minutes of exercise a week!
What If Employees Don’t Take Any Action?
Once you let your coworkers know that 10 minutes of exercise can increase their focus and longer periods of exercise can do everything from lower high blood pressure to prevent future health issues, you probably assume that they’re going to start exercising on a daily basis. However, after a week or two, you may be disappointed to discover that very few have made any changes to their lifestyle.
The reason that simply giving someone a few useful tips isn’t going to be enough to spur them to action is because people are creatures of habit. After not exercising for a decade or more, it’s much easier for someone to stick with that pattern than it is to figure out how to integrate exercise into their daily routine.
Additionally, even if someone does take action, chances are they’ll fall off course within a few weeks. The reason is it can take anywhere from three weeks to two months for something new to become a habit. Research has found that if someone doesn’t have an ongoing source of support during this time, their chances of succeeding in adopting a new habit are very low.
An Exercise Challenge Can Overcome Common Obstacles
While there are several issues that can prevent employees from getting on the right path to a healthier life, a workplace fitness challenge can eliminate those obstacles. Although the physical activity challenge you implement doesn’t have to complicated, the fact that it will provide structure, motivation and support means that employees will actually be able to make a lasting improvement to their lifestyle.
If you decide that you’re going to organize this type of challenge for your workplace, be sure to download our free activity tracker. The tracker we’ve built makes it easy for employees to record what type of exercise they do on a daily basis. In addition to being a convenient log, it saves them time by automatically calculating their ongoing and final totals.
By starting a fitness challenge in your office, you can improve the lives of every single person who works with you!
Now that 2012 is underway, you’re probably thinking of ways that you can have a positive impact on your company’s workplace. Creating an employee health challenge is one idea that may have popped into your head during a brainstorming session.
Although good health is crucial for a successful career and a happy life, it’s a subject that most people are guilty of not giving the attention it deserves.
While most people simply don’t have time to make healthy changes to their lifestyle on their own, that doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to do so. By starting a health challenge that takes place at work, you can help people adopt healthy habits that will have an impact on them for years to come.
What’s the Best Way to Start a Workplace Health Challenge?
The best type of health challenge is one that encourages employees to exercise on a daily basis. Since the main goal is to put an end to employees’ completely sedentary lifestyle, you don’t need to worry about being overly strict in terms of what type of activity they should do. Instead, you simply want to encourage employees to do anything other than spending all of their free time sitting on the couch.
The best way to motivate employees to participate in this type of challenge is to create teams and rewards. Having teams will give everyone the support they need to stick with the challenge for more than a few days. And even if the rewards are simply bragging rights around the office, it will provide everyone with a source of motivation.
How Can You Keep Track of a Health Challenge?
The most common obstacle HR professionals face when they try to implement this type of challenge is figuring out the best way to track everyone’s progress. Since you want to maximize the number of employees who stick with the challenge, you need to provide an easy method of tracking.
Because we discussed this issue with numerous HR professionals, we were able to come up with a free solution. Our solution is an optimized spreadsheet that functions as a free daily physical activity tracker. For each day of a 4 week challenge, there are multiple slots for employees to enter what activity they did, how long they did it for and how many miles they went. The reason our activity log features multiple slots for each day is employees who really get into the challenge may do some form of exercise in the morning and in the evening.
What’s great about using this tracker is employees won’t have to worry about totaling up their entries. Instead, this will be done automatically. You’ll also be happy to learn that it’s very easy to use this free exercise log. All you need to do is download it below. You will then be able to email it to employees or upload it to your company’s central server. Either option will make it easy for employees to access their daily tracker.
If you’re ready to help your fellow employees by putting them on the right track to better health, download our free physical activity tracker so you can ensure that your competition is a success:
Everyone knows that regular exercise is a good thing. However, recent research has shown that the benefits of consistent physical activity go far beyond being able to shed a few pounds. Multiple studies have found that exercising on a regular
basis can lower high blood pressure, combat depression and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. What’s really appealing about these benefits is they don’t require someone to dedicate their life to working out. Instead, as little as 10 minutes of daily exercise can start to make a difference.
Why Do Most People Fail to Exercise on a Daily Basis?
Although it doesn’t take a ton of exercise to start seeing benefits, most people still have a hard time getting started. Research has found that it takes between 21 and 66 days to form a new habit. Once someone reaches that point, they won’t think twice about engaging in some form of physical activity every day. However, the reason most people don’t regularly exercise is because they don’t have enough initial motivation or support to get on the right track.
The good news is you are in the perfect position to help your company’s employees bridge the gap between getting started and making exercise a daily habit.
How Can You Motivate Employees to Start Exercising?
Thanks to all of the benefits that go along with regular exercise, your workforce can improve their health in just 4 weeks. But in order to get everyone on the right track and prevent their interest from fizzling out after a few days, the program you implement needs to be:
Fun: The reason most people never miss an episode of their favorite shows but can’t drag themselves to the gym is because they perceive the former as much more fun than the latter. While most employees probably view exercise in an unpleasant light, their opinion can be changed. All you need to do to change the way they feel is to show them that exercise can be fun. By designing your workplace fitness program around activities that won’t bore everyone to death, you will be able to eliminate a major obstacle to better health.
Competitive: While it’s fairly easy to get a workforce to try something fun for a few days, the success of this type of program depends on them actually sticking with it for a month. If you’re concerned that everyone’s interest is going to run out after the first week, competition is the best way to keep it high. Whether you put employees together by existing groups or organize them in new teams, creating a sense of camaraderie will make your program a success.
Recorded: Visualization is a very effective way to help employees feel great about the progress they’re making. When someone can see how much time they’ve successfully spent exercising, they’ll be proud of what they’ve done and eager to stay on their current course.
If you’re ready to help create a healthier company, download our free activity tracker so you can easily get your new fitness program up and running:
Earlier this week, we watched a very interesting documentary called Urbanized. Produced by Gary Hustwit, this film is a feature-length documentary about the d
esign of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and how the city design impacts the city dwellers. Featured in the film were some very inspirational architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.
One of the most interesting segments of the film to me was about Bogotá Colombia. Bogotá is a city of over 8 million residents. Bogotá is also an old city, founded in the mid-1500′s, long before cars were a consideration. The segment featured Enrique Peñalosa talking about the work done in his city. Señor Peñalosa was a key proponent of the Ciclorrutas (Or Bike Paths) project. This project was designed to make it easier for citizens to commute by bicycle to the city. Since the construction of the ciclorutas, bicycle use has quintupled in the city, and it is estimated that there are between 300,000 and 400,000 trips made daily in Bogotá by bicycle. A large portion of this use is in southern, poorer areas. The bike path network in Bogotá is one of the most extensive in the world.
During the interview, Señor Peñalosa made a few very interesting comments. I’ll attempt to paraphrase.
- A bikeway is a symbol that shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important as a citizen on a $30,000 car.
- All this (Bogotá’s) pedestrian infrastructure shows respect for human dignity. We’re telling people, “You are important”
- All constitutions have many rights, pages and pages of rights. With so many rights, I’ve never found that any constitution includes the right to park, he said. Governments have the obligation to provide health, to provide education, to provide housing, but not necessarily to provide parking. This is a private problem.
- People tend to think sidewalks are relatives of streets, because they live next to each other he said. But in fact, sidewalks are not for getting from one place to another. Sidewalks are for talking, for doing business, for playing, for kissing. Sidewalks really are relatives of parks.
I happened to have traveled to Bogotá in the late 1990s and saw first hand the tremendous traffic in the area so this piece was especially interesting to me. I’m also very interested in the healthy living aspect of these changes in Bogotá as having safe, convenient bike routes encourage individuals to choose more manual sources of transportation.
After watching Urbanized, I am find I am more aware of how urban design influences the choices of citizens. Are we investing in the right areas to help ourselves make and sustain healthy lifestyles? What are some of the small changes we could bring about to influence our health and the health of our neighbors?
Naturally, we believe physical activity is a key component of personal health. People who make and sustain healthy physical habits achieve better health outcomes because they have personally invested time and energy towards healthier ends. Our product, ChallengeWave helps people start and stick with healthier lifestyles through social support and friendly challenges. If you would like to see how we can help your organization work together towards better total health, please let us know how we can help you.
If you would like to see the film, you can watch the trailer of Urbanized or view Worldwide screenings of Urbanized.
Is your human resources department searching for a way to reduce annual medical expenses without distracting employees from their primary responsibilities? ChallengeWave helps companies achieve medical expense re
duction by providing the three components that employees need to make improving their lifestyles as easy as possible:
Since 1994, The National Weight Control Registry has tracked over 5,000 people who have lost at least thirty pounds and maintained this weight loss for over a year.
One of the key findings of the Registry’s research is over half of the people who made this change did it with the help of a program.
The reason people are less successful at losing weight on their own is because research has shown that social support is a key component of weight loss. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 95% of individuals who had social support from at least three people were able to complete a four month weight loss regimen. Only 76% of the participants without support completed the regimen.
Even more significant was the impact of social support on individuals’ ability to maintain their weight loss. After six months, only 24% of those without support maintained their weight loss. However, 66% of the participants who had support were able to keep off every pound they had lost during the first four months!
Two ChallengeWave features highlight the social support our platform provides. Your company’s employees will be able to send their co-workers high fives to congratulate them on their progress towards a goal. If an employee notices a co-worker is beginning to fall off track, they can send a nudge as a positive reminder to get back on track.
Another finding of The National Weight Control Registry is three-fourths of the weight loss successes they track check their weight at least once a week. This finding demonstrates the important role concrete feedback plays in making it possible for your employees to improve their health.
ChallengeWave will make it easy for your employees to see how they’re doing. Employees will be able to see how many days they’re active each week. They’ll also be able to see how many challenges they participate in on a weekly basis.
In addition to using these convenient summaries for feedback, our platform will also provide your employees with a detailed activity log. This log will allow your employees to easily see if they’re actually as active as they believe.
A Navy Personnel Research and Development Center study found that competition increases achievement.
ChallengeWave makes it easy for employees to turn lifestyle improvement goals into challenges. Although the competition between your employees will be friendly, this component will significantly improve your employees’ results.
To see exactly how ChallengeWave can be implemented to reduce your company’s annual medical expenses, you can try a 2 month free health promotion trial of ChallengeWave.
Is your HR department struggling to find a solution for getting distracted employees to be healthy? While it may seem next to impossible right now, there are five key steps that can get your employees on the right track.
If you want your employ
ees to be healthy, you need to make the improvement process:
Because they already have so much on their plate, employees aren’t going to think about an additional task unless you make it a priority. You need to be able to clearly communicate to employees that because their health matters greatly to the company, it should matter to them as well.
Whether or not someone enjoys an activity has a big impact on the likelihood of them doing it. Fun is so significant that people are more likely to complete a harder activity they enjoy than a simple one they don’t like.
If you want your employees to make a lasting change to their health, they need to be able to do it with activities that they actually want to do.
Complexity is the reason diets generally fail to have a lasting impact on people’s health. Like fun, keeping improvements simple is one of the keys to sustained success.
Your employees shouldn’t be alone on their path to improve their health. They are far more likely to make a real change if they are directly involved with other employees who have similar goals.
Awareness is vital for making changes. If you want your employees to improve their health, you need to make sure that they can track what they’re doing and know the progress they’re making.
How Can My Company Implement All of These Tips?
Although you want your distracted employees to be healthy, you may be concerned that implementing each tip is going to be too difficult to do. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that takes care of all the tips.
ChallengeWave will allow your company to implement all of these effective measures with just one solution. ChallengeWave makes getting healthy a priority by bringing it to your employees’ attention and regularly reminding them.
It makes improving their health fun by allowing them to choose the activities they want to do. ChallengeWave simplifies the process of getting healthy through its user-friendly interface. Employees will know exactly what they need to do to get better results.
A key component of ChallengeWave is the ability for employees to engage in friendly competitions against each other. Not only will they be motivated by competing against each other, but ChallengeWave also has multiple features that allow employees to support each other. The combination of competing and supporting creates an ideal bonding experience for employees.
ChallengeWave also ensures that employees have no trouble keeping up with their progress. In addition to seeing how far along they are towards accomplishing a goal, they will also be able to see a detailed breakdown of their individual activities.
You can give us your email to receive a free two month ChallengeWave health promotion so you can see the type of positive results your company can expect from ChallengeWave.
Are you searching for the best way to improve the health of your company’s workforce? Healthy Workplace challenges are an excellent option for increasing employees’ activity level. Making wellness challenges part of your company’s culture will:
Having employees who want to work together is essential for your company to be successful. While workplace challenges will improve employees’ health, the bonds they form while working towards a shared goal will also carry over to the work they do on a daily basis.
Improving the health of your company’s workforce is the best way to lower healthcare costs. Having healthier employees also means that the number of days people miss as a result of being sick will be reduced.
Although your company is doing well, employees are still stressed about the troubled state of the global economy. Giving employees a program that provides a fun focus will take their mind off these worries. This lower level of stress will improve their performance.
Providing your employees with challenges to improve their health won’t only increase their wellness. The spirit of competition will also carry over and increase employees’ motivation to get more work done.
Employee health initiatives are only a smart choice when their savings outweigh their costs. Although workplace challenges aren’t the only option for improving employees’ health, many other options cost far more than they save. The lower cost of workplace challenges will provide your company with an excellent ROI.
How Can My Company Implement Workplace Challenges?
ChallengeWave will allow your company to implement workplace challenges without needing to take on time-consuming burdens or deal with complicated technical issues. ChallengeWave is the ideal solution because it’s:
Easy to Implement
Many employee wellness options take far too long to implement. By the time a company is able to get one of these options up and running, all of the enthusiasm that was built up for it has already disappeared.
ChallengeWave eliminates these frustrations and provides a solution that is truly easy to integrate with your company. Not only has our solution been designed to avoid many traditional problems, but we will assist you during the setup phase.
Not a Technical Burden
Programs that require a huge investment in new technology are not a desirable option. In many cases, this technology is completely obsolete in just a few years.
ChallengeWave avoids this problem by harnessing the power of the web browser. This allows us to keep our program at peak speed and ease of use.
It also eliminates the need for your company to deal with complex technical issues. In addition to being easy to set up, ChallengeWave will also be easy for your employees to access and use.
We will also be able to customize this solution to meet any specific requirements you have for workplace challenges.
If you want to see exactly how easy it is for an organization to implement ChallengeWave and benefit from what it offers, we will set you up with a no-cost, risk free 2 month health promotion for your company.
Are you interested in improving employees’ health without placing a burden on them? ChallengeWave makes it possible for your company to achieve the highly desirable goal of developing a fun and healthy workforce.
What is ChallengeWave?cheap cialis soft
ChallengeWave is a cloud-based solution that provides a fun way for employees’ to improve their health. This solution allows employees to set health goals and then work towards them with each other. Because ChallengeWave is a cloud-based solution, it’s extremely easy for employees to access and use.
One of the reasons ChallengeWave is both fun and effective is because it turns the task of getting healthier into a social experience. A recent study from the Ohio State University Medical Center found that adding a social component to exercise increases its effectiveness. Our healthy worksite challenges help employees get involved with your wellness programs and adopt healthier lifestyles.
What Can ChallengeWave Do for My Company?
ChallengeWave is the solution that your HR department has been trying to find. By utilizing this program for your company, you will be able to lower healthcare costs.
Not only will ChallengeWave benefit your company as a whole, but it will benefit individual employees. Thanks to its innovative features, ChallengeWave will make it easy for employees to:
Forward momentum is critical for employees to improve their health. Any obstacles that hold them back from getting started can prevent them from accomplishing anything. The user-friendly design of ChallengeWave ensures employees will get started on the right track.
Get Healthy While Having Fun:
Boredom is a big reason why so many people fail to improve their health. When someone is forced to do something they dislike, it quickly depletes their willpower. ChallengeWave makes it possible for employees to get results by encouraging them to do activities they enjoy. Doing enjoyable activities with others leads to consistent health improvements.
Support Each Other:
Not only can employees compete against each other, but they can also support each other. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people lose more weight when they have support from others. The high five and nudge features of ChallengeWave make it easy for employees to lend their support to others.
Why is ChallengeWave the Best Solution for My Company?
Unlike outdated wellness options, ChallengeWave uses the latest web based technology. This eliminates problems and allows your company to begin utilizing this solution in far less time.
As a web-based solution, ChallengeWave is extremely easy for your employees to access. Because they will have no trouble accessing its user-friendly interface, ChallengeWave is a solution that your employees will actually embrace.
Your employees actually using ChallengeWave is the reason it will allow you to cut healthcare costs for your company. Instead of sinking money into a wellness option that has no real benefits for your company, ChallengeWave will provide your company with an attractive ROI.
To learn more details about how your company can benefit from ChallengeWave, enter your information to learn how you can get a free 2 month, no obligation trial for your company.