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Show Your Caring Heart

By Karin Junge, Director of Marketing and Product Management

In February we focus on our heart health and the preventative measures we can take to reduce our heart disease risk. We also celebrate love. After watching the Super Bowl ads Sunday night, I was drawn to the emotion and heart that was put into them. I literally teared up at the #LikeAGirl ad addressing self esteem. In the commercial they asked several teens, adults and boys to demonstrate what it looks like to run, fight, and throw “like a girl” If you didn’t see it, I’m sure you can imagine what they looked like (slow, uncoordinated and weak). Then they asked young girls the same questions and you see a very different visual of girls running as fast as they can, punching as hard as they can and throwing a ball that would have made it from the outfield to home base! Finishing with a question to a ~5 year old girl, “What does it mean to run like a girl?” Her answer, “It means, run fast as you can!” Although some commercials addressed more serious topics like domestic violence and preventing childhood accidents, which created some intense emotions, there were plenty of feel good commercials about love, friendship, kindness, celebrating dads, and a few funny ones as well.

We discussed the Super Bowl commercials at our Monday morning staff meeting and it got me thinking about the five pillars of well-being that we promote, and the importance of our emotional well-being. These commercials were inspiring and promoted spreading kindness, something that we all could easily do more of. At my son’s elementary school there is a school-wide initiative called “Caring Heart” that teaches students to be kind to each other and feel compassion towards one another. I thought that would be a great challenge to promote throughout February. Show your caring heart and spread as much kindness as possible. Here are some of my plans to show my caring heart this month:

 

  • Reach out to coworkers that are doing a great job and tell them privately as well as publicly through our company-wide, “Shout Out,” recognition program.
  • Offer to babysit for friends/family so the parents can have a date night.
  • Bring a treat for the office staff.
  • Invite some neighbors over for dinner.
  • Call friends/family and ask how they are doing, and just listen.
  • When in public hold doors for people, let them go first, give a stranger a complement.

If you want to join in, please share your Caring Heart activity with us at HealthSource Solutions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@HealthSourceUSA ).

 

Making a Difference: Midwest Health Promotion Conference Bucket of Good Will

Each year we select a conference charity to highlight and support. Last year we had great success through a giving concept we learned through Paul Batz at his Good Leadership breakfasts. Paul Batz uses Handy Paint Pails and we use fall themed paperboard containers, but both serve the purpose of the Bucket of Good Will (read a story here). Once again this year we will have containers at each table for your cash donations. Everyone who contributes will be put into a drawing. The “winner(s)” of the drawing will get to choose a charity to receive the donations. Last year we collected over $600 and split the donations along with a matching gift from HealthSource Solutions between: Can do Canines, University of Minnesota Amplatz and Second Harvest Heartland.

Goal: This year our goal is to collect over $1000. That would amount to ~$2.50/person, which can easily be acquired by grabbing a handful of coins from your change jar!

Assignment for attendees:

  1. Take the next few days to brainstorm a charity in case your name is drawn (there will be a list of charities in the conference syllabus if you need ideas).
  2. Put some money in your wallet. If you are forgetful, create a little reminder on your calendar or smart phone.

 

5 Exciting Things About The 2014 Midwest Health Promotion Conference:

By Karin Junge, Director of Marketing

  1. More opportunities to network, including a facilitated networking session with leadership coach Paul Batz.
  2. Breakout sessions and keynote presentations that focus on both professional and personal growth.
  3. Lots of NEW exhibitors. Repeat conference goers will be excited to see that over half of our exhibitors are new this year!
  4. The post conference happy hour is back! Plan to stay for this additional networking opportunity. There will be light appetizers, a cash bar, and a grand prize drawing (must be present to win).
  5. ‘Choose your Charity’ returns again this year! We will be collecting cash donations at each table in the ballroom. Everyone who contributes will be put into a drawing. The winner of the drawing gets to choose a charity to receive the donations.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #MidwestHealth

 

A Top Notch Internship Program!

By Karin Junge, Director of Marketing and Product Management

For over 20 years HealthSource Solutions has had one of the most sought-after internship programs for students studying exercise science and health promotion. As a former intern myself (now a 14 year employee), I can attest to the well-rounded internship experience I received and how helpful it was in preparing me for the workforce. 

We host interns at our corporate headquarters and at our onsite corporate fitness centers year-round. Our goal is for our interns to leave with knowledge, skills and experiences to better prepare them for a career in health promotion. We have our interns sit in on sales calls, attend screenings/health fairs/seminars, create and edit products/programs, participate in professional development trainings, and interview with all of our staff to learn all aspects of our business. Our fitness center interns also learn how to instruct group fitness classes, conduct fitness assessments, create personal exercise plans, and so much more!

We had several interns this summer and all are just about done. We always hope they leave feeling good about their internship experience, and luckily this year we were able to capture their unsolicited feedback through our “Shout Outs” (employee/peer-to-peer recognition platform). See their testimonials written during and upon completion of their internship below:

Intern: Paige Athmann 
Location: Ceridian Fitness Center
Supervisors: Shannon Cox & Jacqui Bosquez

I want to thank Shannon for welcoming me to Ceridian with open arms. She is always available for advice or help whenever I need it and is a great role model and teacher! Also, I want to give a huge shout out to Jacqui and thank her for all she has done in welcoming me and making my start at Ceridian as comfortable as possible! I have finished my first month as a full-time intern and it has been a lot of change but Jacqui has been great at making the transition as smooth as possible. I have learned so many things from her in a short month and I can't wait to see what the rest of my internship has in store.


Intern: Chelsea Banken 
Location: EcoLab Fitness Center
Supervisor: Greta Belanus

Greta, words cannot express how thankful I am to have interned under your supervision at Ecolab. You are an incredible mentor! The passion you have for fitness and lifelong wellness is contagious and outstanding to say the least. Thank you for the trust and honest feedback as I grew not only as a fitness specialist but also as a person. Above all, thank you for expanding my personal boundaries. I could not have gained the skills and experiences I have now without your encouragement and instruction. Thank you Greta! Thank you also to all HealthSource staff; my internship experience has been special and memorable because of YOU. I will keep in touch and I hope to someday work for HealthSource Solutions!


Intern: Ashley Slyter
Location: HealthSource Solutions Corporate Office
Supervisor: Annie Ketcher

A big THANK YOU goes out to the worksite team! The past two months have been great, to say the least. Your guidance and patience with me during my internship is much appreciated. I am thankful to have been a part of such a positive and welcoming team/environment. Not once did I feel discouraged or that my work was less important than anyone else’s. It has truly been a valuable experience and a pleasure interning with HealthSource. Thanks again for everything! Keep in touch.


5 Tips for Healthy Grilling

By Bridget Weiland, Fitness Specialist

Sometimes we associate the word ‘grilling’ with ‘carcinogens,’ but grilling can be a fun and healthy cooking option if done right. For those of us who experience winter for 6 months, grilling is an opportunity to create some tasty food while enjoying the great outdoors!

Here are 5 tips I’d like to share with you to make your grilling experience healthy and delicious!

  1. Clean your grill. By cleaning your grill before and after use you will cut the risk of carcinogens and other germs and bacteria left on the grill grate. This will also ensure the best taste!
  2. Identify hot spots. Depending on your grill, you may not have even temperature throughout. If you have this issue, a cheap and easy testing technique is to place pieces of bread across your grill and monitor how fast they cook so you can identify the hotter/cooler spots.
  3. The faster the better. Or the smaller the better. The faster you cook, the lower the chances are of your food charring. To reduce the amount of time your food is on the grill and avoid charring, precook meats in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. Another option is to cut up your meat into smaller portions and/or flatten it out, and flip often.
  4. Reduce bacteria in your burger. USDA recommends heating or grilling your ground beef to at least 160 degrees. Additionally, always follow temperature guidelines on meat, poultry and fish packaging.
  5. Think beyond the meat. Since fruits and vegetables do not create carcinogens when they char, they are a tasty & healthy grilling option! Try some of my favorites: sweet potatoes, peppers, asparagus, apples, portabella mushrooms and pineapple. Be creative; grilling should be a fun experience for you and your palate!

What I Learned From Too Much Summer Sun

By Bridget Weiland

Let’s be honest, many of us love getting that nice bronze glow during the warm days of summer. The problem can be too much too soon. Sun burn is harmful to our skin and those with naturally darker or olive skin-tone, like myself, are still at risk for skin cancer. Some are more at risk than others, but all of us should take precautions. Unfortunately, I didn’t protect myself, and learned the hard way.

I spent the majority of my high school years in a tanning bed preparing for the Prom or Winterfest dance. The tanner you are, the better you look, right? Wrong! I look back at pictures and am thoroughly embarrassed. I lived in Northern Wisconsin. Who was I trying to kid? This pattern carried into my college days, when tanning salons charged next to nothing for an “unlimited” membership. Unlimited to a college student calls for over-indulging. Fast forward to last fall. I arrived back from my honeymoon in Mexico after over 9 years of damaging my skin and I finally saw the light. I am, like I said, one of those people that tans easily, doesn’t burn, and fully takes advantage (sans- sunscreen) of those rays. Sunscreen was not even in my vocabulary. After returning from sunny Mexico, I noticed a couple spots on my face, similar to scabs. I thought it was weird as my skin is pretty clear, but I brushed it off. I would pick at these spots, they would bleed, come back, bleed, and come back. This was an ongoing cycle for over a week. That’s when I started to do some research. My symptoms matched the definition for squamous cell carcinoma. To be sure, I went to the doctor. He was worried as well and did a biopsy. A few days later, he told me that (in laymans terms), I was forming lesions on my face from sun-damage. Basically my skin was telling me to KNOCK IT OFF! They weren’t cancerous yet, but eventually they would be. So now, I wear a moisturizer with SPF, I limit my sun exposure to 10-15 minutes at a time, I wear sunscreen, a hat, and I will never, EVER go in a fake sunbed again. Additionally, I actually like my skin lighter. You can see my features more and I know that I am not endangering my life any longer.

My advice to you: Please be sun smart and safe! Wear moisturizer or foundation with SPF, try to limit your time outside between the hours of 10am-4pm, and make sure you get a full body check up from your doctor each year!

4 Simple Stress Busters

By Karin Junge, Sales & Marketing

How do you handle stress? Are you able to combat it in a healthy way? Or do you hold it in and find yourself filling up on comfort foods, staying up late at night, drinking alcohol or using tobacco?

Fun, Fitness, Fiscal… So Many GREAT Reasons to Bike!

Photo taken on a biking excursion through Acadia National Park, Maine

By Karin Junge

For many years, as a corporate wellness coordinator/fitness center manager, I promoted Bike to Work Day. This usually occurred on a day in mid-May when weather is typically unpredictable (cold & rainy just about every year!). It was a hard sell and a lot to ask people to do: Ditch your 4 wheel ride that provides speed and protection from the elements for a 2 wheel ride that connects you with nature, allows for shortcuts, gives your heart/lungs/muscles a workout, eliminates the stress of sitting in traffic…. Or wait… was it a lot to ask & a hard sell????

Running: What’s Your Mental Game?

By Dawn Boyle, Executive VP

I recently ran a ½ marathon with my family. Age, love of running and training differences between the 4 of us was drastically different. We didn’t sign up for this race to win or compete. It was just something we decided to do together. The fact that it was on the naval base where my son lives was a big part of that decision.

A week after the race, my daughter sent me an article on the 75 things that go through a runners mind while running. By the way, she does not enjoy running! A few of these items included:
• What a beautiful day for a run!
• This stinks.
• Well, five miles is only two and half miles each way, which is basically two miles each way, so I’m really only running four miles. That’s not too far.
• It’s starting to feel far.
• How long have I been running? A year?
• SIX MINUTES?!
• I can barely remember what my life was like before I started this run.
• OK, concentrate. There are still four-plus miles to go.
• But who counts the first and last mile? This is pretty much an easy three miler.
• Man, I think I’m hitting that “second wind” thing my gym coach was talking about.
• Wait, never mind. I’ve been running down a decline.
And so on…

Running is as much mental as it is physical. You need to build strength and endurance in both. For the physical, start small, start slow, and have a plan to build your running skills. I’ve followed a half marathon and 5K/10K training program to build my endurance and to be ready for my races. For the mental, here are some strategies that can help you push through when you’re getting tired or frustrated:
• Listen to music that pumps you up
• Run with a buddy who can distract you, encourage you, and push you
• Focus on your breathing, for example: inhaling for a 4 steps and exhaling for 6 steps
• Use positive self talk to encourage yourself
• Visualize yourself running your race and pushing through the rough patches
• Enjoy the scenery, maybe take a different path than usual

Whatever your reason, running can be a lifelong activity. Always remember to have the correct gear (shoes, clothing for weather), stretch and run safe! And now it’s spring….. So go out, find a new path, and enjoy your run, whatever the distance!

 

Reflections from the Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference

By Carolyn Peterson, Worksite Services Manager

After spending the best part of a week at the Art and Science of Health Promotion conference last month, I was amazed at the energy and almost sense of urgency from the presenters regarding the job at hand for health promotion – especially from the first and last keynote speakers.

The first presenter, Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH from the University of Michigan connected health behaviors with ‘life on purpose’. Through a personal journey of his own, he encouraged us all to look beyond the traditional health metrics and help people look at their personal purpose in life. He stated that the definition of health is when your purpose in life and how you live your life are in alignment. His work focuses on breaking down individuals’ defenses so they want to make meaningful change. He gave us the SPACE acronym, which he concluded to be predictors of vitality for healthy living:

  • Sleep
  • Presence – (Mindfulness)
  • Activity
  • Creativity – express emotions
  • Eating Well

The final keynote, David Hunnicut, PhD, from WELCOA, started his presentation with a slide with the words, ‘People value their health most when they lose it. This is when eyes are opened’. The title of his presentation, ‘The Power of One’, was a call for action to all wellness practitioners as we are at a crossroads in this country and we can make a difference. He showed the following inspirational video encouraging all of us to never give up.

His message was clear - we are on the brink of incredible need to help companies, communities, schools and individuals ‘get their health back’. We need to be focused and ready to meet the need.