We have all become very adaptable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by wearing masks, including while exercising at your workplace fitness centre.
While we are not training you for the Olympics, we are still staying on top of the latest information on high-intensity exercise. According to an article published March 9, 2021; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that you SHOULD wear a mask while exercising indoors, even during high-intensity training. The article states that performance is not affected by wearing a mask during exercise. Read More→
For ten years I worked in corporate fitness and wellness. Many of my clients continually told me, I just don’t have time to take care of me. Work was used as an excuse. Let’s face it, we all live full and busy lives, but we all will make time for what is most important.
Did you know that October is Workplace Wellness Month?
Many workplaces try to find ways to help improve their staff’s overall wellbeing, by offering clinics, lunch n’ learns, stretch breaks etc. Here are my top favourite activities to help employees become more aware of their health and improving their health in the workplace. Read More→
How do employers make the best of Workplace Wellness programs during the pandemic?
Photo credit Edward Jenner
First, the transition to working from home caused a great deal of stress. Now, returning to work is having the same impact. Whether employees continue to work from home or are forced to return to the office for any reason, they must be provided a consistent, wholesome wellness experience.
A holistic employee wellness program requires a combination of mental and physical health as its top priority. Currently, the owner of most well-being programs in organizations is HR because traditionally well-being was a culture issue. With the hybrid model of or working from home and/or the office, organizations that have made the pivot with digital wellness platforms will help combat the anxiety and stress their teams are experiencing to aid in lasting change and job satisfaction. So how then do organizations pivot and find wellness solutions that will work? Read More→
A personal training client wanted to ride his bike to work twice a week and once on the weekend. When I asked how the cycling was coming along, he threw his hands in the air and listed all the reasons why it wasn’t happening:
Too many clothes to carry
Too hard to get to work on time;
Kept forgetting lunch at home;
And my favourite; the ride is too short to get in shape (about 15 to 20 minutes each direction)
If you need some organization solutions, try this plan:
Leave at the same time for work every day, 20 minutes earlier than now, then there will be no thinking or confusion and you will have an extra 20 minutes to yourself on driving day.
Ride every Tuesday and Friday, no matter the weather (this will make it happen).
On Monday and Thursdays when you drive to work take a complete set of work clothes, a towel and a bag of toiletries for you to use on ride days and leave these at your workplace.
On Monday and Thursdays bring 2 lunches and leave one in the fridge for the next day.
On Wednesdays bring home any wet towels or work clothes still at the office.
And addressing my favourite roadblock, the short ride not being enough; on the ride home take a longer route or add on a loop close to your house.
Pick one day and time on the weekend to go for a long ride. That is it. Just pick the time and do it. Work your errands and other responsibilities around those 90 minutes. Get up earlier, turn the ride in to social or family time or just say NO to other plans and do it.
Sometimes we are so busy solving work challenges we need a little help with solutions for our own health and well-being. Curtis Health Personal Trainers can help with accountability and solutions to help you meet your fitness goals.
My name is Charles Curtis, founder and President of Curtis Health. For more than 30 years I have been reading, consulting, discussing and writing on the ever increasing costs of poor health in the workplace and improving workplace well-being.
We know that costs associated with employee health continue to rise regardless of the overwhelming evidence of the positive return on investment (ROI) from effective workplace wellness programs.
So how can we determine what programs result in the positive outcome companies now must strive for?
Leadership by example from senior and middle management creates a healthy culture.
Policies and practices that reflect a culture of health and a commitment to a healthy workplace.
Communication is critical. Employees must understand the employer’s commitment to employee health and wellness offering.
Targeted programs to identify top health risks.
Evaluate outcomes for analysis and benchmarks.
Over the past 30 years, some organizations I’ve worked with exist through a philosophy of wellness for everything they do. Starting from the top, leadership believed that organized wellness activities were to be woven into the fabric of the company. The result was continuous growth, positive energy, pride and better outcomes resulting in organization wide cost savings while allowing the wellness budget to continually grow.
Contrary to this winning approach, I have seen cases where a very small budget was given to outfit fitness centres and see how the attendance would be before any more funds were injected into the program. This “build it and they will come” philosophy without strong leadership or investment usually results in little engagement, accountability and ownership of the program. Simply put, a fitness centre, the odd education communication, a weekly class and workshops as a “wellness program” does not result in positive changes in the workplace.
Policies and Practices
A strong business case with solid policies and practices is a must in order to sustain a wellness program over time. The strongest programs have a team of dedicated employees supported by leadership and an outside expert to help guide them through the pitfalls of a start up or refresh. Forming a committee to establish guidelines sets the tone for a strong program. The key to this is having a solid plan and committee members that are committed to the program, the company and the people. Without a dedicated group willing to work hard and support the policies it is an uphill battle.
The best programs have the strongest methods of communications. If the communication system is not effective then it doesn’t matter if you have the greatest programs available.
One example of this I have seen, had a middle management who believed in the program but there was little budget to promote the services. That created a situation where the organization had little “skin in the game” and left the program and sign ups to the employees without financial support, leadership or ownership. That was not a sustainable model. Opposite to that, I have seen programs that have a strong web presence, communication policy and plans. Consistent messages and programs are promoted well in advance throughout the locations and levels of organization, and supported by champions spreading the good word. Again, the more the investment and programs are communicated effectively, the better the returns.
Using passive forms of communication alone, such as educational handouts on fitness, health and wellness, does not achieve a positive return on investment. Behavioral health interventions will provide a much better result, establishing a winning plan for reducing those costly areas of concern and enabling the employee population of your company to flourish.
In my experience, using a health risk identification process and interest survey as a program launching point will ensure all data and health trends are collected from the beginning. This data is paramount in identifying and targeting the key areas of risk and interest in order to establish the most effective services and programs and maintain program accountability.
As a follow up to the risk identification process, it is suggested organizations develop a comparative feedback measurement to evaluate program success and establish accountability. The most successful programs are under constant scrutiny and evaluation. Evaluation can come in many forms: participation levels, participation feedback, pre and post test results and financial cost benefits just to name a few. This process motivates the organization to keep on top of the program and make adjustments as needed in a timely matter.
Charles Curtis is President of Curtis Personalized Health Management and owner and General Manager of 12 Weeks to Wellness: Premier services in providing fitness, health, wellness and coaching programs to individuals and organizations since 1985.
Curtis Health, a Vancouver-based workplace health and wellness provider, has been named one of Canada’s top wellness companies by CoreHealth Technologies, a wellness technology vendor.
“As a leader in individual and Corporate Health and Wellness since 1985, we have built a foundation of creative programming, unprecedented service and proven, effective health promotion and wellness solutions. These services include a full scope of individual and corporate fitness, health and wellness services, fitness facility management, space planning and operations,” says President, Charles Curtis.
Curtis Health, and its partner 12 Weeks to Wellness, provide shared wellness and health coaching services to a variety of industries and organizations including technology, gaming, government, utilities, manufacturing and transportation as well as Employee Assistance Providers and property development / business park fitness facility management. Curtis Health currently provides these corporate health and wellness services to over 12 companies and multiple properties, office towers business parks onsite, encompassing more than 28 fitness centers.
“We are very proud of our accomplishments and how effective we are in making a positive, notable difference in the well-being and health or our clients and their employees. We are committed to evolving our workplace wellness programs to meet the unique needs of each of our clients,” says Curtis.
Holiday season is upon us and along with joyous festive events comes the challenge in keeping a healthy YOU. Less time to meal prep, tempting goodies all over the office, social outings, alcohol and less time for exercise. This is not a good combination for staying healthy.
Below are some tips for managing the next 4 weeks and entering 2019 feeling fabulous!
Eat a healthy snack or meal BEFORE you head to that party. A satiating bowl of homemade chili or hearty soup can curb the temptation for goodies.
Make a healthy dish to take to the pot lucks. Bringing a red pepper hummus and vegetables to dip, spicy homemade nuts, or vegetarian chili means that you know there will be something that you can eat. This is especially important if you are on a restricted diet, vegan, vegetarian, celiac or gluten intolerant.
Be aware of alcohol consumption: Have a glass of water or sparkling water between each alcoholic cocktail. This will help you to decrease the amount of alcohol you consume and it helps keep you hydrated. Or better yet, volunteer as the designated driver. This can mean a lot fewer calories (sugar) and a better morning! J Often food choices have a direct correlation with the amount of alcohol we consume.
If you are suffering from digestive issues try having some apple cider vinegar or lemon water about 10 to 30 minutes before you eat. You can take a TBSP of ACV on its own or put it in a glass of warm water. Both ACV and lemon water aid in digestion.
Plan ahead and use a slow cooker or crock pot for your meals. That way you can be out shopping and come home to a hearty ready to eat meal.
Ensure you are getting quality sleep. Incorporate a sleep ritual which prepares you for the 7-9 hours recommended to support healthy immune and nervous systems. Turn off the screen time an hour before bed as EMF can disrupt sleep.
Eat foods that support your immune system. Stress and a busy lifestyle can challenge our immune system. Incorporate garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric into your meals as often as possible. Start your day with warm lemon water with ginger and turmeric. Add fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut for healthy gut flora. Red peppers, citrus and berries for Vitamin C and antioxidants. Spinach and broccoli raw or lightly steamed to get the most from their packed nutritional value.
Eat foods that support your nervous system and limit stimulant intake. Almonds, walnuts, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, kelp, leafy greens, cold water fish, ginger and basil are a few ‘nervine’ foods. Snack on some raw almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Replace coffee with green tea to decrease coffee consumption and increase antioxidants.
Exercise! Don’t miss out on your exercise routine. It may have to alter slightly but if you plan ahead and schedule your workouts they are less likely to be missed. Exercise can be a great stress coping mechanism. Do low intensity if feeling especially stressed and ensure a post workout stretch, relaxation and rehydration.
Incorporate realistic stress coping strategies. Your usual stress management routines may not be feasible at this time of year. Find moments for down time, deep breathing, walking in nature, gratitude journaling and ‘me’ time. Keeping a positive attitude is proven to decrease the negative effects stress can have on your health.
If you need more individual assistance please contact me.