In fitness circles, this week’s news cycle is focused on FItbit’s new Alta HR. This fitness tracker is notable for packing previously available features into a 25% smaller package.

Meanwhile over at Mio, they’ve innovated by evolving core assumptions about what quality of activity is required to build the healthiest possible you. Their Mio Slice has introduced the PAI System which stands for “Personal Activity Intelligence.” PAI is Mio’s proprietary algorithm which documents both Steps and Heart Rate giving you a simple number that shows how much activity you need to live a longer, healthier life.
The science behind PAI is fascinating and you can learn more about it here.

And while FIX does specialize in sourcing the right fitness devices for companies of all sizes, we are also aware that there are tens of millions of devices already in the market; many of them subsidized by employers. This is fantastic news for employee wellness, but FIX is often approached by companies with a reoccurring problem“After initial enthusiasm, fitness device usage has tapered off in our organization.”

Happily FIX has the solution. While device manufacturers have steadily improved the technology of fitness trackers, FIX has been making fitness fun.

A Step Ahead Walking Challenges are designed to add engaging stories, team-based competition, and marauding zombies to your groups fitness efforts. These gamified walking challenges are proven to have the highest engagement and retention in the business. Check us out today!

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No devices? No Problem.
A Step Ahead wellness games also have a variety of manual entry options for those without fitness trackers.

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“A lot of people want to play it safe by engaging in some kind of physical activity every now and then. Not me, though. I live for the rush.”

Those are the words of sedentary thrill-seeker Daniel Erickson who risks his life every day through a strict regimen of sitting at his computer, watching television, and playing with his smartphone in bed.

“I’m skating on thin ice living my life like this, but chasing after those extreme risks is just in my blood,” said Erickson, who noted that spending the vast majority of his time in a slumped or fully recumbent position is all part of the nonstop game of chance that he thrives on “I know that if I keep tempting fate by stretching out on the sofa all day, I’ll eventually pay the price, but I’m not someone who can do things halfway. If I’m going to play with fire by lying across those cushions every chance I get, then I’ve got to go all out, with as little bodily movement as possible. That’s just the way I am.”

The full harrowing story of Mr. Ericson can be found here as reported by The Onion.

The Onion is, of course, the top satire publication in world, and this edition of the FIX Wellness Newsletter is brought to you in early celebration of April Fool’s Day.

All kidding aside, when your team is ready to quit fooling around with dangerous sedentary work habits, check out the epic Corporate Walking Challenges at http://www.astepaheadchallenge.com/.

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April Fool’s Edition: When pulling serious pranks on coworkers, keep plenty of room between you and them.

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“It’s clear that moving matters.”

That’s the bottom line assessment of Dr. Jack Groppel, a founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, as reported in the New York Times.

Dr. Groppel’s study of the corrosive effects of uninterrupted sitting yields a very simple recommendation to sedentary workers – walk for 5 minutes every hour during the work day.

The study, which compared all-day-sitters with those who walked for 5 minutes per hour, clearly showed the a range of benefits to the walking segment.

The walkers reported greater happiness, less fatigue and considerably less craving for food.

The subjects’ ratings of how they were feeling rose when they did not sit for six uninterrupted hours.

They also noted that the walking breaks did not cause people to feel more tired or hungry, but instead had the opposite effect.

As the doctor says – moving matters.

If your team needs to jump start its daily activity for greater health and productivity, be sure to check out our office walking challenges for walking challenges that work!

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Spring into action! Spring is the best time of year for a walking challenge – the weather is great and employees who have been cooped up for the winter are excited about getting out and active.

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Last week in Part 1 of this series on standing desk health research, we discussed reporting from Europe that showed the scarcity of evidence of health benefits derived from standing at work.

This week, we go to the New York Times where they delve into the topic of standing for weight loss.

This study involved fitting subjects with respirator masks that precisely measured the energy expenditure of several kinds of activities.

One group, tasked with simply sitting, unsurprisingly burned a low 20 calories over the course of 15 minutes.

Much more surprising was that the group which was instructed to stand for 15 minutes only burned 2 more calories, for a total of 22.

Subjects who walked for 15 minutes, however, were in an entirely different league.
As the article notes:

…when the volunteers walked for 15 minutes, even at a fairly easy pace, they burned about three times as many calories as when they sat or stood. If they walked for an hour, the researchers calculated, they would incinerate about 130 more calories than if they stayed in their chairs or stood up at their desks…”

They continue on noting that making walking a daily habit may be enough “to help people avoid creeping, yearly weight gain.”

The evidence in favor of walking, to offset the chronic effects of sedentary office life, is overwhelming. If you would like to bring walking into your office through an engaging, gamified walking challenge, check out A Step Ahead now!

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Headphones and earbuds can turn your walks into high value time. Listen to an audiobook. Find a good podcast. Call your mom.

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The standing-desk industry is thriving.

Health-conscious go-getters are converting their standard desks into standing desks with 3rd party add-ons. Some are bringing in entirely new (and pricey) units which can convert from standing to sitting with the touch of a button. And why not? Clearly, standing during the day has to be healthier than sitting, right?
Well, not so fast…

Several recent studies cast doubt on the health benefits of standing during work, and some data even signals that frequent prolonged standing may even be detrimental.

NPR reports on Finnish research that says:

“The idea you should be standing four hours a day? There’s no real evidence for that,” [Dr. Jos Verbeek] says. “I would say that there’s evidence that standing can be bad for your health.” A 2005 study in Denmark showed prolonged standing at work led to a higher hospitalization risk for enlarged veins.

But surely all that standing will help you lose weight, right?

We wish that were true. More on that next week in Standing Is The New Sitting Part 2.

In the meantime, the one thing that is universally agreed upon is that walking is one of the healthiest habits that a human can have. Learn how to bring walking challenges to your staff at http://www.astepaheadchallenge.com!

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


Should I sit or stand at work: This conversation is a luxury to millions of workers whose jobs require that they stand all day. If you or your staff stands for a large amount of time, use an anti-fatigue mat to absorb the impact.

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Entrepreneur Magazine has partnered with CultureIQ to find the Top Company Cultures in America – and the No. 1 spot goes to a Healthcare company with a passion for Employee Wellness.

Fusion Medical Staffing took the top spot in this prestigious review by building a collaborative, employee-first culture. Their vetting of new candidates is extremely thorough, with interviewers asking a series of probing questions to determine if candidates “are driven but also open to helping other people out.” Fusion finds that searching for people with the core characteristics of being “humble, driven, and positive” makes for a culture of people that are working for each other as much as themselves.

And the rewards for making the cut? The first thing they tout on their list of benefits is their commitment to employee health and wellness – a 6,000-square foot fitness center,  yoga studio, classes, and more.

When co-Founder Scott Wehner speaks about these Wellness benefits, he considers it an investment that more than pays for itself.

“I believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. At the end of the day, the investment that we put into wellness comes back to us four fold.”

If your company would like to bring more of the positive benefits of wellness to your employees, a Walking Challenge is the perfect way to begin.

A Step Ahead makes makes “gamified” story-based Walking Challenges that produce record results in employee participation, retention and enjoyment – find out more at http://www.astepaheadchallenge.com/

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Stay hydrated at work: If you don’t like plain water, add a spritz of lemon or lime juice for a citrusy twist!

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Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes, pays his employees to exercise at work, and thinks you should too.

Hootsuite’s service is a platform that helps other companies manage their social media. They currently have 1,000 employees and a very active gym in their corporate headquarters in Vancouver, Canada.

Ryan recently published an overview of the benefits Hootsuite has seen from this emphasis on Employee Wellness.

His article is well worth reading, and here are a few highlights emphasizing bottom-line ROI:

“For health, for morale and, yes, for the bottom line, it’s the best decision we could have made.”

“…  even on a ruthlessly practical level, allowing and encouraging employees to exercise at work makes good sense.”

“Time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity. And research backs this up.”

In fairness, however, not everyone is part of a Pacific Northwestern tech company where cultural expectations and urban planning work to the advantage of Wellness efforts.

If you would like to jump-start your company Wellness, check out A Step Ahead for story-based, gamified Walking Challenges that employees love.
FIX Health: Newsletter Tip

Master stairs: Use stairs as much as possible throughout the day for a workout you won’t even realize you’re doing.

 

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Congratulations! You live in interesting times.

After a contentious confirmation process, President Trump’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services is now in his first week on the job. Said Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is tasked with his party’s stated mission to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” That raises a few questions about the future of healthcare in the United States, to say the least.

What now?
How will the healthcare industry react?
Most importantly, how will this affect you and your organization?

There are rumors. There are a dozen competing proposals. And there is no clear line of sight on what will happen next. This uncertainty is exacerbated by the administration’s passion for abrupt and disruptive change. In fact, Trump’s own campaign promises would suggest that action is imminent:


But for all of the current examples of groups, companies, and individuals scrambling to adjust to new rules, it appears that healthcare is one category in which we’ll have more time to prepare and read the tea-leaves. Fast forwarding to now, Trump recently had this to say to Fox News about the timeline for “repeal and replace:”

“I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

It appears (at least for now) that businesses will have the opportunity to watch Washington for signs of things to come and make deliberate, forward-thinking decisions. In the meantime, however, isn’t it time for your group to focus on proactively improving health and wellness?

According to the CDC, chronic disease accounts for 70% of US deaths and 86% healthcare costs – and these are conditions that can be drastically mitigated simply by 1) not smoking and 2) walking on most days.

When your team is ready to literally begin taking control of their lives, consider A Step Ahead Walking Challenges for the gold-standard in Corporate Wellness.

To alleviate stress and anxiety at work try 30 seconds of desk-side low intensity activity each hour. 10 chair squats 8 times a day can raise your heart rate and change your life!


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AMC’s series, The Walking Dead begins new episodes this week and continues to be a cable ratings phenomena. Fans will thrill as human survivors struggle through a zombie-filled wasteland. But for all the heartache and drama the characters endure, at the very least you can say this – they get in a lot of heart-healthy walking.

Human leader, Sheriff Rick Grimes, has hoofed it from sleepy King County, to Atlanta, to Alexandria, meaning he has logged over 800 miles – largely on foot. In fact, assuming he does not get eaten by ghouls, Rick should be in fantastic health!

The Arthritis Foundation lists their 12 greatest benefits of a walking lifestyle which include advantages as far ranging as emotional well being, joint health, and straight up longer life.

If only there was a way to bring that kind of positive change to the people you work with every day… Well actually, there is. And yes, it has zombies.

A Step Ahead: Zombies is the Corporate Walking Challenge where your real-world steps move your video game character away from a horde of rampaging zombies. This “gamified” approach to wellness produces higher participation and completion rates than found in other challenges.

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Don’t go it alone! Walking with a friend or group is more fun and makes you more likely to stick with the program.

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Our modern health epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease is not a “knowledge problem,” it is a “behavior problem.”

In other words, it is no longer surprising to hear more evidence that the the top causes of death in America are preventable by diet and exercise. That being said, over the last year, a staggering number of research projects have added even more clarity to the conversation.

The New York Times has rounded up some amazing wellness research conclusions from the past year in one excellent article.

In brief…

• Exercise has been shown to produce more “immunity cells” making the active subjects less likely to develop disease.

• Working the body’s muscles, in effect, changes brain cells in ways that increase the number of critical neurons.

Exercise “turns white fat cells brown” – a state where calories are actively burned.

• Running was shown to build up “gut microbes” drive a body towards “lifelong leanness.”

• Exercise of almost any amount may substantially lower risks for depression, muscle wasting, at least 13 types of cancer, and colds.

In spite of these insights, as a culture we already know that “sitting all day is bad and exercising will make us live longer and better.” Yet we are not adjusting our behaviors according.

What will it take to get us to respond? How about $2,500? That is the yearly savings we would see if we walked for 30 minutes most days.

Would you like for your workplace to be more immune; have more neurons; have browner fat; have better gut microbes; be less depressed; have a reduced risk of cancer and colds; and pay less in medical costs?

Then check out our most engaging and enjoyable office step challenges in the business!

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


Track Your Activity. Research shows that people who track their activity are much more likely to stay active long term.

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