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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.

 

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Decrease Health Risks with Active Transportation (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

Americans lead busy lives and often opt out of active transportation such as walking or biking to a destination and choose public transportation instead. Researchers Gregg Furie and Mayur Desai from the Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health determined that those who either have low or high levels of active transportation have a decrease in health risk factors compared to individuals who use no active transportation.

Other studies often focus on the relationship of recreational activities and health risks, but researchers were curious if active forms of transportation could affect a person's health. The study found that 76% of the participants did not use any form of active transportation. Participants who did use active transportation (from low to high levels)had a decrease in hypertension, diabetes, and BMI (Body Mass Index). Based on these results, walking or biking to a destination, even minimally,could potentially decrease health risks especially if the individual doing so was formerly inactive.

Active transportation is not only beneficial to one's health, but also to the environment. However, not all communities offer safe bike lanes for citizens to use. In order for adults to change behaviors, it is helpful for communities to provide proper transportation lanes to guarantee safety and encourage active transportation. Similar to a worksite wellness program, individuals interested in healthier lives are more successful when given a supportive environment. Although community and work settings differ, proper support from each area can provide results and thus decrease health risks.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference: Furie, G., and Desai, M. (December 2012). Active transportation and cardiovascular disease risk factors in U.S. adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Retrieved on December 10, 2012, from http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2812%2900602-2/fulltext

Tags:  Bike  Exercise  January 2013  Physical  Walk 

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Body Language and Facial Cues: Insight on Emotions? (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

Many people believe facial expressions can give clues to a person's emotions. However, researchers from Princeton University, New York University, and Radboud University have realized body language is the main factor when determining positive or negative emotions in others.

Participants either viewed pictures of a face with a body, a body without the face, or a face with the body removed. Those involved in the study believed an individual's face is what showed emotion instead of the body. When deciding whether the individual in the picture was exhibiting positive ornegative emotions, participants chose the correct emotion when viewing either the full picture or just the body. Pictures of a face didnot cause participants to determine the correct emotion, but when the same faces were transfered onto bodies, the perceived emotion changed. Basedon this finding, body language could play a bigger role in determining another person's emotions than originally believed.

Understanding the emotions of others is important in our emotional dimension of wellness when working with clients, co-workers, bosses, family, and friends. To determine an individual's emotional state, reading body cues could be as important as concentrating on facial cues. Knowinghow to read others can also assist with analyzing ourselves and contribute to achieving optimal emotional wellness to better ourselves and the understandingof others in the future.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference: Aviezer, H., Trope, Y., and Todorov, A. (2012). Body cues, not facial expressions, discriminate between intense positive and negative emotions. Science. Retrieved on December 6, 2012, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6111/1225

Tags:  Body Language  Emotional  Intellectual  January 2013  Social 

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Impact Health: Tax Unhealthy Foods and Subsidize Fruits and Vegetables (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

Could taxing unhealthy foods and beverages while subsidizing fruits and vegetables lead to improved health? Researchers from University of Aukland, NewZealand, and University of Otago, New Zealand, believe improved health outcomes are possible.

Researchers reviewed 32 studies that discussed food pricing and consumption in association with chronic diseases. Socioeconomic groups were alsotaken into consideration when determining if adding taxes and subsidies would be beneficial to society. When fruits and vegetables received a 10% pricedecrease, consumption increased up to 8%. Individuals from lower income groups benefitted the most, as subsidizing fruits and vegetables decreased the gap between the differing income levels.

The 32 studies done showed possible improvements in health outcomes if unhealthy foods such as those high in saturated fat were taxed combined with a subsidy forfruits and vegetables. However, adding a food tax would differ for each country so further planning would be necessary to guaranteefood-pricing strategies mesh with differing cultures and socioeconomic groups.

A healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight, receiving proper nutrients, and for one's overall well-being. Due to food pricing, many people consume unhealthy foods and beverages that are high in calories and saturated fat, and low in nutritional content. If healthy foods are subsidized, individuals from different socioeconomic statuses would have more opportunities for healthier food options while improving health and well-being.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference: Eyles, H., Mhurchu, C., Nghiem, N., & Blakely, T. Food Pricing Strategies, Population Diets, and Non-Communicable Disease: A Systematic Review of Simulation Studies. PLOS ONE. Retrieved on December 11, 2012, from http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001353

Tags:  Diet  Intellectual  January 2013  Nutrition  Physical  Policy 

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Fun Facts on Behavior Change (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's resolutions are often made, but many people wonder how to be successful in changing behavior. January's Fun Facts column includes information on behavior change and how to be realistic in overcoming unhealthy behaviors. For more information on behavior change, please see the Guide to Behavior Change.

  • Examining current health habits and wanting to change is important before choosing a target behavior. Understanding which aspects of your life are negatively influencing your health and wellness is important before acting upon your New Year's resolution.
  • Be realistic in your goal. Any behavior change can be difficult, so focusing on a small goal first provides less room for failure. Choosing multiple resolutions at once or beginning with a large health change can cause more stress and be discouraging.
  • Think about how your resolution affects your health and wellness and how changing it will transform your life. If you do not change this behavior, willyou have increased health risks? Are you changing this behavior for yourself or someone else? The greatest successes in behavior change stem from self-motivation and changing for yourself.
  • If you are motivated to change a challenging behavior that interferes with daily living, but have difficulty accomplishing it on your own, do not be afraid to seek help. Medical professionals are great resources to assist in being successful in a targeted behavior change.
  • Recognize the short- and long-term pros and cons of the behavior. Write out how not changing the behavior can affect you positively or negatively and how your life will be affected if you accomplish your resolution. In order to be successful in behavior change, the benefits of changing should be more influential than the cost of giving up the habit.
  • Self-confidence plays a huge factor in one's belief of success. If you have confidence in yourself and believe you can conquer your resolution, themore effective you will be at overcoming your unhealthy behavior.
  • Use past mistakes to benefit your future. Do not be discouraged by past trial and errors, but instead learn from the mistakes that were made. Understand what the barriers were that lead to failure and prepare for them for your current goal. Before attempting to change, discover ways you canovercome the barriers so you do not make the same mistakes for this New Year's resolution.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference: Fahey, T. (2011). Introduction to Wellness, Fitness, and Lifestyle Management. Fit & Well. Retrieved on December 11, 2012, fromhttp://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073523720/581906/Chapter_1.pdf

Tags:  Behavior Change  Emotional  Fun Facts  January 2013  Physical  Social 

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Inspiration (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

To ring in the New Year, January's Inspiration provides quotes and health tips on how to start 2013 on a positive note.

Health Tips

  • Wear a pedometer! This encourages people to walk an extra mile a day and helps in weight loss and lowering blood pressure.
  • Start incorporating strength training in an exercise routine. Doing this just two or three times a week can prevent muscle and bone loss.
  • Drink more water. Choose water before any other beverage and take sips throughout the day to stay hydrated and prevent fatigue.
  • Relax. Take a day off and spend some time receiving a massage to refresh yourself. You often do not realize how tense you are until you feel howrelaxed you can become.

Quotes

  • Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. -Hal Borland
  • One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. -John Burroughs
  • Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right. -Oprah Winfrey
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain
  • We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives . . . not looking for flaws, but for potential. -Ellen Goodman
  • Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Celebrate what you want to see more of. -Tom Peters
  • Let our New Year's resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word. -Goran Perrson
  • Whether we want them or not, the New Year will bring new challenges; whether we seize them or not, the New Year will bring new opportunities. -Michael Josephson

References: Boston. 15 Health Tips for the New Year. Retrieved on December 10, 2012, from http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/gallery/healthtips?pg=17

Brainy Quote. New Year's Quotes. Retrieved on December 10, 2012, from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_newyears.html

Khurana, S. New Year Quotes: Inspirational. About. Retrieved on December 10, 2012, fromhttp://quotations.about.com/od/newyeargreetings/a/New-Year-Quotes-Inspirational.htm

Quote Garden. (May 2012). New Year Quotations. Retrieved on December 10, 2012, from http://www.quotegarden.com/new-year.html

Tags:  Emotional  Health  Inspiration  Intellectual  January 2013  Physical  Social  Wellness 

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Could Trusting Your Gut Be Effective? (Jan. 2013)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, December 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

Unsure when to trust your gut? If you are an expert in a specific area, being intuitive may be the best option. Researchers from Rice University, George Mason University, and Boston College, studied the difference between analytical decisions versus intuitive (trusting your gut). Participants who had high expertise in areas that required decision making demonstrated a greater task performance when trusting their gut as compared to being analytical.

Two studies were completed testing the difference between trusting one's gut compared to analyzing a task. The first study included 184 participantsthat judged the difficulty of basketball shots from recorded college basketball video clips. Questionnaires were incorporated to determine whichparticipants had experience in basketball in order to define which individuals were basketball experts. Researchers labeled those who competitivelyplayed the sport for at least three years as experts for the study. An analytical group was formed as well as an intuitive group to compare findings between the two. Individuals were allowed 10 seconds after viewing the clips to determine the difficulty of the basketball shot. The analytical group was given two minutes prior to viewing the clips to determine elements that would decide the difficulty of the basketball shot. Researchers discovered that those considered experts in the intuitive group had a higher performance than other participants.

The second study included 239 undergraduate students who were shown designer bags and were asked to determine whether they were real or counterfeit.Researchers labeled those who owned three or more purses as experts on designer bags. Participants were again divided into intuitive or analytical groups. The intuition group was given five seconds to examine the bags without touching them while the analysis group was given two minutes prior to list real or fake factors and received 30 seconds to examine the bags. Those considered experts in the intuitive group had higher performance in decision making compared to novices in the same group, but not when compared to the analytical group.

While some believe analyzing an issue is the solution to problem-solving, if you are an expert in a specific area, trusting your gut may be mostbeneficial. Decision making can cause stress due to the fear of making the wrong choice.If the decision to be made stems from an area you consider yourself an expert in, trusting your gut may be the best option and may assist you in your personal wellness by relieving stress.

Article by Kelli Oligney, Associate Editor

Reference: Dane, E., Rockmann, K., & Pratt, M. (2012). When should I trust my gut? Linking domain expertise to intuitive decision-making effectiveness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Retrieved on December 17, 2012, fromhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000994

Tags:  Intellectual  Intuition  January 2013  Occupational 

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