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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.

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Get More Summer Out of Your Summer

Posted By NWI, Monday, July 11, 2016

It almost feels like cheating, writing about how to stay active in July. The weather is warm, the days are long, and people practically vibrate with the urge to get outside.  So that’s why this month we’re going to go a step further and make some suggestions on how to maximize your time outside, so you can squeeze every bit of summer out of your summer.

 

 

 

1.     Pack a laptop

 

This one may seem obvious, but if you have the ability to take your computer outside, take it outside! Screen glare aside, it’s been shown that spending time around trees and green space makes people more calm and relaxed. Retreating to a picnic table or bench outside, even for a few minutes, can have a significant impact on your day.

 

 

2.     Camp

 

Want to make a commitment to being outside? Do it for a whole weekend (or more)! Many of us feel like camping can be more work than its worth, but with national forest, national parks, and campsites all over the country, there’s sure to be one near home where you can escape for a bit, and run back for supplies if you need to – or if an errant thunderstorm pops up! Here’s a nation-wide directory of campsites so you can plan where you want to go next.

 

 

3.     Walking meetings

 

Meetings can be super boring – nobody is going to argue that. Liven them up and get your fresh air at the same time by taking it on the road. A 30 minute meeting/walk will let you bond with your teammates while engaging your minds and getting you out from behind another Powerpoint presentation.  If it’s a phone meeting, grab your Bluetooth headset and hike while you talk. We won’t tell.

 

 

4.     Bike Commute

 

Commuting by bike is intimidating to a lot of people. It seems dangerous. It takes longer. What do you do when you show up to work all sweaty? The truth is that bike commuting does take more planning, like packing extra clothes and watching the weather forecast, but it’s also a fantastic way to sneak in a workout or two into a day, and – if you plan your route to avoid car traffic – can be incredibly relaxing and fun! You don’t need a ton of gear, either. A bike, a helmet, and a backpack are usually all you need to get started.  Here are some pro-tips from long-time bike commuters to help set you on the right track.

 

 

5.     Stand-Up Paddleboard

 

Many of us have heard of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP for short) by now, but for those who haven’t, it’s an activity where you stand on a floating board, like a surfboard, but on still water, and you use a long-handled paddle to propel yourself forward. In addition to being fun, it also takes balance and muscle control to stay upright. It’s tough at first, but not so tough that you can’t get the hang of it. If you want a different way to explore your local lakes and streams, consider finding a SUP rental near you and giving it a shot.

 

 

6.     Row-row-row your boat

 

For those of you who think Paddleboarding is a bit too much to jump into, but still want to spend time on the water, consider eschewing the motorboat for a more traditional method. Rowing a boat is great exercise for your shoulders, back and core, and can be a great cardio workout. The best part about rowing, however, is that you can bring a friend along and work on your social wellness and level-up your workout at the same time!

 

 

7.     Join (or start) a kickball league

 

More traditional sports like volleyball have had rec leagues for ages, but some other sports like kickball are starting to come into their own. Many of us have fond memories of playing kickball at recess during elementary school. Well, it turns out the game is still just as fun as we remember. If running bases isn’t your thing, some other games that are gaining in popularity are Lightning (the basketball game – also called Elimination or Knockout), Ultimate Frisbee, and disc golf. All these games come with the fun and camaraderie of rec league sports, with only a fraction of the over-the-top competitiveness that some leagues tend to foster.

 

 

8.     Walk the (neighbor’s) dog

 

Want to get outside and feel good about yourself at the same time? Try volunteering for dog walking. You’ll sneak in a walk while exercising a pooch (or pooches), and someone else won’t have to do it.  Local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers for dog walking, or an elderly or infirm neighbor might appreciate having someone pitch in.

 

 

9.     Coach

 

Speaking of organizations who always need help – youth sports organizations often are short-handed when it comes to coaching sports of all kinds. Depending on the level of play, you probably don’t even have to be an expert in the sport to be a good coach. Have you ever seen a kindergarten soccer game? It’s often a blob of 5-year-olds chasing a ball in a circle. Even if you’re not a sports expert, you can still be a solid adult role model, a teacher of good sportsmanship, and a facilitator of love of exercise.

 

 

10.  Outdoor Enthusiasts Affinity Group

 

That’s just a fancy way of saying “hang out with your friends.” If your group of friends usually hangs out indoors, suggest a change of venue.  Try having your book club at the beach, game night at the park, or study group in the back yard. Just remember to bring some sunscreen and bug repellant, and your average gathering can be a breath of fresh air (literally).

 

 

 

Happy July to you all! If you’ve got more suggestions on how to get more summer out of your summer, leave us a comment, or reach out to us on our facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn pages.

 

Tags:  Biking  Coaching  health  Summer  Walking  Wellness  Worksite Wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Worksite Wellness Ideas for Summer

Posted By NWI, Thursday, July 2, 2015

Everyone loves summer, including your employees and clients. With warm weather, sunshine, and plants in bloom, what’s not to like?  That’s why summer is the perfect time to ignite some new wellness initiatives for your organization and get your people moving!

  

1. Promote breaks as breaks

There’s a trend at a lot of organizations for employees to skip breaks (including lunch breaks) because they’re too busy, or to use their breaks as a time to check into social media, but the fact is that remaining sedentary for a full shift is doing real harm to their bodies. Promote break time as “break from screen” time; a time to unplug, tune-out, and revitalize.

 

2. Start walking challenges

There doesn’t have to be any super high-tech gadgets involved with walking challenges. You can use the clocks that are already around.  Challenge your clients to walk for 30 minutes per day, and keep track in a simple spreadsheet. Or consider breaking your employees into groups and turning the walking challenge into team events.

 

3. Promote your local farmer

With green things springing up all over the place, there are great opportunities to teach your employees about what kind of food is in season, and what a serving size is.  If you have access to your local farmers’ market, organizing a short trip with a group of employees may be all it takes for them to start making healthier food choices.

 

4. Grill out

If you want to take nutrition education to the next level, a company cookout can be just the thing! In addition to the traditional cookout fare of bratwursts, burgers and beans, you can provide some alternative choices like fresh pico de gallo salsa or grilled eggplant sandwiches. Some people will try them, some people will like them, and some people will start making better food decisions!

 

5. Vacate

Along the lines of disturbing trends among workers is the fact that, across the US, employees only use 51% of their allotted vacation time. Vacation is an important time for people to unplug from their daily lives and relax, which ultimately makes them more productive in their working lives.  Make sure your employees know that it’s not only Ok to take their vacations, but it’s important.

 

6. Get going with gadgets

If you work in a high-tech field, you probably work with a number of gadget lovers. By promoting step counters, heart rate monitors, and calorie counting apps as another high-tech lifehack, you’ll appease their electronic-loving nature, and help them off the couch and onto the path to wellness…

 

7.  Take it outside 

Three out of four Americans are deficient in vitamin D, according to a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study. This can be remedied by getting as little as 15 minutes in the sun every day. So next time you have a stand-up meeting or need to talk over a project with a coworker, take it outside to talk and get some vitamin D at the same time.

 

8.  Trick them into exercising

Many formal and informal recreational sports leagues start up in the summer. Promote groups and leagues of low (kickball, disc golf), medium (volleyball, softball), and high (soccer, ultimate Frisbee, triathlon) intensity to involve all your employees. They think they’re join up to have fun and socialize, but you’re really sneaking in some exercise for them, too.

 

9. Remember to hydrate

Increased physical activity in the summer time means that you also need to drink more water. Remind your employees that they’re going to feel more energized, more alert, and better overall if they drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day.

 

10. Put me in, coach!

If you’re not already coaching your employees on their wellness, summer is a great time to start. They’ll have more opportunity for fitness and health changes, and will therefore be more likely to see results like weight loss, increased energy levels, and better mood. Once they see results, they’ll be more likely to come back to your coaching!

Tags:  employee wellness  health promotion  summer  Worksite wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Celebrate Summer!

Posted By NWI, Monday, June 1, 2015

The first day of summer is June 21! For many, this is the first day of their favorite three months of the year. In the spirit of summertime fun, here are 10 ways you can celebrate the beginning of Summer:

1.     Get social

Summer is the start of festival season in many parts of the country. Celebrating everything from Superman (Metropolis, IL) to Mosquitos (Clute, TX) and everything between, there’s sure to be a festival that would spark your interest. Be sure to check your local community calendar to make sure you get involved.

2.     Lend a helping hand

Volunteer organizations are always looking for help, and you’re looking for a way to get some exercise and feel good. That sounds like a great match! Volunteering to walk dogs for your local animal shelter or volunteering to help with yard clean up for local elderly or infirm people are just two examples of ways you can turn up your activity level and do some good for those in need.

3.     Eat something green

June is usually when the first crops start showing up. Veggies like lettuces, spinach, kale and snap peas will start appearing at your local farmers market. Take advantage of these early season vegetables to break out of your winter/spring diet rut and bite into something fresh!

4.     Start a new outdoor hobby

There are many, many activities to try outside that you may never have considered that cost little or nothing. Disc golf, ultimate Frisbee leagues, geocaching, and waterfall spotting are all examples of fun outdoor activities that will get you moving without breaking your budget.

5.     Play in the dirt

Remember when you were a kid and how much fun it was when you got REALLY dirty? It’s still just as much fun, but we just cover it with more adult activities. Mountain biking, gardening, and wild mushroom hunting are just a few things that will likely make a mess – and leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.

6.     Splash around

You don’t have to be a world-class swimmer to enjoy spending time in the water. Whether you’re swimming laps at the local pool or doing some shallow-water running at the beach, water provides additional resistance to your workout, improving both the cardio and aerobic benefit you receive.

7.     Do some fishing

Fishing can be a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a few hours. You get to spend time in nature, see some wildlife,  and (if you’re lucky) catch some dinner! If you’re not a pescetarian, you can always practice catch-and-release (after getting a photo, of course!).  You get additional cool-points if you take your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews with you.

8.     Hang out with Dad

Coincidentally, this year Father’s Day and the first day of summer are one and the same. Now you have two reasons to get together, grill out, and listen to his horrible jokes one more time.

9.     Get some ice cream

As if you needed us to recommend this.  For some of us, nothing represents summer better than a generous scoop of vanilla on top of a sugar cone.  Just remember that there are healthy and good-tasting alternatives to ice cream, including vegan, low sugar, and lactose-free versions.

10. Attend the National Wellness Conference

If you want to get truly energized for summer, nothing is going to top attending the National Wellness Conference – happening this year from June 15 – 18 in Minneapolis, MN. You can learn the latest wellness news and practices, take part in networking with your peers, and experience rejuvenation in your passion for your career unlike you’ll find anywhere else!

Tags:  Health  June 2015  NWI  Summer  Wellness  Wellness In 10 

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