The ‘Star Wars’ Strategy to Prevent Chronic Disease

Positive family relationships linked to better health

When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opened in theaters recently, fans already knew Luke Skywalker’s legacy and the Force was bound to continue. But it might not have turned out that way.

Something happened that helped Skywalker achieve Jedi status years earlier. His father, Darth Vader, mended their relationship when he said: “I am your father…Search your feelings. You know it to be true.”

How are your family relationships with a parent, grandparent, sibling, or child? Research shows that strained family relationships can have a negative impact on your health. The relationship with a spouse or partner matters, too. Not getting along may increase the risk for chronic disease, stroke, headaches, stomach problems, and even early death.

Family bondTips to Strengthen Family Bonds
If there’s a strained relationship in your family, the holidays can be a good time to make a change. Pick up the phone. Send a text, e-mail, card or letter. Plan a get-together. You’ll feel better and be healthier. Here are some things you can do to improve family relationships.

  • Keep promises. If you say you’re going to do something, make it happen. When people know they can count on you, you’ll build stronger bonds. If you don’t think you can keep a promise, say so. Just be honest.
  • Apologize. Stuff happens. People make mistakes. You can’t make it to your kid’s soccer game. You miss a family event. If you really want to build stronger bonds with others, let people know you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong or made a mistake.
  • Pay attention when someone is talking. Be an active listener. Ask questions. Restate to make sure you know what the other person said.
  • Be supportive. When someone you care about is facing a challenge, step in and help out when you can. Encourage them. Let them know you care.

Tip: Take five minutes to write a thank-you note or send an email to your boss or co-worker.

Deck the Halls with Avocados to Lower Cholesterol

An avocado a day helps lower bad cholesterol levels

AvocadoSetting out a Christmas Eve snack for Santa? It’s no wonder the Jolly Old Elf is obese. There isn’t enough holiday magic to turn a plate of cookies and glass of whole milk into health foods.

In fact, dairy products, animal fats, and foods made with butter and cream are high in saturated fat. Too much of them raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Over time, this can block blood vessels and limit blood flow to the heart and brain. Bad cholesterol raises the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

What’s a heart healthy holiday snack? It’s good. It’s green. And it contains healthy fats that help lower bad cholesterol. The answer: Deck the halls and your plate with avocados.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed just how healthy avocados can be. Eating one a day for five weeks helped obese people lower bad cholesterol. In the United States, about 72 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Healthy fats and antioxidants in avocados can also help:

  • Prevent plaque build-up on artery walls
  • Reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke
  • Lower the risk for certain types of cancer
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Support brain function
  • Control hunger and aid in weight management

Spread avocado on whole-grain toast. Try veggie dip made with avocado. Add avocado to a salad or sandwich. And leave a healthy snack for Santa: carrot sticks and guacamole. His reindeer will thank you.

Tip: Keep track of calories and what you eat with a food diary or mobile app.

It’s a Wonderful Workout: 5 Smart Ways to Be More Active

Improve your life with 30 minutes of exercise a day

George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) thought his life was anything but wonderful. But by the end of the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, he had a plan. He said: “I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.”

Morning walkHere’s one way to improve your life: Be active at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise does more than help you get in shape or lose a few pounds. It can also improve your mood, something Bailey needed.

‘Now’ is Always the Best Time
You might be thinking about starting a new fitness routine after the holidays. But why wait? Here are the five most popular ways to stay active in the coming year, according to the American College of Sports Medicine:

  1. Go for a walk. It’s the easiest way to get started.
  2. Use a fitness tracking device, smart watch, or mobile app. Set a daily goal for steps, calories burned, heart rate, and more. Keep track. Try to improve a little each week.
  3. Do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Raise your heart rate and burn more calories with short workouts. Try jumping jacks, burpees, and curl-ups. Perform an exercise for 1 minute. Rest 30 seconds. Then move on to the next exercise. Repeat.
  4. Workout with a group. You’re more likely to exercise when you know others are counting on you. Take a group fitness class at the gym. Joint a walking club. Or find a workout partner.
  5. Build strength. It’s not just for bodybuilders and athletes. Strength training builds muscle and makes your bones strong. You can lift weights or do exercises that use your body weight, like push-ups and squats.

Want to live a wonderful life? Make exercise part of your daily routine.

Tip: Set a daily goal for steps or minutes of physical activity, and keep track with your wearable device or mobile app.

Loneliness: 8 Workplace Wellness Tips to Connect Your Employees

You’ve probably got your workplace wellness program dialed in to address major risk factors for chronic disease.

You know…the ones that cost the most money to treat, increase absenteeism, and kill productivity like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

But there’s an emerging trend that’s infiltrating almost every organization and company across the country that could cost you more…loneliness.

The Loneliness Survey

LonelinessIn a recent survey by the health insurance provider Cigna, analysts wanted to find out what loneliness looks like in today’s workforce. An estimated 20,000 adults completed the survey. Results show loneliness may be the next big issue workplace wellness needs to address.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 47 percent of adults always feel alone or left out, and rarely spend time socializing with family, friends, or co-workers
  • 1 in 4 adults frequently feel like no one understands them
  • 2 in 5 adults feel isolated, without any meaningful relationships
  • 1 in 5 adults don’t have any close friends, or someone they can talk to

Are your employees lonely? Is loneliness an issue that impacts people within your organization?

If you’re not sure, you can ask questions about loneliness as part of a health risk assessment.

Or keep it simple and create a mini survey with just a couple of questions to find out if loneliness is taking a toll on their health, happiness, and performance at work.

Health Risks Linked to Loneliness

What does loneliness have to do with your workplace wellness program?

A lot more than you might realize if you’re committed to running a workplace wellness program designed to promote health, prevent disease, improve productivity, and control healthcare costs.

Here’s a typical scenario:

  • An employee shows up to work.
  • They put in their hours and talk occasionally to co-workers about projects.
  • When the work day is over, they go home, eat dinner, and spend the evening watching TV or movies, or maybe it’s the Internet and social media.

Anyone like that in your organization? It might seem like a simple life, but in reality, it’s lonely. And that’s a problem that contributes to absenteeism, presenteeism, high turnover rates, and a long list of health problems.

Research published in Health Psychology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and other journals have found that prolonged loneliness may increase the risk for costly healthy conditions like:[ct_column_third]

Heart HealthHeart disease

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StrokeStroke

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DepressionDepression

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AnxietyAnxiety

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InflammationInflammation and certain types of cancer

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Autoimmune disordersAutoimmune disorders

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High blood pressureHigh blood pressure

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Poor dietPoor diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits

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Early deathEarly death

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8 Workplace Wellness Tips to Help Connect Employees

When an estimated 50 percent of all adults in the U.S. experience loneliness on a regular basis, there’s a good chance it’s an issue among your population, too.

What can you do to reduce loneliness and connect employees? Here are X wellness-program tips that can help make a difference:

1. Assess loneliness. You already to this for chronic diseases. Add loneliness to your list of HRA questions or invite employees to complete a short survey. Collecting data on loneliness can help you make decisions about how to address it.

Event at office2. Host a lunch event for employees. That could be a pot-luck, guest speaker, cooking demonstration, catered meal, or just a designated hour for eating and socializing.

3. Organize a get-to-know-you game. For example, invite employees to share one unique thing about themselves that others may not know (like an unusual job, places they’ve lived or traveled, an award or experience, a unique talent). Then reveal the details at staff meeting or turn it into a game to encourage employees to socialize with each other.

4. Plan a service project. As an organization, you could participate in a food drive, toy drive, or something similar in your community. Or you could partner with an organization to clean up a park, a trail, serve meals at a homeless shelter, or complete a service project in your area.

5. Create team wellness challenges. Turn the typical solo health challenge into a team event for a month. When everyone on the team achieves specific goals, the entire team earns a reward, wellness points, catered lunch, or something similar. Your workplace wellness program software should make this easy.

6. Recognize success. You can do this by email, in person, or even on social media. Recognize people in your organization who are actively participating in your wellness program. With permission, share a few details about their success to motivate and encourage others, and encourage conversations. Consider creating an “Employee of the Month” program, if you don’t already have one.

7. Be present. Set an example and invite your C-suite leadership to do the same. If your workplace wellness program encourages healthy eating, regular exercise, and other positive lifestyle habits, be the first to participate. Employees are more likely to participate, engage, and get involved when they see managers and executives take the first step.

8. Create a kudos board. Provide a way for employees to recognize their co-workers for accomplishments at work or outside of work. Invite employees to share wins on a whiteboard in a common area, submit via email within your organization, social media, or within your wellness platform.

Just because an employee is surrounded by co-workers doesn’t me they’re immune to loneliness. Half of all adults experience loneliness on a regular basis. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can use your workplace wellness program and wellness platform to create a culture of health, connect employees, and reduce the risk for loneliness.

Can your workplace wellness platform boost social engagement and reduce loneliness?
Schedule a demo to learn more

The Surprising Reason Corporate Wellness Programs Struggle

Corporate wellness program surprising facts

Ever wonder why some corporate wellness programs struggle to get results and others don’t?

When you’re trying to figure that out by comparing your approach to other corporate wellness programs, it can be hard to see from the outside looking in.

When you hit a roadblock like this as a wellness manager, administrator or broker, it’s easy to second-guess your approach to running a wellness program:

  • Maybe it’s your vendor
  • Maybe it’s your wellness initiatives
  • Maybe your incentives aren’t good enough to encourage participation
  • Maybe the user interface of your wellness platform is confusing
  • Maybe your wellness strategy is all wrong

Sound familiar?

Before you make any changes to your wellness program or rush out to replicate everything some other wellness program is doing, take a step back.

The real reason some corporate wellness programs struggle may surprise you…

The Knee-Jerk Reaction to Improve Wellness Outcomes

You’re in the wellness business to promote health, prevent disease, improve productivity, control healthcare costs, and improve the quality of life for your population or your clients.

So what happens when you reach a population health milestone and the outcomes don’t show improvements, cost savings, or a boost in productivity and happiness?

If you’re contemplating a knee-jerk reaction to fix the problem, you’re not alone.

Think about how you might respond to the following after reviewing a year of population health data:

  • Health risks for your population haven’t changed much
  • Wellness program participation is stagnant or even lower than it was
  • Health claims and healthcare costs are on the rise
  • Your C-suite leadership team wants to see a return on investment
  • Participants have asked for features and programs you can’t deliver with the tools or budget you have to work with

If your knee-jerk reaction is to check your vendor contract to find out when it ends or how much it would cost to break the agreement, that’s pretty normal.

It’s one reason so many corporate wellness programs change vendors every couple of years. It’s easy to look for a quick fix and start thinking:

  • Maybe the grass is greener on the other side
  • Maybe you need a new wellness vendor, a new platform, or a new strategy
  • Maybe one of those cookie-cutter corporate wellness programs is what you need

If you’ve ever thought about your wellness program this way, join the club. The trouble is, there usually isn’t a quick fix, and a new set of corporate wellness vendors comes with a new set of challenges.

How Would You Fix a Corporate Wellness Headache?

Corporate Wellness HeadacheIf you have a pounding headache, what would you do?

If you go with a quick-fix option, like taking over-the-counter medication, you might get some temporary relief.

Maybe the headache goes away for a few hours or a few days. But then it’s back. Maybe the symptoms are worse. And this time more over-the-counter medicine doesn’t work.

Now what?

You go see a doctor who specializes in treating headaches.

Instead of quickly writing a prescription, the doctor takes time to sift through all the variables that could be linked to your headache problems (mold, pets, stress, nutrition, poor sleep, etc.) And you get a personalized treatment plan to help you manage your headaches. It’s a long-term fix. You feel better. You’re happier.

If you want to build an effective wellness program, you’ve got to take a personalized approach that makes sense for your organization and your population.

Build Your Own Corporate Wellness Program

Corporate Wellness ProgramWondering why so many corporate wellness programs fall short or hop from one strategy and vendor to the next?

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions or cookie-cutter answers to designing corporate wellness programs. It’s the surprising reason so many wellness programs struggle.

  • So what’s the best corporate wellness program for your organization? It’s the one that you build.

It’s that simple. And it’s why we built the FitLyfe 360 platform. Every detail and feature of the platform is customizable and configurable.

If you want a comprehensive wellness program, use every tool and feature. Or if something as simple as a health risk assessment or biometric screening is the scope of your wellness program, that’s fine too.

That’s the kind of personalized approach to wellness every organization needs and every population deserves. The best wellness program is the one that you build, not a cookie-cutter fix.

Ready to start building your wellness program? Schedule a demo today.

5 Ways Technology Drives Wellness Program Success

wellness quiz

Ever wonder what technology can do for your wellness program?

You’re tasked with running a wellness program to promote health, prevent disease, and control healthcare costs. What do you need to be successful?

That’s a question expert climber Sir Edmund Hillary and his crew must have considered when they set out to summit Mount Everest in 1953. Many had tried to reach the peak of the 29,000-foot summit, but fell short of the goal. Hillary was determined to change that. And he did with the best gear and climbing technology of the time.

Are you using the best technology available to run your wellness program?

It’s the difference between climbing half way up the mountain and reaching the summit. Ask your C-Suite leadership team or your clients where they want to go, and they’ll all tell you they want to aim for reaching the summit.

How will you get there? The right technology will help you run a successful wellness program, much like it helped support Hillary’s expedition to Summit Everest.

Here are 5 ways technology drives wellness program success:

1. Identify risk factors

Hillary and his crew needed to know all the dangers they would encounter to prepare to summit Everest. So they collected information from previous summit attempts, and other climbing parties. They monitored the weather. They studied known climbing routes.

It’s the kind of upfront work you need to do to run a successful wellness program. Technology makes it a lot easier to administer a health risk assessment, or collect and analyze biometric screening data.

Both of these population health metrics provide critical data to help you develop your wellness program, and web-based tools like these make it easier, more accurate, and faster to administer and analyze.

2. Develop interventions

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes. What should you do if there’s an obstacle in the way, weather patterns predict dangerous weather, or a previous climbing route proved to be impassable? Find a better way.

Use technology to collect population health data, and you’ll have a rich resource of information to help you refine your wellness strategy. That could include hand-picked Health Challenges to address a specific risk factor, or Health Coaching to help employees eat healthier, exercise more, get preventive care, and develop healthy lifestyle habits.

Other tech-based wellness interventions can include access to a Health Education Library, mini quizzes, and done-for-you Wellness and Health Programs.

The right wellness technology makes it easy to create a report of population health risk factors and choose interventions that will have the biggest impact on disease prevention, productivity, and healthcare costs.

3. Measure results

When Hillary reached the summit of Everest on May 29, 1953, it wasn’t by accident. He learned a lot from previous attempts, and other climbing expeditions that tried and failed. After each attempt, he took a closer look at the strategy and all the elements of an expedition to look for ways to improve.

Is your wellness strategy working? Measure your results. Find out by using wellness technology to track things like year-to-year:

  • Health risk assessment results
  • Biometric screening results
  • Participation rates
  • Healthcare claims and costs
  • Wellness program costs and ROI

4. Increase engagement

Climbing Everest generally isn’t a one-man expedition. It’s a team effort. The more people actively involved in making the climb, the more successful the expedition is going to be.

So how do you get more people involved in your wellness program? Use technology like:

Wellness Event Management tools to set appointments, send reminders, and motivate employees to make smart lifestyle choices. Send a group email or private message. Connect on social media. And keep participants informed.

Wearable Technology. Use a wellness platform that makes it easy to integrate wearable technology to capture participant data from smart watches, computes, and mobile apps. Research shows digital fitness trackers, devices and apps can help motivate people to make better choices.

Online Incentive Management to reward participants for completing wellness-related activities or achieving a health goal. The right tools automate the process for you, track points for participants, and provide an easy-to-manage experience to redeem the points for products and services.

5. Create a culture of health

When Hillary and his climbing crew reached the summit of Everest, he accomplished the impossible. For decades, the tallest peak in the world eluded even the best climbers. Hillary’s successful ascent motivated the rest of the climbing community to keep trying and keep improving.

What happens when an employee shares their weight-loss success story with co-workers? Or shares pictures of their transformation on social media? People notice.

What happens when you create a friendly competition with a cash prize for the person who logs the most steps for a month? People get excited. Participation rates go up. Productivity rises. Healthcare costs start to decline.

Wellness technology makes it easier than ever to create a culture of health, inspire others, facilitate change, and reach the summit of your wellness program goals.

Gear up with proven wellness technology
If you want to run a successful wellness program, the right wellness technology tools can make your climb easier, faster, and more effective than relying on how it’s always been done.

Ready to rise to the top? Let’s connect.

Wellness Platform And Elephant Stampede?

Can your wellness platform vendor handle an elephant stampede?

That might sound like a weird question, but think about it like this.

When you’re trying to help a client find a wellness platform vendor, what’s your confidence level FitLyfe is the right one to recommend?

If you’re not sure, you might choose a vendor you have more experience working with, even though it’s not the right fit.

But if your client isn’t happy after signing a contract, renewals and referrals are going to be hard to lock down to grow your business. And that’s not what you want, right?

So how do we bridge the gap to boost your confidence level in the FitLyfe 360 platform?

Easy. Show you how it holds up against an elephant stampede.

Wellness platform confidence

When the Brooklyn Bridge opened 135 years ago to speed commute time between Brooklyn and Manhattan, people needed a little nudge to give it a try. (How do you decide between FitLyfe and another vendor for your clients?) The confidence factor wasn’t there for a bunch of reasons:

  • It was new. (CEO Sam Salbi launched FitLyfe in 2015)
  • It took 14 years to build. (Salbi carved out a career as a visionary Health IT software developer over 20 years before launching FitLyfe.)
  • It was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge, and the longest at the time. (FitLyfe is the only wellness platform with real-time FitDoc processesing for physician forms, claims, health club reimbursements, onsite health clinic records, and more.)
  • It stretched across the East River at over a mile long and 277 feet tall. (FitLyfe’s reach includes clients in every industry and organizational size that operate successful wellness programs using an NCQA-certified health risk assessment and tools to support population health management.)
  • It was was suspended and supported by over 14,000 miles of steel cables. (FitLyfe’s design, research & development, quality assurance, security protocols, customization, customer service, and ongoing maintenance surpass any wellness platform vendors in the industry.)
  • People were used to riding the Fulton Ferry to cross the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It took a lot longer, but many weren’t confident the bridge was safe. (Other wellness platforms exist, but don’t offer the same level of wellness program solutions and customization as the FitLyfe 360 platform.)

The elephant stampede test

When Manhattan and Brooklyn city leaders recognized concerns about crossing the bridge, they launched a series of public service campaigns to show people the bridge was safe.

One of the most memorable?

Circus promoter P.T. Barnum paraded 21 elephants (~250,000 pounds) across the bridge to show people it could handle the demands of commuter traffic. More than 100 years later, about 125,000 cars, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day.

Bridge the gap: The wellness platform for client success

If you’re looking for a corporate wellness platform vendor to help your clients, FitLyfe can handle the load (like the Brooklyn Bridge) to help any organization:

  • Promote health
  • Prevent disease
  • Control healthcare costs
  • Boost productivity
  • Increase engagement
  • Develop a culture of health
  • Protect personal health information
  • Create customized reports
  • Administer biometric screenings and health risk assessments
  • Use wearable devices to track activity
  • Manage participant data
  • Offer wellness incentives and rewards
  • Select effective wellness initiatives based on population health data
  • Aid wellness managers in program administration, and
  • Create a customized experience to maximize wellness results, and much more.

The FitLyfe Difference

Looking for a customizable corporate wellness platform to help your clients drive engagement, simplify program management, and get results?

Schedule a demo today.

6 Ways to Help Your Health and Wellness Participants Stay on Track

Ideas For Wellness

It’s been about a month since New Year’s resolutions were a topic of conversation around the water cooler.

Lose weight. Eat healthy. Exercise daily. Sleep better. Stress less.

Poll your population, and these are the health and wellness topics they’re probably talking about.

How’s it going? The die-hard goal setter might be making progress. But for a lot of people, resolutions start out as good intentions, then fizzle out after a few weeks. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Want to help your population get back on track and turn 2019 into a year of health and wellness wins?

Top 7 health and wellness resolutions

Data collected by the National Institutes of Health says the most popular health and wellness resolutions include:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get more physical activity
  3. Eat more nutritious foods
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Cut back on alcohol
  6. Reduce stress
  7. Sleep better

Tip: If you really want to know what health and wellness resolutions your population is interested in, use your wellness platform to find out. Ask a survey question through your wellness platform, or find out by looking at health risk assessment data from the readiness to change question set.

New Year’s resolutions:
Back on track or off the rails?

With a few health and wellness resolutions picked out, a lot of people make a solid effort the first few days or the first few weeks of the year.

But all too often, good intentions start to slide and that commitment to stick to resolutions goes off the rails. Sound familiar?

In a study on New Year’s resolutions at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that:

  • About 45 percent of all adults make New Year’s resolutions
  • Within a week, 11 percent throw in the towel and give up
  • After a month, 28 percent are still working keeping their New Year’s resolution
  • At six months, 20 percent of resolution-makers are still in the game
  • But only 6 percent of people who make resolutions stick with it for an entire year

Tip: Use your wellness platform or survey data to identify trends in wellness program participation. Then look for ways to increase engagement and help your participants achieve their goals.

6 Ways to Help Your Participants Stay on Track

As a wellness coordinator, wellness manager, or health coach, you want to help people adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent disease. But sometimes people need a bit of a nudge or gentle reminder to stay on track. Here are some ways to help people stick to their resolutions recommended by the National Institutes of Health:

1. Write down goals and keep track of activity. Studies show that people who write down their resolutions and keep track of their activity are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. For example, in a recent study, researchers found that people who kept a details food diary for six months lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.

Tip: Encourage participants to use your wellness platform tracking tools, fitness devices, or third-party apps to set goals and track progress.

2. Recommend the one-step-at-a-time approach. It’s going to be hard to convince a participant to go from eating pizza and fast food every day following a plant-based diet. So don’t. Take it one step at a time. Maybe its extra bell peppers on a pizza, and a leafy-green salad with a fast food order to start. And for the non-exerciser, forget about pushing 60-minute gym workouts. Start with a 10-minute walk and go from there. Think about it like the progression described in the transtheoretical model of behavior change.

Tip: Create a health challenge or wellness initiative specific to your population to help them achieve their goal.

3. Help participants plan for obstacles. The path to success usually isn’t a straight line from point A to point B. In reality, there’s obstacles along the way. Help your participants recognize what might prevent them from losing weight, eating healthier, exercising regularly, etc., and come up with a plan to keep moving forward when that happens.

4. Be a role model. Want your participants to adopt healthy behaviors, make better food choices, and stick to their New Year’s resolutions? Be a role model.

Set a good example without pressuring people. Eat healthy foods. Walk or bike to work. Take the stairs.

Your participants will notice. And they’ll be more likely to ask questions, model your behavior, and adopt healthy habits.

Tip: Get to know your participants, and you’ll probably find others who can also serve as role model or wellness champion to encourage others.

5. Create social support and accountability. Your participants are a lot more likely to keep working on their health and wellness goals if they have support and accountability from a social network, according to a recent study.

Tip: Develop a culture of health, hosting health challenges, and event that give participants a chance to get to know each other.

6. Stay the course, get back on track. The truth about New Year’s resolutions is a bit sobering. Only 28 percent of goal setters make it past a month. A lot of people start off the year with good intentions, but end up giving up on their health and fitness goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can help your participants stay the course or get back on track.

Tip: Use your wellness platform and wellness incentives program for employees to motivate and reward participants to achieve their goals.

Help participants keep their resolutions to win at wellness

One month into the New Year, your participants are starting to lose motivation to stick to their health and wellness goals. Rescue those resolutions and take action.

How do you help participants achieve health and wellness goals? Lets Connect

5 Wellness Trends to Boost Health Management in 2019

Blog
What’s going to help you maximize wellness program participation to get results in 2019? It’s one of the critical questions you have to consider every year to develop effective wellness programs and allocate resources. Your wellness strategy and participant data can help you make informed decisions. But wouldn’t it be nice to look at what’s trending in wellness to help you promote health, prevent disease, and lower healthcare costs? Take a look at the top five wellness trends in 2019 to find out if you’re on the right track.

1. Less screen time rises as a wellness initiative

How many hours a day are your participants staring into a screen? A lot. You don’t have to look far to know exposure to blue light from TV, smartphones, tablets, and computers is greater than it’s ever been. And that’s a problem. Research shows chronic exposure to blue light may be linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It can have an effect on mood and mental health, too. And more employers are making efforts to prevent that. What can you do to help your participants disconnect and reduce screen time? Here are a few examples:
  • Set boundaries and expectations for electronic communications (email, chat, video, etc.)
  • Create a health challenge to encourage less screen time
  • Offer incentives for participants to who reduce screen time

2. More wellness programs take a holistic approach

It wasn’t that long ago that diet and exercise comprised the bulk of wellness program design. But that’s changing as more organizations take a holistic approach to wellness to address physical, mental, financial, spiritual, and social health. If you want to improve wellness program participation, make it easier for participants to access programs and services. Onsite services like health clinics, child care, financial management, or massage therapy can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, and have a positive impact on ROI. Telemedine is another service that’s gaining popularity because it’s more convenience and less expensive than a trip to the doctor or hospital.

3. Employers give snacks at work a make-over

Does your lunchroom have a vending machine stocked with sugary drinks and candy bars? Or maybe participants don’t have any options, and frequently choose nearby fast food options. Why not make it easier for your participants to eat healthy? Research shows poor food choices at work may increase the risk for anxiety, depression, and emotional eating. But more employers are making an effort to change that by providing health snack options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • If your organization has an on-site cafeteria, give the menu a makeover to offer more healthy options.
  • Stock the lunchroom with free fruits and healthy snacks.
  • Or check with your vendor to provide healthier vending machine choices.

4. Participant interests drives wellness programming

Ever rolled out a wellness program initiative that flopped? It happens. But if you take time to listen to your participants, their interests can help you drive wellness programming. The more adaptable you are to adjust to participant interests, the more likely you’ll see an increase in engagement. So let’s say you’ve identified participant interest in meditation and yoga. Bring in an instructor and host a series of classes. If participants express an interest in eating better, bring in a dietitian or nutritionist for a healthy-cooking demo and discussion.

5. Mental health initiatives get more attention

Did you know 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health issue at least once a year? That might be something as common as having a bad day or grieving the loss of a loved one. Or it could be a more a chronic problem like anxiety or depression More employers recognize the impact mental health can have on productivity, presenteesism, absenteeism, safety, and well-being. And it’s why more wellness programs now include mental health initiatives. If you want to grow your wellness program in 2019, increase participation, and achieve your population health goals, take a look at your strategy and see if these trends are part of your plan. Looking for a customizable wellness platform?

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Need a Wellness Platform? Avoid The Common Mistakes

Are you’re in the market for a wellness platform? You’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Market research shows corporate wellness is a $40 billion industry. That means there’s a lot of competition in wellness technology to support population health management.

But not every wellness vendor, platform, or tool is the right fit for your organization.

So how do you sort it all out?

If your buying decision isn’t based on a wellness strategy for your population, you could be making a Big Mistake.

The Payless Effect

Last month the discount retailer Payless Shoesource opened its first luxury store, Palessi, in Santa Monica, Calif., for high-end shoppers. Droves of people walked through the doors, enticed by fashion influencers and the store’s posh design. And they paid up to $645 for sneakers and stilettos.

But the exact same shoes sell for 1,800 percent less at other Payless stores. Shoppers learned this when they left the store, received a full refund, and got to keep the shoes. And the experiment shed some light on how people make buying decisions.

The lesson for wellness managers:

If you choose wellness platform software solely based on its look and feel or broker recommendation, you could be making a mistake.

If you want a wellness platform to help you improve population health and simplify program management, don’t make these buying-decision mistakes:

  • Everybody’s doing it. If you’re looking for a wellness platform, health risk assessment, or other wellness program tools, it won’t take long to realize there’s a lot of competition…and a lot of choices. It’s very time consuming to sort through the garbage. But if you pick a wellness platform based on popularity or the company with the biggest marketing budget, instead of your wellness strategy, you could be in trouble.
  • The user interface looks nice. It happens more often than you might think. The wellness manager recommends a variety of wellness platform vendors. And then the decision maker swoops in, sees a couple of demos, and picks the one with the best user interface and design. Don’t make this mistake.
  • It’s expensive, so it must be good. The Payless experiment is a good example of how easily price can influence perception. If you rule out wellness platform vendors based on price, instead of taking a closer look at features, benefits, and customization options that support your wellness strategy, you could be making a costly mistake.
  • My broker said, “It’s the best.” Not all brokers are bad. I want to believe most are in the business to help their clients promote health, prevent disease, boost productivity, and lower healthcare costs. But the reality is, some are just in it to make a sale. Don’t make this mistake. Get to know your broker. Take a closer look at their relationship with the vendor. And find out what kind of support you’ll get after signing a service contract.
  • It doesn’t really work for my population, but…You bite the bullet and sign a three-year contract for a wellness platform. But it doesn’t take long for you to realize, it doesn’t have the functionality you need to support your wellness strategy. You start developing work-arounds for a clunky system you’re paying for. And when the contract is up, you renew because it’s “easier,” or you switch vendors without a wellness strategy.

Sound familiar? If you’re in the market for a wellness platform there’s a lot of factors to consider. And you don’t want to make a buying decision you’ll regret. Here’s what I recommend:

    • Map out a wellness strategy for your population. (Cookie cutter plans just don’t work, because every population is a little different.)
    • Get input from wellness managers who will administer the program.
  • Establish a baseline of wellness platform tools and features you need to be successful
  • Anticipate needs to adapt or make changes as your population or wellness
  • strategy evolves.
  • Partner with a wellness platform company that provides unlimited customization options that meets your needs and your budget.

Looking for a customizable wellness platform? Let’s connect.