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Sun Protection: Not Just for the Beach

Posted by Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative on August 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Sun Protection: Not Just for the Beach

The statistics are sobering. Each year, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US and over 90% are caused by the sun. What may surprise some people is that you don’t have to be actively sunbathing to get a damaging dose of the sun. Sun protection is an important health habit for everyone and is key to preventing skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. 

With our fast-paced lifestyles, it’s easy to grab whatever sunscreen is on the shelf and head outdoors or worse, forget the sunscreen altogether. But with skin cancer on the rise, there are important facts to consider.   

UVA vs UVB

One distinction that sometimes confuses people is the difference between the sun’s ultraviolet rays. UVA and UVB simply refer to the different wave lengths. The important thing to know is that the UVA rays cause the skin to take on a darker shade, whereas UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns. Both types of UV rays play a part in skin aging, eye damage, and skin cancers and both require a sun protection regimen that includes the correct and routine use of sunscreen.

Choosing a Sunscreen

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, refers to how long it will take UVB rays to burn your skin compared to not wearing anything at all. For example, wearing SPF 15 will take 15 times longer to redden your skin than if you were not wearing any protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using SPF of 15 or higher. That said, SPF gives your 93% protection against UVB rays and SPF 30 gives you 97% protection.

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Topics: Wellness

Workplace Wellness: Creative Ways to Get Employees Moving at Work

Posted by Jill Yaconelli, Health & Productivity Specialist on March 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Workplace Wellness: Creative Ways to Get Employees Moving at Work

It’s no secret that health insurance costs are increasing year-over-year well above inflation. To accommodate those increases, employers are looking for ways to share some of those costs with employees. And who can blame them when the CDC reports that 75% of Americans’ chronic health conditions are caused by lifestyle choices?

But before pointing the finger at the employee, we may want to rethink the office environment. The CDC identified four lifestyle choices, including physical activity, and then assigned responsibility to either the employee or the employer. In the case of physical activity, four out of five “fingers of responsibility” pointed at the employer. On average, office workers spend almost 6 hours per day sitting.

Add to that the findings from a recent study by the Work & Health Research Centre at Loughborough University which found “those who sit for longer at work are more likely to sit outside of work” and you can conclude that a key contributor to a sedentary lifestyle is the office environment. University of South Carolina looked at sedentary behaviors’ effect on the mortality of men and found that risks for heart disease, diabetes, and a number of health problems increased alongside levels of LDL Cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”), triglycerides, blood sugar, and BMI among men who sit more.[1]

So what can employers do other than simply asking employees to exercise more? Consider the following suggestions to build physical activity into the office environment:

  • Walking Meetings: Offices are never lacking in meetings. An easy way to implement activity is to make at least one meeting a day a walking meeting.
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Wellness, Human Resources

6 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Kari Crow, Healthy & Productivity Coordinator on January 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM
6 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Did you know that less than ten percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them or that most people give up after the first week? Even with such a low success rate, resolutions do work for some people. What are these resolution champions doing that we can learn from?

To stay motivated and attain your goals throughout the year, consider trying out the following six ways to keep your New Year’s resolution.

  1. Be realistic and make it tangible. Focus on one goal at a time. Instead of choosing numerous, ambiguous goals like “Lose weight,” “Save money,” and “Run a marathon,” think of one specific goal such as “Save $1,000 for our trip to Monterey in October.” Check in with a trusted friend to see if they think your goal is realistic.
  1. Keep it simple and take baby steps. Start out small and build on your success. If you’re planning to lose weight, ease into your new diet and workout routine. Cutting out your favorite food item completely or suddenly working out five days a week instead of just one could cause you to burn out quickly and stray from your end goal. Create short term milestones and if you fail at any of these small steps, brush it off—it’s part of the process.
  1. Ask for support. Telling someone about your plan will help you stay accountable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may even find a buddy who is working towards the same goal.
  1. Track your progress. Write down your goal and the steps you’re taking to get there. Check in with yourself or your accountability buddy each month and make any adjustments needed to stay on track. Seeing how you’ve progressed will help keep you motivated.
  1. Keep believing and be patient. Remind yourself that nothing happens overnight. Research shows that it takes about 21 days to form a habit or routine. Be patient and persevere. Persistence pays off.
  1. Put yourself first. For some of us, this may not be easy. Life gets in the way and we’re pulled in so many directions, but if you truly want to achieve your goals, you need to put yourself first. Who knows? Working on and achieving your goals may just help your friends and loved ones take better care of themselves as well.
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Topics: Wellness

Project Wellness: Vitamins and Minerals

Posted by Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative on November 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Project Wellness: Vitamins and Minerals

Your A to Z Guide

You’re standing in an aisle at the grocery store surrounded by products, comparing labels. Five minutes later and you still haven’t made a decision. We’ve all been there. We know vitamins and minerals are essential but it’s overwhelming. What does it all mean?

Here’s a quick break down of primary vitamins and minerals, what they do for you and where you can get them. Note: For recommended daily allowances based on age and sex, click here.

  • A – Promotes good vision and a healthy immune system. Found in milk, eggs, dark orange and green vegetables and orange fruits.
  • B2 Riboflavin - Essential for growth, turning carbohydrates into energy, and producing red blood cells. Found in meats, eggs, legumes, nuts and dairy.
  • B3 Niacin - Helps the body turn food into energy and is important to maintain healthy skin and nerve function. Found in red meat, poultry, fish, hot and cold cereal and peanuts.
  • B6 - Important for normal brain and nerve function. It also assists the body in breaking down proteins and making red blood cells. Found in bananas, potatoes, nuts, red meats, eggs, spinach and cereals.
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Topics: Wellness

Project Wellness: Coconut Craze

Posted by Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative on September 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Project Wellness: Coconut Craze

Have you jumped on the coconut bandwagon? Is it just a trend or is there a reason why people are going crazy over coconut products these days? Here’s a breakdown of the potential benefits and drawbacks of coconut water, oil, milk and flour.

Coconut Water

Also referred to as “Mother Nature’s Sports Drink”, coconut water is the liquid inside an unripe or green coconut. It has gotten a lot of buzz for its health benefit as a “natural” sports drink. Here’s a quick look at the benefits and drawbacks:

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Topics: Wellness

Project Wellness: Critical Steps to Conserving Water

Posted by Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative on August 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Project Wellness: Critical Steps to Conserving Water

For many environmentally conscious families and businesses, water conservation is already an important part of their eco-friendly plan. Given severe drought conditions in the west, local and state governments and water agencies are seeking increased conservation efforts, and in some cases, restrictions.

California Governor, Jerry Brown, has asked all residents to reduce water consumption by 20% and on July 29th mandatory water conservation regulations went into effect in some areas of California. In addition to the importance of conserving this precious resource, infractions in some locations can cost up to $500 each day. This is a good time to review the restrictions and implement conservation efforts.

Restrictions:

  • Stop and/or repair leaks within 72 hours of notification
  • Use recirculated water in fountains and landscape water features
  • Don’t hose down driveways, sidewalks, patios
  • Don’t overfill pools and spas
  • Don’t wash your vehicle without an automatic shut off nozzle
  • Check the specific restrictions in your area here
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Topics: Wellness

Project Wellness: Healthy & Safe BBQ Tips for 4th of July

Posted by Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative on July 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Project Wellness: Healthy & Safe BBQ Tips for 4th of July

4th of July—a holiday filled with family, friends, food, and fun. Here are some healthy and safe BBQ tips:

Charcoal Grilling

There’s nothing like the taste of charcoal-grilled chicken, ribs and corn on the cob to round out your family’s 4th.  Remember to follow some basic fire safety tips.  Never add lighter fluid to hot coals.  Too many people have spent time in the burn unit after the flame traveled up the stream of lighter fluid.  Once the grill is hot, make sure to use long-handled barbeque tools to avoid burns.  The grill can reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit, causing burns in seconds.

Reduce the risk of both accidental injury and fire by allowing the coals to cool completely before disposing of them. Let them cool undisturbed for at least 48 hours, then wrap the charcoal in aluminum foil before throwing away in a non-combustible garbage can. For earth-smart ideas on how to use cooled charcoal ash instead of sending to the landfill click here.

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Topics: Wellness

Project Wellness: 5 Benefits of Chia Seeds

Posted by Miki Kobane, Wellness Director on March 31, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Project Wellness: 5 Benefits of Chia Seeds

Long Live the Chia

Who would have thought that the 80’s most re-gifted present would become one of today’s most coveted “Super Foods”? If I only knew then what I know now!

Loyal consumers still enjoy secrets the Mayans and Aztecs knew as early as 3500 BC. They consumed chia seeds regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing for oil and drinking with water. Chia seeds were considered magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time.

According to The Huffington Post Canada, these tiny seeds pack big benefits:

  1. 1 ounce (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber – more than one cooked artichoke
  2. Chia seeds are among the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. 4 ounces of salmon contains only 1.5-2.3 grams!
  3. When mixed with liquids, chia seeds can replace eggs in food and baked goods, which lowers cholesterol and increases their nutritional value
  4. Chia seeds contain amino acid Tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood
  5. Chia seeds are gluten-free but possess many of the nutritional benefits of grains
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Topics: Wellness

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