Did you know that HBD’s workplace health programs are global best for total population health and wellness improvement? In the general population, estimates suggest less than 10% of people are successful in achieving sustained health goals. Comparatively, almost 80% of the work populations we service report actively making changes to improve their health. That’s not a typo… trust me, I triple-checked it 🙂
Most people want to be healthy, but it’s complicated. It requires consistent effort which many simply don’t commit to. However, when people are engaged appropriately, in a non-invasive manner by real people who really care, they can quite successfully be guided towards meaningful, fulfilling (and most importantly, sustainable) health and lifestyle change.
Websites and wearables look cool and have plenty of health information, but they lack something magical: Empathy. You can’t fake human to human connection or emotions and accountability. You can fake it with gamification and incentives, but they are rarely sustainable. But the appropriate mix of personal interactions and using technology for efficiency where it allows can be incredibly powerful. Life-changing in fact.
It’s the “real life” understanding that people in our client populations appreciate and respond to. It’s what allows us to inspire tens of thousands of people to live healthier lives.
We have empathy because we’re real people. Real people with a passion for healthy living. Real people with a passion to help your people. Here’s an example of how we “walk the walk”, a simple story of one of our health coaches and her passion for finding balance in her life through exercise. It’s people like this working directly with your people who inspire health, optimism, and positivity in the populations we service.
Coach Wendy’s Story:
How exercising got my life moving: A personal journey from anxiety and depression to a more balanced life.
My life changed during a summer visit to a cousin who encouraged me to just run around the block with her one day. I remember the fear of pain and failure as I laced up my shoes. All the failed attempts to get started sat heavy. I made it around that block. I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt. I decided to go again the next day and then the next. After two weeks, I had lost a small amount of weight and had a new sense of purpose. I was actually good at running. From there, I was able to find new ways to look at all the things that brought me down and life became brighter day by day.
We’ve all heard that exercise is good for you. Most of us recognize the impact on our heart and our waist-line, but did you know that it’s one of the best things you can do for your mental health and wellbeing?
When you think of exercise, what comes to mind? For many, exercise is something we’ve been told we need to do, but it seems like more of a burden than something good. The word “exercise” conjures up images of long hours in a sweaty gym and spandex shorts. The good news is that for health benefits, you only need to move. How you choose to do it depends on what you’re looking to gain.
Sure, if you want large muscles, lifting heavy weights will probably be in order. But, if you are simply looking to feel better and more on top of things, being active is very doable. First, it is important to understand what is gained and how you’ll benefit.
Mental wellbeing encompasses the overall sense of feeling positive about oneself; having purpose and the ability to deal with the ups and downs of life. So, how does exercise play a role in our mental wellbeing? Research shows that regular physical activity has lasting psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem and sense of accomplishment, mental clarity, increased energy, improved mood, and healthy coping with life’s stressors.
Stress affects our physical and mental wellbeing. When events occur that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way, our body’s defenses create a stress response, which may make us feel a variety of physical symptoms such as chest tightness, pounding pulse, gastrointestinal issues, and insomnia. We may also experience emotions more intensely. Research shows that exercise releases natural endorphins that relieve physical and mental symptoms.
Additionally, exercise is an antidote for common mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. Research indicates exercise can be as effective against mild to moderate depression and anxiety as prescription medication without the side effects and may have positive effects on treatment-resistant depression when used in combination with talk therapy and medication.
As a health coach, I’m passionate about exercise for all the benefits it provides. I have experience and understanding of the barriers to starting something that feels out of reach. I have lived with the debilitating effects of anxiety and lack of motivation which started in my early teens. I was overweight, suffered low self- esteem, struggled to make friends, and barely met the basic requirements of school. My go-to was a bag of Cheeto’s and the couch where I would escape in episodes of Dallas. I found myself in a constant loop of overeating and fatigue. The thought of change overwhelmed me.
Thinking back to that fateful summer, I didn’t follow a linear path to fitness. I had to learn how to keep going when my inner critic told me not to. Anxiety doesn’t go away. It shows up when life gets hard. I’m so grateful for my ability to go outside and burn all that stress off. For me, when I’m stressed and go for a run, my stomach settles, heart rate calms, and I feel l can take on those problems. Running is my favorite, but any movement creates a calm in the storm and gives me a fresh perspective.
So, how much activity is recommended? According to the Mayo Clinic, thirty minutes of exercise of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking for 3 days a week, is sufficient for these health benefits. Three 10-minute walks are believed to be as equally useful as one 30-minute walk.
If you have never exercised or it’s been a while, don’t fret. Start small. Just add a little bit to what you’re currently doing. If you’re stuck on the couch, just walking down your street each day is a great start. Try to find a good time each day and be consistent. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here, there, and everywhere. Cleaning your house with quicker movements, push mowing your lawn, gardening, throwing a frisbee with your dog all count.
I’m not that young girl anymore but life sometimes hits me like everyone else, and my urge is to find that couch, chips, and Netflix – and that’s ok sometimes. I just know I need to get back on track the next day. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but understand that a conscious decision and just a little effort can pay you back with amazing benefits.