How Movement Can Benefit Your Workday – And How to Fit It In

March 26, 2018
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in Blog
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Have you ever thought about how long you sit throughout the work day? If you are like most Americans with sedentary jobs, that doesn’t expose you to enough movement throughout the day. Ever since the increase in the body weight of our nation, health professionals have been promoting more nutritious eating habits and physical activity as the keys to a healthy body weight and reduced risk of disease. Although eating healthfully and exercising is the right way to live, it’s not that simple for everyone to fit it in, every day. 

A recent study conducted by Dr. William Tigbe from the Warwick Medical School and the University of Warwick found evidence that office or sedentary jobs are detrimental to cardiovascular health.  This research showed that waist circumference increased by 2 centimeters, with the risk of heart diseases increasing by 0.2% for each additional hour spent a day sitting after 5 hours.  Lack of movement can slowly creep up on us, and put us at increased risk for negative health outcomes.

We all know that exercise and movement are important for helping to reduce our risk of heart disease. Studies show that spending 7 hours a day on your feet or walking 7 miles a day is ideal for safeguarding against cardiovascular issues and maintaining a healthy weight.  But in reality, few of us have time for that.

Prolonged sitting can negatively affect the body’s metabolic function, causing an array of problems besides chronic diseases.  Inactivity can result in brain fog, muscle degeneration, leg disorders (poor blood circulation), soft bones, and of course weight gain. Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA noted that even the smallest contractile movements throughout the day are important for good health.

How can physical activity benefit your work-day, and how can you fit it in?  Well, to start you will feel better when you move.  Exercise releases the “feel good” hormones; Endorphins, Serotonin, and more. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, like that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.  Serotonin is our primary “happy hormone” and contributes to our feelings of happiness, wellness, and contentment.  Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, it is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscle. As the precursor for melatonin, it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock.

Exercise improves your cognition!  This applies to those of us experiencing brain fog: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.  In a study done at the University of British

Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.  Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. 

So, how do you manage to squeeze in physical activity throughout the workday? Here are our top tips to help everyone fit activity into a busy lifestyle:

  1. Stand/Walk/Bike to work: This may not work for everyone, but if you commute via public transportation, avoid finding a seat. If you work close enough to walk or bike, try to incorporate that into your commute a couple of days a week to start.  Even if you can’t walk/bike to work, what about on the way home?  Bring a pair of work-out clothes/shoes to keep in your office.  
  2. Fitness Breaks: Instead of taking a coffee break or during lunch, incorporate a few laps on your way to or from the break-room, take the stairs whenever possible, enjoy the nice weather with a brisk walk after finishing your lunch.
  3. Stand while at work: Whenever you see an opportunity to get out of that computer chair, take it! Stand while talking on the phone, walk to your coworker’s desk rather than emailing or calling, invest in a standing desk, or a tool to raise your computer at your desk, if possible.
  4. Schedule “walking meetings”:  Rather than meeting in the board-room – meet at the door and take a walking meeting!  The movement will help get your blood flowing, and you may come up with ideas more quickly/solve problems more easily.  
  5. Keep workout gear at your desk: A couple resistant bands or small weights can be simple ways to include strength training while on a conference call or between meetings.  Check out our favorite desk exercises.  
  6. Plan for business trips: Investigate the hotel you will be staying in and if it includes a fitness room or pool. Instead of sitting and waiting for your delayed flight to show up, go for a walk around the terminal.  Always pack sneakers!  
  7. Involve your coworkers: It is much easier to stick to a regimen if you have others involved in the activity as well. Talk to your colleagues and form a fitness group. You could plan 10-15 min walks around the building with them, and walking meetings.  If you have a competitive office environment, what about a walking or activity challenge?  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to learn about our custom wellness challenges.  

Even small changes (200 more steps per day) can ladder up to long term health benefits. Need a little more inspiration?  Check out Dave’s Story.  By adding movement into your day, you will have more energy, possible weight loss from burning more calories, and improvement in your body’s metabolic functions. So, what are you waiting for? Go talk to your coworker from across the building, and schedule your first walking meeting!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

References:

https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/standing-or-walking-versus-sitting-on-the-job-in-2016.htm

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st#

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-exercise/art-20047394

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What Foods to Eat in the Winter

February 4, 2018
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Winter means colder temperatures and less hours of daylight. With more time spent inside and little exposure to sunlight, it can become a challenge to stay happy and energized. Because of this, it is crucial to stay focused on the nutrition choices that work for you during this time of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression with seasonal patterns, is very common during the cold months of winter. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite, and sleep are normal and expected with this kind of disorder. There are many different ways that you can stay on top of your health and prevent symptoms of SAD. Staying active, eating healthy winter foods, and managing your stress are great places to start. To stay happy, healthy, and energized incorporate these winter foods into your day:

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber. They are also packed with antioxidants. With their sweet taste and bright orange color, adding them to your meal can be fun. Also, they work well in a lot of different recipes. Whether you choose to bake, roast, or mash them, sweet potatoes are a great food to eat to keep you full and energized! Check out more recipe ideas here.

 

Brussel Sprouts are “tiny cabbages” and have a wide variety of health benefits.  When prepared with herbs, spices and some healthy oil, they taste really yummy! Brussels are full of fiber, as well as contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect your DNA from oxidative damage. Try tossing them in some olive or avocado oil and roasting until lightly browned. Add some herbs like oregano, cumin, or smoked paprika.  Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy! For other Brussel sprout recipe ideas, click here.

Salmon contains tryptophan which is an amino-acid that is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood regulation. Salmon also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown in some studies to help regulate depression. The fat in salmon is heart healthy and helps to reduce harmful inflammation.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Add your favorite marinade or season with citrus like lemon, lime and orange, and enjoy!  Check out this link for more salmon recipe ideas.

Winter Squash is full of Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to promote healthy skin as well as benefit heart health and immunity. Also rich in fiber and potassium, winter squash is a great option for many! Try all different varieties: Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicate squash! To learn more about squash varities, check out Epicurious, and for some yummy winter squash recipes, click here.

 

Clementines are vitamin C and fiber-packed tiny fruits.  This sweet and tart delights are great snacks for just about anywhere, anytime. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, clementines are easy to pack and delicious to eat, Whether you’re peeling one for your morning snack or throwing them into your salad for lunch, clementines are the perfect addition to your day!  For delicious recipe inspiration, check out Saveur

 

 

Staying happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Life is crazy, and there are always things to be worrying about and stressing over. Take small steps daily to keep your mind at ease and your body strong and energized. Enjoy these winter foods for your mood and overall vitality.  Your health and well-being are important to all of us here at B.Komplete!  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to help you come up with the health and wellness strategies that work, for you.  

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


References:

https://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/the-best-winter-foods-for-kids

 

 

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How to Avoid a Food Coma after Lunch

November 20, 2017
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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big: A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

Tip: Pack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex: One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate.   Tip: Try to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals: A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  Tip: Keep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

 

Get a good night’s sleep: The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  Tip: Set an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

April 19, 2017
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in Blog
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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly, works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Memorial Day: Eat Right for Your Life

May 21, 2015
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in Blog
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Whether you will be hosting or attending the party, there is no doubt food will be a central part of the celebration. Among friends and family, traditional holiday fare and other favorites, you think to yourself ‘there is no way, healthy fits in with Memorial Day’. No need to worry anymore, follow these healthy tips with the following great recipes to help you enjoy the holiday – guilt free!

cilantro-lime-shrimp-kebabs

Go Lean on the Grill.  Enjoy lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs

Grilled Salmon Kebabs

Grilled Pesto Chicken & Tomato Kebabs

Jamaican BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Grilled Chicken with Herbs

Veggie Kabobs

Grilled Pineapple

Grilled Peaches with Honey and Yogurt

Ginger-Marinated Grilled Portobello Burger

Grilled Fennel with Parmesan & Lemon

Grilled Garlic Artichokes

buffalo-wings

Recipe Makeover. Enjoy the favorites among family and friends with a healthy twist.

Skinny Buffalo Wings

Jicama Apple Slaw Recipe

Deviled Eggs

Baby Red Potato Salad

No-Shell Taco Salad Recipe

Light Artichoke Dip

Lightened Up Mac n Cheese Bites

Santa-Fe-Black-Bean-Salad

Find Your Healthy Options. The easiest way to fight the temptation is by snacking on the foods that are naturally lighter.

Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail

Edamame Hummus

Bruschetta with Tomato & Basil

Mango, Avocado, & Black Bean Salad

Zesty Lime Shrimp Avocado Salad

Southwestern Black Bean Salsa

Brie, Apple, & Arugula Quesadilla

Black Bean Burger

Red Potato Salad with Green Beans and Tomato

Enjoy the time with your family and friends, and have a wonderful holiday.

 B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

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The Best Stress Management Ideas

April 1, 2015
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in Blog
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Stress. All of us experience some kind of stress throughout our daily lives and stress is unavoidable. Some stress can be good; provide motivation, encourage collaboration, or even push you to try new things. However, excessive stress that isn’t managed can be quite damaging to your health. Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with weight gain, inflammation, decreased immunity, and even heart conditions over time. These health issues make stress reduction crucial for achieving ideal health.

 You can’t eliminate stress, but you can manage it! The following stress reduction practices are proven to work:

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective and beneficial stress reduction methods. How does exercise reduce stress? One of the ways exercise reduces stress is by reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that cause stress, while increasing levels of endorphins, which are mood elevators. This causes the aptly named “runner’s high” that you may have heard of before.  Another way that exercise can reduce stress is through the benefits that you gain. Exercise allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit your fitness goals and can also reduce stress by reducing your waist-line and improving self image. Tasks, such as heavy lifting, become easier as you become fit making those stressful tasks look a little more manageable. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking and running, as well as others are great stress relievers. Click here to learn about 8 great stress relieving exercises

Yoga in park

Breathing exercises. Rapid, shallow breathing is commonly associated with stress while relaxed, deep breathing is associated with relaxation. Breath yourself into a state of relaxation with these easy steps:

  1. Breath in slowly and deeply using your diaphragm fully.
  2. Hold your breath briefly
  3. Release your breath slowly, thinking “relax”
  4. Repeat these steps, 5 to 10 times

This is a great relaxation technique because it can be used at any time and any place, as needed. To learn more, Dr. Weil offers some wonderful breathing exercises

Meditation. With elevated stress also comes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. You can relieve your stress and its physiological effects using meditation techniques. Studies of Indian yoga masters have shown that meditation can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood adrenaline levels.   Meditation is a useful and effective way to relieve your stress in the comfort of your own home.

Harvard physician, Dr. Herbert Benson gives this quick guide to mediation

  1. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption. A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
  2. Get comfortable. Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations.
  3. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude. Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries.
  4. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion. You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It’s the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word “one” will do nicely. Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations.

o-MINDFULNESS-MEDITATION-facebook

Acupuncture. Acupuncture may sound a little scary when you think of needles being placed in your face and back, however individuals and research have found it is truly a safe and an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works through placement of a needle about half a millimeter from a nerve. Depending on where the needle is placed, it can cause the release of pain killing chemicals from the nervous system, stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, or excite the part of the brain controlling emotion (leading to decreased anxiety and stress). Those who have received acupuncture, often see results after just one session with improved results upon continuous treatment. I can personally vouch for the benefits of Acupuncture, and look forward to my ongoing sessions with Aaron Cashman, L.OM

What to expect at your first appointment

B. educated, B. inspired, B.Komplete!

 

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