Corporate Wellness

How Movement Can Benefit Your Workday – and How to Fit it in

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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. 

The Problem

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.  A study at the University of British Columbia, discovered an increase in size of the area of the brain involved with learning and verbal memory as result from regular aerobic exercise. 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:

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.  

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.

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.

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.  

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.  

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!  

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!

Check out how B.Komplete can provide corporate wellness solutions to your company
Nutrition and Food

How to Start a Vegetarian Diet – Are You Up for the Challenge?

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Type “becoming a vegetarian” into your favorite search engine and you are guaranteed to see a plethora of news articles, medical journals, lifestyle blogs, and social media sites filled with suggestions.  Let’s keep it simple – condensed results for you in an easy-to-follow article:

First, let’s review the benefits.  Switching to a vegetarian lifestyle can help improve personal health , sustain the environment, support animal welfare, and save money.  Whatever you believe, there is always a reason to consider trying a vegetarian diet.

If you’re reading this, then you may have thought about becoming a vegetarian at one time.  For whatever reason you couldn’t start then, we challenge you to take the venture now!  Vegetarianism is more accessible than ever, even for the busy professional. 

Here are four steps to make it happen:

Step 1 – Let’s be honest…

Before skydiving for the first time, would you calmly hop in your car and drive to the nearest airport?  Probably not; you may consider a few things like risk, personal health and cost, prior to jumping.  Similarly, if you want to become a vegetarian, consider the following:

  1. What foods do you enjoy and what don’t you like?
  2. Are you an adventurous eater or do you to stick with what you know?
  3. Do you eat in restaurants or at home?
  4. Do you cook or buy ready-to-eat meals?

Understanding your preferences will help make this work.  For example, don’t expect to become a vegan chef overnight if you don’t like cooking.  You may enjoy some ready-to-eat options instead while you ease yourself into cooking a few meals. 

Step 2 – What do you know?

There are different types of vegetarianism.  Here are the most popular:

  • “No food with a face” – Quoted from TV character Phoebe Buffay of Friends , this type of vegetarian avoids food with a face, or simply put animal meat. The technical name is lacto-ovo vegetarian, which includes eating animal byproducts like dairy and eggs, but not the animal flesh itself. 
  • One fish, two fish… – A pescatarian fuses the health benefits of fresh fish with nutrient rich plant-based foods. A pescatarian avoids all land animals like beef and poultry and may also exclude byproducts like eggs and dairy.
  • Animal hugger – Also known as vegan. This version completely omits animal product from the diet including byproducts like eggs, dairy, honey, and foods with Red40 coloring. 
  • What the heck is a flexitarian? – A newer term, the flexitarian  consumes meat less frequently and in smaller amounts. For example, a flexitarian  may eat plant-based foods only, but will eat meat on special occasions like holidays.

Which one sounds good?  Choose the best fit for you and set it as your goal.

Step 3 – Let’s eat!

Enough thinking, let’s start eating! 

Tip 1 – Make your favorite already-vegetarian dishes:

Do you like sandwiches like grilled cheese and PB&J, veggie lasagna , rice and beans , tossed green salads and other potato, pasta and fruit salads, minestrone soup, or mac ‘n cheese?  If you do, good news!  These are already meat-free dishes!  

Tip 2 – Embrace “gateway” meat products:

While some people turn their noses up at the processed nature of faux meats, this option can be an efficient way to add protein and make a meaty dish vegetarian without losing the flavor and texture of the dish.  These products can be found in most grocery store chains, in the natural food and frozen food isles:

Tip 3 – Substitutions for Vegan-friendly dishes

Avoid dairy and eggs by using plant-based ingredients instead.  Items like applesauce, bananas, nut milks, flax seed, and coconut can be substituted while cooking and baking.  In addition to great taste, your foods may be healthier!  Check out conversion charts available online.

Step 4 - Nice to meet you!

To be a successful vegetarian, introduce yourself to new meals and ingredients.  Plant-based dishes can be delicious, easy to find, and healthy.

 

Take the Challenge

Starting a vegetarian diet can be easy to do, and can be a gradual process.  It’s helpful to have a support system in friends and family. 

To help you get started, we challenge you to take the 3-day B.Komplete Vegetarian Challenge!  All you need to do is try three breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that fall within the type of vegetarian you want to become.  Use the recipe sources in this post or stick to your already vegetarian favorites.  Then, let us know how you did by leaving a comment below! 

Not willing to commit yet?  Try out Meatless Monday.  A now global movement, this  organization encourages people to “once a week, cut the meat.”  Their website has a vault of resources to help you commit to reducing overall consumption of meat.

 

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store Supermarket Series: Herbs and Spices for Heart Health

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How to Use Herbs & Spices for Heart Health

We are back for our second edition of our ‘explore the store’ series in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in February is on Herbs & Spices for Heart Health.  Did you know…

  • Garlic helps keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  Fresh is the best, however if you don’t have fresh use dried garlic to season your meals.  Garlic pairs well with numerous cuisines.  
  • Oregano is an antioxidant super-power providing more than apples, potato, oranges, and even blueberries!  Season your fish, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, and salad dressings with this herb.  
  • Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation.  Use this savory spice with poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables and event tea.  
  • Chipotle spice is your go-to when you want a smoky and spicy flavor.  Providing health benefit and awesome flavor, use chipotle with fish, poultry, meat, eggs, potato, whole grains and in dips and rubs.  
  • To flavor simple white fish combine lemon with thyme, parley, ground pepper and a dash of sea salt OR combine garlic, onion and chipotle powders.  

We will be back next month exploring the Snack Aisle.

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store Supermarket Series: Oil

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Come with us as we ‘explore the store’ in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in January is on Oil.  Did you know…

  • Safflower and Canola Oils have the lowest saturated fat content compared to other oils
  • Coconut Oil has the highest saturated fat content compared to other oils
  • Olive oil is far higher in monounsaturated fatty acids than any other fat or oil
  • Unsaturated fatty acids are thought to be better for your health than saturated fatty acids, with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated the ones to look for
  • You can make delicious salad dressing with avocado, walnut, grape-seed, sesame, flax and olive oils
  • You can cook with canola, sunflower, safflower, and coconut oils

We will be back next month exploring the Herb & Spice aisle.