New Activity Challenge Features Released!


Our Challenge Code is Heating Up!

The core of our Motion Connected myInertia plans center on wearables and physical activity challenges. These automated challenges are inclusive, fun, create camaraderie and are a great way to build healthier cultures.

Our clients have had the best success with engagement when running challenges at least quarterly. To continue to help time-strapped administrators achieve that goal, we’ve released four brand-new tools.



1. Team Building Wizard
Building team challenges is easier than ever with our new building method. Employees can self-select their team from a menu of options, or be randomly auto-assigned to teams in our new round robin function.


2. Preset Challenges
“Click and go” challenges are ready for administrators to promote! Clients simply select a challenge that interests them, select a start date and invite employees. There’s even an option to download a poster to promote the challenge to their employee base.



3. Message Board Alerts
We automatically notify participants when the challenge is starting and ending in their message board. Our system handles this behind the scenes, so no additional work for the client! Clients can also choose to post the invite to the message board to garner more signups.


4. Outlast Challenges
We created a new type of challenge sure to take the friendly competition up a notch. Participants compete to see who can “outlast” the step or active minutes goal each week. If they miss the goal they are eliminated from the challenge, and as the weeks progress, the goal gets harder!


These challenge enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg for what we have in store for the year!



Want to learn more about what our myInertia plans can achieve for you or your clients? 

Schedule a time with one of our sales associates here.



Why Getting People Active is the Ultimate Well-Being Solution



Every wellness provider has a “secret” wellness program ingredient that drives their mission to deliver healthier employees.

...The biometric vendors say employees have to “know their numbers” so they can address specific health concerns...
...The stress management providers say no one can take care of themselves until they address their stress issues... 
...The EAP programs assert when participants are bogged down by the blues and other emotional health issues, they simply don’t have the energy or willpower to take healthy actions...
...Sleep programs show that a poor night of sleep leads to poor food choices and decreased will power the following day...
...You can hardly open up a wellness news brief without some article about how alleviating financial pressures through financial wellness is the key to healthier employees...

The magnitude of varying messages can leave many employers asking, where do I start? What can give me the biggest bang for my buck?

It’s time to look to physical activity.

Why?

Instead of focusing on solving one health problem at a time, slowly and with limited engagement, physical activity programs allow you to impact a wide range of health issues all at once, for low cost, and with more inclusivity. Helping you drive the higher engagement needed to save money and change behavior.

Not only is getting people active one of the most powerful disease prevention and treatment initiatives available to improve all the numbers on biometrics, it can make powerful impact on your other well-being goals.

Here’s how it helps:

STRESS: Exercise provides immediate and powerful improvement on stress by reducing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. In addition, exercise itself can be an incredible mindfulness tool, where your brain finally relaxes. Does sitting through a stress awareness course have an immediate benefit to lowering stress and lead to other great things like reducing cholesterol, blood pressure and more?

MOOD: Just 10 minutes of exercise increases serotonin levels that will leave you feeling less anxious, more relaxed, and overall happier. Also, studies (1) show that 16 weeks of regular exercise is just as effective as anti-depressant medication in treating people who were not exercising previously.

SLEEP: We can put people to sleep during a boring talk on sleep or according to Mayo Clinic (2), “Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep.” This is also supported by a national study (3) with more than 2600 people that found meeting the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes/week provided a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

FINANACIAL HEALTH: So there is no way that exercise can help with financial stressors and decisions, right? Actually, there is evidence (4) that people who exercised regularly had better willpower than those who did not and specifically: “Saved more money” and “Splurged on impulse purchases less.”

Check out these other well-being benefits from the American Heart Association – are any of these goals for your wellness program?

Moderate exercise:
  • Helps in the battle to quit smoking
  • Keeps weight under control
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
  • Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves quality of life


The bottom line is, you can fill your wellness year with lunch and learns, articles and educational courses on how to lower stress, beat the blues, get better sleep, and budget better, or you can begin to create immediate change tomorrow with an engaging physical activity program.

The evidence is abundant that if we can motivate people to move, there will be a domino effect on their entire well-being.

Author:



Sarah Troup
Director of Wellness Strategy


Sarah has over 10 years of experience helping employers implement engaging wellness programs that drive true positive outcomes.



Article Sources:
  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=1
  3. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep
  4. Oaten, Megan, and Ken Cheng. "Longitudinal Gains in Self-regulation from Regular Physical Exercise." British Journal of Health Psychology 11.4 (2006): 717-33. 2. McGonigal, Kelly. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. New York: Avery, 2012




I'm Better when I Run



I’ve been reminded many times in my life that I’m at my best when I consistently run.

You’re not into running?

No worries this message still applies to you.

My 2019 challenge to you is this - find what makes you better! Chances are it will be grounded in the gift of physical activity.

Here’s my story…

Recently, I dialed back my running for a few weeks. It’s definitely important to get some rest after a year containing a couple marathons, a 50K trail race, and my first 50-miler. However, dialing back helped me remember once again what running provides.

Running quiets and slows my inner dialogue. It allows me to sort through all the random thoughts, ideas, and self-criticisms. It has a way of turning a heap of tangled and dirty laundry into a basket of crisp, organized clothes.

Running builds my confidence. When I’m running frequently and strong, I stand taller and take on more challenges. I flinch less at the bullets and mud.

Running humbles me. The marathon usually wins. This keeps me coming back for more – after recovering from the physical and mental anguish. Running taps me on the shoulder and gently reinforces my humanity and the importance of grit.

Running makes me a better listener. It offers a calmness and positive energy that I have a difficult time explaining,

Running reminds me. It reminds me to be thankful for the important things in life. When I run, I’m not thinking of material possessions. Rather, I’m thinking of the present and how wonderful it is to be able to run. I’m thinking of the past, and how relationships and experiences have blessed me and shaped me. I’m thinking of the endless possibilities of the future.

With limited running in recent weeks, its absence reminded me why I miss it.

I’m better when I run.

The year ahead will consist of countless miles, gruesomely early mornings, and aching muscles that want to quit.

Fortunately, the lessons of my first 41 years tell me that it’s also a tasty recipe for countless growth opportunities away from the roads and trails.

Will I be faster? Questionable. Will I be better? No doubt.

What makes you better?

2019 awaits your answer…





Authored by: Mark Cumicek 

Mark is the Engagement & Operations Leader for Motion Connected. He provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values. He loves helping people thrive and grow!

This post originally appeared on his blog, happyrun.net


3 Lessons from Pushing 61.29% Further


Sometimes we need to do crazy things to learn, to live, and to better love.

I did just that in October by running a 50-mile race – something I never dreamed I would do. Well, maybe in a nightmare!

Prior to this, the longest distance I covered was 50K or roughly 31 miles. So this was a considerable stretch from any semblance of a comfort zone. 61.29% of a stretch to be exact.

Here are three lessons that I learned.

1. BHAGs rock


In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins describes the setting of large, sometimes daunting organizational goals. He affectionately refers to such goals as Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs… pronounced Bee Hags).

Running this distance was truly a BHAG for me.

I set this BHAG almost on a whim 2 years prior at the start of the same race. The year of BHAG declaration I was competing as part of a relay team splitting the distance. It was accidental, but essential for me to set this goal with a proper amount of lead-time to be able to build for it – mostly mentally, but physically too.

Another important piece of this was to declare and share my BHAG with others. I did this from day one in a very specific, no wiggle room way – I WILL complete the Fall 50 solo in 2018. Declaring created sound accountability. Sharing created a channel of encouragement and support. 


2. Small goals get the job done


Though the presence of the BHAG provided the inspiration to get to the start line, it meant little when it came to executing on race day. Small goals dominated my mind.

What began as simple task mantras like get dressed and get started, or relax and get to the next aid station turned even more short-term as the race progressed.

Thinking one-mile marker at a time got me through the first three quarters of the race. However, the final heart, thigh, and gut wrenching quarter consisted of a different variety of thoughts… just make it to that tree... or get your ass to the mailbox…. or make it to that curve in the road and you can stop.

Fortunately, I never stopped!

Any deep thoughts of the overall distance would have crushed me many times during the race. The keys to executing on the BHAG jingle on a ring of many unique, tiny goals looped together.

To be completely honest, the aid station chocolate chip cookies helped a lot too :) One cookie at a time!


3. Present moment thinking frees & allows


After the race, many people asked how it was? My consistent answer - it was good, beer and pizza please!

I didn’t really remember a lot of the race in detail due to being so focused on the present moment while getting it done. Sure, pain was present… but simply embraced as part of the experience. The weather was a total shit show… but was merely conditions that I needed to outmuscle.

I did not have energy to focus on the past or the future. I could only contend with the exact moment I was in.

I couldn’t worry about what I ate yesterday and how it might affect me.

I couldn’t anticipate how sore I was going to be on Monday.

I couldn’t obsess about whether I trained enough.

I couldn’t worry about the weather forecast for the afternoon.

It was absolutely freeing to be completely in the moment. Present moment thinking was not just a luxury... it was a vital, unexpected ingredient needed to accomplish the feat. Allowing my mind to spend time unnecessarily in the past would have caused doubt. While allowing it to drift into the future would have caused anxiety.
One more note

There is one additional 4th lesson that fits somewhere in here, but I’m not going to try to weave it into any of the above.

Kind gestures from others helped me persevere and practice gratitude along the way. 


There was the man at the halfway mark who gave me his hands warmers just as doubt was creeping in. And the fellow runner that made me laugh through his jovial banter with family at a late race aid station. Then there was the course volunteer that pointed us home on the last turn of the course and graciously agreed to my request for a hug. Bless her! And finally, there was my loving wife telling me how f'ing proud of me she was with tears in her eyes.


Sometimes it takes every ounce of kindness from others to get us safely to where we need to be. This was certainly true on this day... and more recognizable because of the circumstances. One of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly, calls such events holy moments. Too often, I'm not aware or appreciative of these holy moment gifts that others bless me with on a daily basis. I’m sure you can relate.
This day I noticed.


Takeaways:


So, I walk away from these 50 miles a bit wiser, and sincerely hope my experience can help you.

Now, you can ignore all of the words above and walk away with these concise takeaways…

  1. Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals set your destination (to learn)
  2. Small goals and present moment thinking provide the fuel (to live).
  3. The holy moment kindness in each of us, when extended to others, keeps us from falling asleep at the wheel (to better love).

Authored by: Mark Cumicek 

Mark is the Engagement & Operations Leader for Motion Connected. He provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values. He loves helping people thrive and grow!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

Why Being Busy is NOT a Good Reason to Skip a Workout



I had an extremely full day. As I drove home, my nerves were on fire and my patience was short. Between processing the day’s events and foreshadowing a busy evening, my stress level was rising.

My first reaction was to scratch the planned pre-dinner jog from my agenda. After all, I truly had too much going on to waste my precious time out on a trail. Deep down, I knew better. This type of activity was exactly what I needed.

As I entered the house, the distractions and excuses inundated me. My instinct again moved towards ditching the workout. Fortunately, I was able to overcome the objections, get situated in my shoes, shorts, and t-shirt, and get out the door.

I managed to squeeze physical activity in between the BU and SY of busy.

The result?

I returned home with a clear mind and the words too busy evaporated with the sweat.

The day’s events were sorted and rationalized.

The evening’s agenda suddenly became easily tolerable and full of enjoyable endeavors that previously appeared gut-wrenching.

My outlook on tomorrow also changed from anxious to excited anticipation. My calendar was transformed from way too busy to an invigorating full day ahead.

The takeaway…

Though life gets chaotic and our schedules are often so full they can overwhelm, don’t forgo physical activity. Give it the priority it deserves. Doing so will ALWAYS reflect abundantly on your productivity, your attitude, and your gratitude.

Being on the move has a magical way of bringing order to chaos and optimism to a tireless schedule.

Whether it’s a 10-minute walk, a 10-kilometer run, or 10-mile bike ride, don’t make it the convenient scratch from your agenda. Instead, find a way to make it happen!

Your stress-level, your schedule, your coworkers, and your family will thank you for the investment.

Authored by:

Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.


The Dangers of NOT doing Workplace Wellness



One of the biggest arguments against investing in workplace wellness is “We don’t know if there is a return on investment (ROI) in wellness.” 

It makes sense, since wellness solutions are rarely free - whether you are paying for a dedicated wellness coordinator, biometrics, coaching, a platform, devices, education and so on. It’s logical to wonder what will come in return for those dollars spent.

But…

What happens if instead, you to forget calculating a hard ROI and solely focus on what happens if a company does nothing to improve the health of the employee population?

What costs are you guaranteeing the organization if you don’t intervene? Or said another way, what is your return on lack of investment? (ROLOI)

Let’s start with calculating the cost of physical inactivity the workforce.

A study in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases showed that inactive adults spent $1,313 more in annual health care expenditures than active adults. The study also showed that 34% of the participants fell into this category. (1)

The cost of the physical inactivity for a 100-person group would then total $1313 x 34 = $44,642.

We can also look specifically at the costs of elevated BMI or obesity, which is one of the biggest drivers of healthcare costs and preventable chronic diseases. (2) Data from the CDC shows that the medical cost for people who have obesity is $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. The CDC also states that the prevalence of obesity is 39.8%.

Going back to our 100-person group example, the cost of obesity would cost the organization an additional $56,874 per year.

Though we start to get into some overlap of risks here are a couple more statistics:

  • Adults with high blood pressure are estimated to pay $1,920 more in annual costs than those without normal blood pressure at a prevalence rate of 36.9% or $70,848 for our 100-person group (3)
  • Adults of working age (24-65) spend about $9,600 on average per year treating their diabetes at a prevalence rate of 25% equaling $240,000 for our 100-person group (4)

The data here clearly shows that a 100-person group would cost over $150,000 per year in health care expenditure. So if your organization avoids a wellness program that targets lifestyle diseases like physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes you can guarantee you’ll be writing a check for that amount, or more.

It’s time to intervene with that cost and negative trend line.

Here’s a huge positive we have to offer – effective wellness doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

You can make a dent in that check by focusing on basic initiatives that have broad impact. For example, instead of bringing in speakers on maintaining blood pressure, running educational campaigns, or directing participants into coaching for their blood pressure, consider a companywide activity program that can engage the masses while targeting many risk factors.

Not only would motivating physical activity go a long way in cutting down the $1,313 average amount of annual expenditure for physically inactive participants, but it would help with metabolic measures, high blood pressure and weight. It doesn’t end there, it would help employees with healthy measures remain in the healthy category.

And there’s more… it could also help employees to sleep better, stress less, and improve their mood. This mean higher productivity and happiness!

What would a simple, effective wellness program cost our 100-person company? Motion Connected’s best practice, turnkey and results-orientated Selectproduct would be $3,100 annually. A palatable investment with the possibility of impacting the greater than $150,000 expenditures on lifestyle diseases.

It comes down to two choices:

$3,100 or $150,000?

Do nothing or wisely wager a small investment in your people and their health?

The ROI argument is a complicated one. The ROLOI argument is more relevant and more urgent.

Do you believe in ROLOI? Please share your thoughts.

Author:
Sarah Troup
Director, Wellness Strategy
Sarah has over 10 years of experience helping employers, healthcare systems and Brokers implement engaging wellness programs that drive positive health outcomes.

Resources: 
1. Carlson, Susan A., Fulton, Janet E., Pratt, Michael, Yang, Zhou, Adams, Kathleen. Inadequate Physical Activity and Health Care Expenditures in the United States; Progress in Cardiovascular Disease 57. 2015;315-323
2. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
3. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/adults-with-high-blood-pressure-face-higher-healthcare-costs
4. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/diabetesatwork/plan/costs.html




How to Make Physical Activity a Cornerstone of Your Leadership Style


Endless stressful hours. Little time for exercise. Bulging waistline.

This does not need to be the recipe for “success” as an effective leader. Instead, by intentionally making physical activity a core part of your leadership approach and taking care of yourself, you can do an even better job taking care of others.

Here are a few ways to weave activity into your workday and leadership style.

Walking meetings

Take a few minutes and dissect your calendar for today. Any meetings that you could take out the door and handle on the move?

The walking meeting is a very healthy way to multitask – the meeting gets done while you and your colleagues get some steps in. I particularly find success in having 1x1 meetings on the go. It’s a great way to connect with your team members in a comfortable, conversational way.

Decision-making

We often view a mid-day walk as a refreshing break from our work. This is a fantastic, carefree way to spend a walk!

However, don’t be afraid to designate a walk as a purposeful tool in your workday. If you’re like me, you sometimes need a change of environment to help you think through topics of magnitude.

Have a difficult decision on your mind? Lace up your shoes and get out the door! The trifecta of moving, thinking, and soaking in nature tends to spark increased clarity, creativity, and confidence.

Give it a try. Declare a working walk with a prescribed issue to solve or decision to ponder. Then, get going and get thinking. Get ready to be surprised. Ideas and answers that hide in the corners of your office find a way out with a dose of movement and some fresh air.

Take care of yourself

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

We’ve all heard this quote before.

As leaders, it’s easy to dismiss care of self in exchange for solving business issues or helping develop talent. Keep in mind that physical activity is a very effective way to keep your cup full and fresh.

“Selfishly” investing a small amount of time each week on your physical well-being has the potential to make you a more selfless leader. The time spent sharpening yourself pays dividends in energy, focus, and confidence – all critical components to be the best leader you can be.

Take care of yourself so that you can do an even better job taking care of others.

From time management to better meetings. From strategic thinking to better relationships. Physical activity is a go-to, often underutilized leadership tool.

Being intentional about incorporating this tool into your daily approach will make you a better leader… and a prime example of how wellness and work successfully coexist in your organization.

Author:

Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.