Jump-Start Your Activity Program With These 5 Tips

Joining the Workplace Wellness Movement is not only physically healthy for your company population as a whole, but it also boosts retention, job performance, attendance, and overall job satisfaction.

Taking on the task of implementing an activity based wellness program with hundreds or thousands of employees can be intimidating! You're not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Take comfort in knowing that this roadblock of intimidation can be overcome with a top-performing wellness platform and a little expert advice.

Here's what David Pauer, former Director of Wellness for the Employee Health Program of Cleveland Clinic, had to say about managing a wellness program with over 25,000 members.

David mentions a few key items to consider when creating your activity-focused wellness program:

  1. Keep the activity simple, like tracking daily steps!
  2. Consider making fitness trackers, such as Garmin or Fitbit products*, easily accessible and within the financial reach of each individual.
  3. Communicate individual and team progress often, with a centrally displayed leaderboard or smartphone application*.
  4. Incentivize participation with name-drawn prizes (based on participation) to even the playing field.
  5. Keep your wellness program alive with fresh monthly or quarterly activity challenges.

Interested in hearing more on 'What No One Tells You About Running An Activity Wellness Program'?

Download the full interview & listen anytime here >

*Visit Motion Connected's Wellness Outlet for heavily-discounted gear, available for purchase to Motion Connected platform users.

*Motion Connected's Android- and iPhone-friendly mobile application links with each individual's compatible activity device and displays a near real-time step count and leaderboard. 

Top Health & Fitness Gifts to Complete Your Holiday Shopping List

Top Wellness & Fitness Gifts to Complete Your Holiday Shopping List

Do you have a few individuals on your shopping list, and are looking to find that perfect gift? Scarves and mittens, personalized coffee mugs, and chocolate are always easy go-tos and appreciated. But what says ‘I care about you’ more than investing in their health?

Motion Connected brings you our top 20 health-and fitness-geared (in no particular order) gift ideas for the 2019 holiday season. Read ‘em and wrap ‘em up!

1. Skullcandy Indy Bluetooth Earbuds | Shop now

Wireless earbuds that feed the listener’s favorite music at an incredible quality are sure to keep both feet hitting the pavement on a nice morning run. Noise isolating, up to 16 hours of battery life, and comfort are just a few of the best features of these must-have earbuds from Skullcandy

2. Fitbit Inspire | Shop now

The Fitbit Inspire can help you or your loved one get empowered to make a change and embrace weight and fitness goals with activity and sleep tracking, calories burned & more. Now available with a convenient clip that allows for multiple wearing options!

3. Fitbit Versa Lite | Shop now

Bring a whole new level of awareness to daily activities with the Fitbit Versa Lite. This lightweight activity device offers on-screen workouts, Bluetooth capabilities, smartphone notifications, 4+ days of battery life, heart rate tracking, personalized reminders, sleep tracking & stages, is swim-proof, and so much more!

4. Garmin Vivosmart 4 | Shop now

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 technology includes advanced monitoring of REM, deep and light sleep, and blood oxygen saturation levels. Easily swipe through heart rate, stress level, body battery, steps, and other customizable widgets.

5. Garmin Forerunner 645/645 Music | Shop now

Up to 500 songs can easily be downloaded to your watch and connected to your Bluetooth headphones. 5-7 days of battery life keep you conveniently charged to continuously monitor heart rate, step count, running dynamics and more.

6. The Belkin PowerHouse | Shop now

The Belkin PowerHouse is a charging dock that simultaneously charges both your Apple Watch and select iPhone models. It comes with a power supply and 4-foot cable, magnetic Apple Watch charger, and AC power adapter.

7. Hydro Flask | Shop now

This 32 oz. professional-grade stainless steel container features a wide mouth top for faster filling. The Hydro Flask is designed with a TempShield double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your water cold up to 24 hours, and hot drinks up to 12 hours. This water bottle is stylish, durable, and BPA and Phthalate-free!

8. The Klean Kanteen | Shop now

For kids and adults! This 27 oz. stainless steel water bottle has a simple single wall design and is lightweight, making transportation easy. The Klean Kanteen features a powder coat finish that’s four times more durable, chip-resistant and safe for people and the planet.

9. Runner’s Light Gloves | Shop now

Light as in light-weight or light as in bright? Both!
These reflective-trimmed gloves sport pockets that hold powerful, four-bulb lights that last for up to 10 hours for evening and night runs. The material is breathable, and will also hold cash, keys or other small essentials.

10. Stackable Resistance Band Set (11 pieces) | Shop now

Resistance bands are a great tool for those looking to get in a quick, convenient workout at home or on the go. They are lightweight, simple, compact, and durable. These stackable resistance bands and tubes range from 5-75 lbs and feature foam handles for a comfortable gym or at-home workouts.

11. FootGym 7-in-1 Foot Gym | Shop now

Get all your foot and lower leg stretching + rehabilitation in one device. Increase stability with exercises like toe curls, toe flexion, dorsiflexion, plantar fascia stretch, calf raises, calf stretches, and foot massages. This device can be used to treat plantar fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, and foot pain!

12. Stability Balance Board | Shop now

Add a unique element to your at-home or gym workouts with a balance board! A balance board is a great way to improve core strength and balance. These boards are skid-resistant and made of wood material with a plastic balance dome for stability and safety.

13. Deep Tissue Foam Roller | Shop now

Foam rollers increase blood flow, massage your muscles, and are known to accelerate recovery. Use can also release tension in your muscles, enhancing your mobility. The deep tissue foam roller includes an exercise guide and features a durable hollow center to withstand repeated use.

14. PROPLUS 30 Standing Desk | Shop now

The PROPLUS 30 is Varidesk’s best-selling standing desk model. A two-tier design with an upper display surface and lower keyboard/mouse desk brings comfort and ease to your work station. This desk is weighted for stability and ships fully assembled. Posture curve and rowing lift allow for minimal impact on your back.

15. Adidas Defender Duffle Bag | Shop now

The Adidas Defender Duffle Bag is granted rave reviews. Easy top load design, zippered front, zippered end pockets, adjustable shoulder strap, wrapped webbing haul handles all provide plenty of packing room, convenient accessibility, and comfort. Plus, this bag comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

16. MIER Insulated Lunch Bag | Shop now

This insulated lunch bag from MIER for men and women offers two roomy compartments for food and drink storage. This food-safe, easy-to-clean, leak-proof caddy is perfect when packing a lunch for work, school, car trips, beaches, kayaking, and the outdoors. An adjustable shoulder strap also allows for this lunch bag to be worn comfortably.

17. Oil Diffuser | Shop now

This Sand-Blasted glass Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser not only makes your home smell fresh and wonderful but also acts as an attractive embellishment to any surface. It silently diffuses your favorite essential oils for up to 10 hours. The hand-blown glass cover features an optional timer and night light.

18. Yoga Mat | Shop now

GAIAM’s Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat gives you slip- and worry-free yoga bliss. Created for yogis, by yogis, the topcoat promises to wick away moisture and provide a better grip when moisture threatens your posture. Worry not if you have a latex sensitivity, as this mat is rubber-free. Health for both you and the planet, this mat is manufactured free of the top six most harmful phthalates.

19. Nutribullet | Shop now

A health guru’s kitchen must-have. Promising the most out of every ingredient you put in, this blender if compact, powerful, and efficient. Favorite features include easy to clean, fast-working, and a smooth design.

20. Wool Runners | Shop now

Wool Runners are soft, lightweight, breathable, and flexible. Customers rave of comfort. Are they made with actual wool? Yes. ‘Allbirds’ states the use of merino sheep’s wool. It’s temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking without causing that notorious wool-itch. How would one describe wearing these shoes? “It’s like walking on a cloud”.

There you have it. Our top 20 wellness and fitness gifts to invest in the health of those closest to you this holiday season.

Why Your Company Needs a Wellness Program

Your company doesn't have a wellness program?

That can cost you. An estimated quarter of a million dollars per 100 employees a year, to paint the picture.

In a recent webinar we uncovered this statistic with Motion Connected’s Director of Wellness Strategy, Sarah Troup, and Brian Green, Wellness Sales Manager from Garmin Health.

Sarah noted, “There is a lot of evidence that not doing wellness in and of itself can be expensive…Physical inactivity alone costs $44,642 additional per year in health care costs per 100 employees.”

Here’s something you should know. There are many factors related to your employees’ health costing your company, including hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.

These factors, as Sarah points out, often come down to lifestyle choices that lead to higher health care utilization. What’s more? The majority of these chronic diseases are PREVENTABLE with an engaging workplace wellness plan.

Hear more from Sarah in the video below.

Beyond potential money savings, providing healthy options for employees can also help your organization:

1. Be more productive and have fewer accidents

2. Have less absenteeism (as much as 40% less with a good wellness program)

4. Create a positive corporate culture

Interested in hearing more about the latest wellness trends and getting the most from a wellness program?

Download the full interview & listen anytime here >

Choosing the Right Focus for Workplace Wellness

Wellness can have countless definitions.

Whether looking at individual or group wellness, a wellbeing destination has many paths paved to reach it. From healthy eating and appropriate water intake, to emotional health and daily physical activity, choosing the right path for you or your employees to take can be challenging.

In a recent interview we sat down with David Pauer to ponder this topic in greater detail. David is a Health & Wellness Leader with over 25 years of experience, including managing Cleveland Clinic's Employee Health plan.

So, how did David choose a wellness focus for Cleveland Clinic's Employee to help foster healthier lifestyles their in population? Watch the snippet below to hear it in his own words.

Pauer stated the desire to use a positive engagement tool, as opposed to the typical restrictive dieting or reducing tobacco usage, methods that take away from the individual.

Instead, he wanted the chosen method to create a visible sign that wellness was in play, and a means to camaraderie and positive cultural change.

All signs pointed to physical activity. 

Why? It comes down to a few key things:

A wearable activity device on the wrist of each participant serves as an outward sign of an active wellness program. Employees are mindful of how often they move around the office throughout the day, and more inclined to grab a coworker for a mid-day walk.

A metric as simple as steps offers everyone a reachable daily goal, a sense of accomplishment, and a cultural shift to encouragement and even friendly competition.

Daily activity with wearables also makes it possible to be built into employee's routine around the clock, in the workplace AND at home, wherever and however they get active.

Lastly, focusing on physical activity provides powerful health benefits for the participants. An increase in energy, motivation, engagement, and a decrease in pain, stress, anxiety, along with strengthened muscles & bones are just some of the many perks of incorporating physical activity into a daily routine.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to run a successful activity wellness program? 

You can download the full interview & listen anytime here >

Motion Connected Awarded Q4 Top Vendor for Corporate Walking & Fitness Challenges on Shortlister

Shortlister is the #1 marketplace for employers and consultants to find and select providers in the Human Capital, Well-being and Benefits space.

We are proud to have been selected by Shortlister as one of the Top Vendors in the categories of corporate fitness & walking challenges.

The three criteria evaluated were Company Size and Stability, Business Performance and Market Presence/Buzz Factor.

Shortlister’s newest portal also allows us to capture current feedback & reviews.

Our partner’s rate us as a 4.7 rating out of 5. 

Here are some of their comments:

“Motion Connected helped us develop a program to meet our wellness goals while also supporting our culture. From our first meeting I felt that Motion Connected had our backs. They are a fantastic partner.” – Amanda

“Motion Connected has created an access point for my clients that didn't exist before for digital wellness solutions. A combination of data-driven program options and simplicity set there services apart.” – Kathy

“Motion Connected delivers a product with a specific goal in mind. Very few wellness/wellbeing vendors have as well-defined business strategy as they do.” – Ryan

“After implementing the platform, our wellness program went from 400 participants to over 2000. Motion Connected makes it easy to manage all of these people from a central location.” - Krista

Please keep in mind that all of these came from brokers or their clients in the small to mid-market. We’re excited to continue to offer affordable solutions & true customer care to our clients.

If you’re interested in working with us on your wellness strategy, please schedule a time using our online calendar here, or visit www.motionconnected.com to learn more about our approach to engaging wellness.

Getting the Most from Your Wellness Program

Authored by: Sarah Troup

Limited results, low engagement and recent media articles can tend to leave you wondering, can wellness programs really ever be successful?

Understandably, as the Director of Wellness Strategy for a national wellness company, my answer is going to be "Yes!" But it comes down to more than just blind faith in wellness, and rather, what experience over the last 10 years has shown us.

When designed properly, we have seen workplace wellness plans boast high engagement, positive health outcome changes, and in some cases, significantly reduce overall lifestyle claims.

One great example of this is the 4-year partnership between us (Motion Connected), Garmin, and the Cleveland Clinic Healthy Choice Program.

One key piece of their comprehensive wellness program design for an employee and spouse population of over 60,000, emphasizes improving physical activity levels using wearable activity trackers.

Since launching the program, some of their powerful results include:
  • Successfully flatlining their annual medical and pharmacy costs year after year
  • In 2018, 68% of their employees and spouse population eligible for the premium incentive actively participated in the program. 
    • Of those, greater than 80% met the medical director’s threshold for meaningful physical activity levels. 
  • Better yet, the participants had great things to say, “I track my steps daily. What’s given me the positive feedback is my own body. I sleep better at night, I’m not as tired towards the end of the day, and I dropped about 35 pounds.”

Are you interested in beating the status quo, and creating this positive narrative in your own, or your clients’ wellness program?

Then download this webinar to listen to Brian Green from Garmin Health and me, Sarah Troup. During this 45 minute conversation we’ll explore more examples of evaluating wellness program results, plus:
  • Is there a cost to doing nothing?
  • What's wrong with the current wellness model 
  • Must-have trends/employer efforts for success 
  • Evidence for high-impact programs w/ data from wearables 
  • Going beyond just step


Hope to see you there!

Sarah Troup
Director of Wellness Strategy
Motion Connected

Is 6,000 Steps the New Daily Standard for a Healthy Population?

There is no doubt that more active employees are happier and healthier employees.

For many years 10,000 steps per day has been viewed as the daily benchmark for physical activity. In comparison however, the CDC Guidelines promote 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

This equates to about 20-25 minutes daily – or around 3,000 walking steps for the average person.

That’s a 7,000 daily step swing! So what gives? How much physical activity is “enough” to have an impact on the goal for most employers – population health risk reduction?

Let’s take a closer look at the two book-end standards and also examine some real wellness program data and outcomes.

First, let’s take 10,000 steps per day. 

This benchmark was established when pendulum/mechanical pedometers were the leading technology – these devices were notorious for over estimating. Many folks promoting this standard were also overachievers (the “already active”) so 10,000 steps was often a stretch goal or badge of honor. Finally, 10,000 is a wonderful “round number” – easy to promote and remember.

So what about the CDC guidelines? These actually promote “conscious” activity or exercise sessions – meaning that this doesn’t include steps taken as part of a daily routine – walking around your house or at work or walking to/from your car. 

Including this “regular” movement would increase the number of steps recorded by an activity tracker or smartphone beyond the `3,000 step guideline per day. 

The other note about the CDC Guideline is that it is a minimum level, so activity levels above this can equate to more individual and aggregate benefits.

Our experience with 10+ years of program management and observation is that 10,000 steps is often viewed as an “impossible goal” by the majority of employees. 

Let’s say an employee uses a wearable device to establish their baseline level is 2,500 steps/day – 10,000 steps now feels like a Mount Everest sized goal and can actually be demotivating! So, what does make sense as an achievable goal that will impact aggregate health risk?

There are a number of studies or programs that can help us point the way to an answer:

  1. A few years ago UHC commissioned a study that showed an inflection point in healthcare claims costs between 4,000 and 5,000 steps per day. For instance, those who walked greater than 4,000 steps cut their claims cost by over 50% compared with those who walked less than 2,000. 

  2. Our long-time partner, Cleveland Clinic’s Healthy Choice program, has had tremendous success in terms of lowering aggregate health care risk and costs for it’s 60,000 employees and spouses.

    A significant piece of the program focuses on keeping the healthy healthy. For those members who do not have any of the six modifiable conditions the program is built around, the clinic incentivizes one behavior – be active. The medical management team at the clinic have established the monthly goal at 150,000 steps per month – or 5,000 steps per day. 

  3. Analysis that we have conducted with another one of our partners shows that 6,000 steps is a significant threshold in a number of ways

      1. In the initial year of the program for employees with a starting BMI of greater than 25, those with over 6,000 steps per day averaged a 6.4 lbs weight loss. The remaining employees with less than 6,000 steps averaged a slight weight increase (<1lb). 

      2. During the next two years of the program we noted that increasing daily steps from less than to more than 6,000 showed a high likelihood of losing weight.

        While all employees who tracked in the opposite direction (from greater than to less than 6,000 steps per day) gained weight with an average of +10 lbs. 
      1. Finally, this year we looked at activity levels in relation to health risk. 6,000 steps per day maps to low risk aggregate biometric outcomes – passing 3 or 4 of body max index, blood pressure, cholesterol, & blood sugar. 

    So circling back to where we started, there is no doubt that more active employees are healthier employees. 
In terms of guiding a population however, 10,000 steps per day feels like it should be the top end of a healthy range that starts around 5,000 steps per day. 

Our partner’s data analysis narrows in on 6,000 steps per day as a meaningful population health target level. We have found that engaging employees in this level of activity yields results in terms of aggregate health risk reduction.