Are You Washing Your Water Bottle?

waterbottleWater may be the beverage of choice for health and wellness lovers, but using your reusable water bottle multiple days in a row without washing it and allowing it to dry completely can lead to bacterial growth and sickness. Infectious disease specialists recommend that, at a minimum, pouring water out of your reusable bottle at the end of each day will eliminate some germs. Getting rid of the bulk of bacteria and decreasing the likelihood of a stomach bug requires scrubbing the entire bottle, including the lid and straw and letting it air dry completely after each use. A bottle brush is good for tall bottles with thin necks and dish soap or a bleach-based cleanser labeled safe for drinkware is best.

Winning Against Pollen

pollenIt’s spring and with it comes the sneezing, itchy eyes and congestion that allergies can cause. Here are a few tips that can help you keep pollen from winning in and around your home.

Wash Away the Pollen – If you’ve been outside doing yard work, walking or doing most anything, take a shower as soon as possible when you come in for the day. If that timing doesn’t work for you, make sure you wash your hands immediately.

Remove Your Shoes – It might sound silly, but your shoes will carry all kinds of irritants from your trees, grass, weeds and dirt right into your home. Take them off as soon as you enter your house.

Close Your Windows and Doors – We all love to air out the house after a long winter but keeping windows and doors open is just the invitation pollen is waiting for. If you can’t resist fresh air, be especially careful from early to midmorning, at dusk and, of course, when it’s windy.

Don’t Hang Laundry Outdoors – You can bet that pollen will stick to sheets, pillow cases and towels, so it’s important that you wash your bedding every week and avoid outdoor drying.

Use HEPA Filters – High efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) help trap allergens and other irritants before they flow throughout your home’s interior. While some can be effective for up to 2 years, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology recommends changing HEPA filters every 6 months.

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How Can Your Health Plan Be More Personal?

health-planInvestment bank Morgan Stanley recently hired a Chief Medical Officer. General Motors made the Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System the only in-network option for 24,000 salaried employees in southeast Michigan. And, Apple joined many other large employers in using on-site clinics to provide more personalized care. These tactics are being used to address a combination of risk factors contributing to costly chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Filling Voids in Wellness Programs
We all know how hard it is to change lifestyle habits. While traditional wellness programs can offer great tools and improved access, more and more employers are realizing that to boost engagement and keep it from fading over time, you must tailor a program to the needs of each individual.

This level of involvement, sometimes referred to as condition management, includes more personal involvement and communication. Providing guidance and support on nutrition, exercise, stress management and other concerns can help at-risk employees overcome the challenges that have kept them from enjoying their best life.

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Apple Watch & Joint Replacement

phone-appTechnology giant Apple reported recently that thousands of hip and knee replacement patients are using Apple Watches and a new health app, MyMobility from Zimmer Biomet, to share health data with their surgeons during treatment and recovery. The app is being used to provide physicians with data about the patient’s heart rate, number of steps taken and time spent standing continuously, rather than having to rely on traditional in-person visits.

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Tracking Sleep

wellnessIn order to address a sleep shortage that is hurting productivity for U.S. businesses, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has introduced an online wellness program to help employees track the quantity and quality of their sleep. Employees log their time online or upload data from a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit. With the CDC linking sleep to chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression, researchers hope to help employees set a goal and improve the quality of their sleep.

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Employers Investing More in Benefits

wellness-programHealth and wellness are integral to employee performance, which helps explain why employers are investing more in their employee benefit offerings.

In June of 2018, the average cost of benefits rose by 2.9%, while wage costs rose by 2.7%, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also on the rise is paid leave, which has seen a 4% cost per employee increase since 2017. This includes paid parental leave, which allows time off for a birth, adoption or foster placement of a new child.

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How to Withstand a Road Trip

Plenty of people are more than familiar with long driving commutes to work. But, what they may not realize are the negative effects that excessive sitting can have on their bodies. Any expert will tell you how important movement is to one’s cardiovascular health. So, when long driving commutes and desk jobs are combined, the risk of cardiovascular disease certainly increases.

When we sit, not only does the heart have to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen through our systems, but our hips also bend which shuts off the core and sends our bodies into a passive state relying on our structural system to hold us up. Over time, this can lead to spine compression and to your back going out.

So, how do you save your posture without having to find a new job? Experts suggest getting a standing or treadmill desk, if your employer allows. Otherwise, setting a reminder to get up and walk around every 30 minutes can help immensely. If you’re taking a driving vacation or sitting in the car for more than two hours, be sure to find a rest stop so you can walk around and stretch your legs or even do a quick set of kneeling lunges to loosen your muscles. It might also be wise to have an expert look at the seat of your car or your desk chair to make sure you’re doing everything you can to help your posture.