Monday, January 31, 2011

Training is Overrated

If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you know I am a major supporter of fitness and wellness activities. Our hospital has developed a very intensive wellness program as part of our self-funded health insurance program. Over the past three years we have truly bent the cost-curve of our health plan with an average increase of 2.5 percent or less annually. That compares very favorably to the national average of about 11 to 13 percent annually for hospital health plans. At its core, I believe our success has been our incentives for our employees to improve their health. Exercise, stress management, screenings, tobacco reduction, and diet management are but a few of the things that makes our plan a winning combination for not only reducing cost, but improving health. This, in turn, improves morale, productivity, and a greater sense of wellbeing.

As the leader of GRMC, I really believe I need to try my best to be a role model of these behaviors. The more I have engaged in the wellness program, the better I have felt and the healthier I am getting. So much so that I recently participated in a half-marathon.

(Pause for laughter...)

Why the pause? Because those of you who know me personally may know that I am not much of a runner. Although I was a cross country and long-distance track runner in my youth, my knees simply ache too much to run these days. My daily exercises consist of walking and using my elliptical machine. But a half-marathon?

My girlfriend Angie has participated in the PF Chang Rock and Roll Charity Marathon in Phoenix for the past two years and wanted to do it again this year. Since my parents winter in Phoenix, we decided to make it a long weekend and I signed up for the half-marathon. I have learned that a person really ought to train a little bit before taking on 13.1 miles!

I did survive - and bless her heart - Angie hung back with me as I mostly walked the course along with thousands of others who walked and jogged the trek from Phoenix to Tempe. In all, 30,000 people participated in the two events and it was really a lot of fun. I was glad to have participated and look forward to my next attempt, perhaps with a little more training and some Glucosamine and Chondroitin for my joints!

If you have set yourself a goal this year to become more active, I encourage you to visit with one of our wellness professionals at GRMC to help you develop a plan to reach your goals.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It’s About Wellness

Guest blogger, Cory Jackson, director, GRMC Wellness Services

We’re one full week into the New Year! How are you doing with your resolutions? It may have seemed easier to make a resolution around personal health last weekend when most of us were enjoying the holiday, seeing friends and family, watching football, and having fun. But as Monday morning rolls along and the first week after the holiday season is over, reality starts to do a number on our good intentions.

If your resolution has started to wane a little, don’t worry. You are not alone! GRMC offers a variety of fitness and wellness options for you. Check out our website to find what appeals to you.

Maybe you like to dance? Aerobic dance is one of the hottest fitness trends out there and we offer Cardio Party at Fly High Fitness Studio in downtown Grinnell. Check out the schedule of classes here.

Spinning is hugely popular and we have several classes that can work into your busy schedule. Spinning takes you on a virtual bike ride via a stationary spinning cycle.

Boot Camp, yoga, core fusion… there are many choices. Invite a friend to join you! Studies show that we can be more successful when we have a buddy. And, by coming regularly, you will meet new friends through your classes who will miss you when you don’t attend.

The Paul W. Ahrens Fitness Center at GRMC has treadmills, elliptical machines, treadclimbers, recumbent bikes, and a full complement of weight equipment for your use. The PWA Fitness Center is always staffed by a wellness specialist to answer your questions.

If you need a little more motivation, ask about our It Pays to Attend program. When you attend 60 times within a six-month time period, we will reward you with a certificate for a 60-minute massage. How’s that for motivation?

Of course, we all know that eating less and doing more sit ups will help us drop a few pounds and feel better physically. So, why is that so hard to do? We think stress plays a huge role. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever, but so is massage therapy. During these cold winter months, make it a point to get a massage regularly at Postels Community Health Park. Work out those stress-filled winter muscles with a warming hot stone massage. A full menu of wellness services can be found at our website.

We’d love to visit with you about your personal wellness, body, mind, and spirit. When we focus on our health, we are better able to meet the challenges of our everyday. Make your resolution about your overall wellness and it will help you in ways that go beyond diet and exercise to really enriching your life in all areas.