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IA Wellness Initiative

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The idea that physical activity is important to health is not new. Ancient physicians and scholars believed it and Hippocrates wrote about it.  Regular physical activity comes with a wide range of benefits: weight loss, stronger muscles, healthy bones, and increased mood.  There is also a reduced risk of many diseases such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and colon and breast cancer [1].  But did you know that physical activity can also improve your productivity?  Regular physical activity has been shown to make you happier, smarter, and more energetic which are all important characteristics to have in the workplace [2].  It not only keeps you mentally smart but it gives you more energy throughout the day – allowing for higher productivity.

Along with the many physical and mental benefits of increased activity are the economic benefits. Physical activity reduces health care costs as well as reduces short-term sick leave [3].  Those employers who are more physically active have fewer sick days and lower doctor bills.  The physical and economic benefits of physical activity are just two of the reasons why Insurance Associates decided to start the IA Fitbit Challenge last July.

There are over 45 employees competing against themselves each month for credits to be used towards various prizes.  The more steps you take the more credits you get.  Distance and active minutes are also calculated into your total credits.  If you collect 50 credits, you can cash those credits in at the beginning of the month for a $15 gift card to a restaurant of your choice.  Collect 300 credits and you could spend part of your Saturday getting a massage or hitting the greens – both valued at $150.  There are several other incentives for staying active including an entry into a drawing for a trip.  Insurance Associates is participating in a Fitbit Challenge not only to benefit each employee’s health but also to benefit the company as a whole.  In a world where obesity has become the norm and chronic disease run rampant, take the first steps with us to become a healthier you.  Go on…take that first step.  We will be right here to support you!

Information about the Author:  Megan Kimmel graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BS in Family Science before starting at Insurance Associates as an Office Specialist.  In her free time, Megan volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

[1] Physical Activity and Health; http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

[2] Exercise Increases Productivity; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-pozen/exercise-productivity_b_2005463.html

[3] Effectiveness and Economic Impact of Worksite Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Diet; http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/Proper_K.pdf

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