Wellness

Campus to Campus Challenge – Week Eight Results & Final Wrap Up

europemapwk8

During week eight, 22 employees participated in the Campus to Campus Walking Challenge, and as a group we logged 1,330,008 steps.  During week eight, we walked from Rome, Italy to Munich, Germany, and ended up at the Austrian border.  During week eight, Ronald Kottnitz, Jayne Kluge, Lynn Rotter and Barb Tomashek-Ditter had the highest number of steps.

austria

During the eight week challenge, 39 employees participated and we logged a total of 16,978,243 steps, which is about 8,489 miles!  It would be like walking back and forth across the continental U.S. about 2.25 times, or walking around the perimeter of Wisconsin over 6 times!  Great job team!  Team members include Jenny Charapata, Patti Cole, Julie Flenz, Sam Goeller, Erica Grunseth, Brent Haack, Lindsay Hahn, Jamel Heim, Tim Helein, Beth Jones, Jayne Kluge, Ronald Kottnitz, Jeff Krueger, Amy Mauk, Kim Mezger, Karla Miller, Donna Mleziva, Lynn Niemi, Anna Powers, Sarah Pratt, Monika Pynaker, Loretta Rafter, Lynn Rotter, Nate Rusch, Joan Schaller, Lisa Schmelzer, Jeffery Schulz, Stephanie Shepro, Jill Siegmund, Karen Smiley, Tina Tackmier, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Jolene Truckenbrod, Lea Truttmann, Erin Van Daalwyk, Tracy Van Erem, Kimberly Vlies, Amanda Wildenberg and Crystal Williams.  Jayne Kluge had the highest number of steps with over a million steps logged during the eight weeks!  She was followed closely by Ronald Kottnitz, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Jeff Krueger, Lindsay Hahn, Jamel Heim and Lynn Rotter. Although we’ve reached the finish line of this challenge, we hope that everyone enjoys the long-term benefits of exercising!  Keep going! :)

Business Finish Line

Wellness Webinar – Primary Prevention for a Healthy Back

healthyback

Low back pain is one of the most common complaints seen in physician offices today and will pose problems for at least four out of five adults at some point in their lives.  This condition represents the fifth most common reason for all doctors’ visits and will occur at least once in 85% of men and women before the age of 50.  This presentation provides an overview of ergonomic principles and healthy lifestyle choices such as; being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, to help individuals avoid experiencing back pain issues, relieve stress and discomfort caused by low back pain.

Learning Objectives:

  • Defining the Lower Back
  • Common Causes of Back Pain
  • Explore Signs and Symptoms of Bank Pain
  • Diagnosing the Treating Back Pain
  • Back Pain Self-Care and Ergonomics

When: Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Time: 12:00 to 12:45 p.m.

Location: CL 735

Please mark your calendar to join us!  No need to RSVP, and feel free to bring your lunch!

Campus to Campus Challenge – Week Seven Results

europemapwk7

During week seven, 24 employees participated in the Campus to Campus Walking Challenge, and as a group we logged 1,675,360 steps.  During week seven, we continued our trek across the french countryside to Paris, then to Zurich, Switzerland, and ended up in Rome, Italy!

Eiffelturm Parisrome

Did you know the best way to lose weight by walking is to take a longer, moderately paced walk (40 minutes at 60-65% maximum heart rate). Shorter, faster walks (20-25 minutes at 75-80% maximum heart rate) are best for conditioning the heart and lungs.

During week seven, Jayne Kluge, Ron Kottnitz, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Jamel Heim, and Jeff Krueger had the highest number of steps. Keep on exercising – your body will thank you! :)

Reminder: Health Plan Wellness Incentives Are Taxable

The State of Wisconsin extended a number of financial incentives to employees through the Well Wisconsin employee wellness program. If you are covered under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance program, you are eligible for a financial incentive to complete biometric testing and health risk assessment. Depending on your health plan, you may also be eligible for financial reimbursements for wellness related expenses such as gym memberships, fitness classes, the cost to participate in Community Support Agriculture (CSA) programs and rewards for participating in health or wellness programs or challenges. You can learn more information about the benefits available to you by accessing wellwisconsin.wi.gov.

Per guidance from the federal government and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), these benefits are classified as taxable fringe benefits. This means that any financial incentive you receive from the program is taxable income for state and federal tax purposes.

What this means for you:

  • Throughout 2016 financial incentives will be reported by your employer as a taxable wage and will be subject to applicable withholdings and taxes. You will see withholdings for all incentives issued in the current calendar year reflected on your December pay stub. This will include incentives issued to your eligible family members.
  • Withholding will include 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare and may include withholding for federal and state taxes, depending on the number of exemptions you claimed on your W-4.
  • Federal regulations requires the payroll center to receive financial data regarding incentives issued to employees and their covered family members. Your health information is protected by federal privacy regulations and is not shared with your employer.
  • These taxable fringe amounts will be processed with the code: XHW (Tax Fr – Health/Wellness) earnings code.

Even with the federal government’s tax regulations, eligible employees are able to receive substantial financial rewards for using the wellness incentives offered by the State of Wisconsin and participating health plans. Benefits available through the Well Wisconsin program are also available to any dependent over the age of 18 who is covered by your State of Wisconsin insurance plan.

Please contact Human Resources at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu or ext. 2390 if you have any questions.

Campus to Campus Challenge – Week Six Results

europemapwk6

During week six, 29 employees participated in the Campus to Campus Walking Challenge, and as a group we logged 1,893,719 steps!  Since we crossed the continental United States during weeks three through five, we thought we’d try backpacking across Europe next!  During week six, we walked from Lisbon, Portugal to Madrid, Spain, and are enjoying the french countryside as we make our way to Paris!

lisbonfrance1

 

The average steps per team member per day was 9,329.  Did you know the average steps per day for an American is 5,117, which is the least of any industrialized nation?  Australians take 9,695 steps per day on average, so a little more than our team members!

During week six, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Jayne Kluge, Lindsay Hahn, Jamel Heim and Ron Kottnitz had the highest number of steps. Great job team – hope you can find creative ways to stay active even though the weather has turned quite chilly!

Campus to Campus Challenge – Week Five Results

usmapwk5

During week five, 28 employees participated in the Campus to Campus Walking Challenge, and as a group we logged 2,042,512 steps!  During week five, we walked from Charleston, West Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to New York City to the beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine – right on the rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean!  So, it took us three weeks to walk from coast to coast!

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Can’t find a full 30 minutes to walk? Spread it out throughout your day- 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there will add up if you stick with it.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, breaking your workout into several shorter workouts throughout the day is just as effective as one longer workout session, while also making it easier to fit into your schedule.

The average steps per team member per day was 10,421. During week five, Jayne Kluge, Jeff Krueger, Barb Tomashek-Ditter, Jamel Heim and Lynn Rotter had the highest number of steps.  Two weeks to go – where should we walk to next?

Financial Fitness Challenge

financialfitness

The Financial Fitness Challenge (October 25 to December 31, 2016) is a free financial education and awareness program designed to help you take control of your financial future and improve your financial well-being. Offered to Wisconsin state and local government employees and their friends and families, it consists of a confidential and secure online survey to assess and benchmark financial aptitude, habits, and confidence.  After completing the survey you’ll receive a financial fitness score and, based on your results, recommendations for selecting among hundreds of online tools and tutorials (the Financial Fitness ACADEMY), and the option of using a financial advisor from Ameriprise Financial for up to 30 days at no cost. You learn at your own pace in as little as 10 minutes a day.

Step 1. Get centered: Take the free Financial Fitness CHECKUP. It’s a confidential, and secure online assessment of your financial well-being. Receive instant feedback – your personal financial fitness score.

Step 2. Sharpen focus: Enroll in free online Financial Fitness ACADEMY courses. They’re easy-to-follow tutorials designed to help you improve your financial well-being.

Step 3. Zoom in on a bright future: Access an exclusive offer for free financial coaching for 30 days.

Click here to get started, and for more information.

Skin Care in the Winter – Head to Toe

alligator

Our skin is constantly working to maintain our body temperature, whether this be done by the dilating and constricting of blood vessels or by the regulation of the skin’s moisture. This is arguably most evident during the winter months when many individuals experience incredibly dry skin.  Even though it seems as though we never see our skin or other’s skin in the winter, it is still vital that we take care of our body’s largest organ (even if it is under multiple layers of clothing).  What is the best way to care for our skin during the winter?  The answer is simple- cover up and moisturize your skin.  By doing so, dry, cracking skin is limited and the risk of infections are significantly decreased.  For those who are immuno-compromised or have comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus, skin care is a constant concern.  Below, you will find tips for winter skin care for various parts of the body with a particular focus paid to diabetes skin care.

Face

Use a moisturizer with sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. You are just as likely to get sunburn in the winter as you are in the summer.

Lips

Lips are exposed to the cold air just as much as the rest of the face. Use lip balm to keep the lips moist, however purchase products with only a few ingredients.  Avoid herbal ingredients as they may cause irritation and instead opt for petroleum, mineral oil, or shea butter-based products.

Hands/Fingers

Keep your hands covered as much as possible. Furthermore, moisturize as often as possible (both inside and outside) with the same simple ingredient products mentioned above.

Body

Refrain from itching dry skin which may be covered. This is especially important for individuals who are at an increased risk for infection as skin may be broken open.

Avoid extremely hot showers as these can further contribute to dry, itchy skin.

Feet/Toes

For those with diabetes mellitus, peripheral neuropathy can contribute to lack of sensation and feeling in the feet. This can become particularly troubling if there is dry, cracking skin, or open abrasions on the feet.  For this reason, particular attention should be paid to moisturizing and caring for feet in the winter months.

While it is important to keep the feet moisturized during the winter, it is wise to avoid moisturizing between the toes. Prolonged moisture between the toes can increase the incidence of fungal infections and lead to further complications.

Tip for home

Use a humidifier in your home to keep moisture in the air.

lotion

Work cited: Winter Skin Guide: Head-to-toe tips for cold-weather skin care by Allison Tsai [Diabetes Forecast Sept/Oct 2016]

Article by Ryan Zavodnik, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Ten Ways to Remain Active in Winter

brrr snowcars

As the colorful leaves begin to fall and the weather changes from crisp to flat out cold, countless individuals (dietitians included) stress over weight gain during the holiday season. This is not only due to the various family gatherings centered on food and drinks, but also due to the bitter cold and snow which often make exercise an afterthought.  Below, you will find 10 different ways to remain active in the winter. Regardless of what is logistically and financially realistic for you, there are a variety of simple ways to be active.  Do not only share the holiday cheer this winter; share this list and become more active with a friend or family member.  Having a partner who can hold you accountable and conversely you can hold accountable, is an invaluable asset in achieving your goals.

snowflake

  1. Walk around and track your steps with your partner at the local mall, grocery store, community center, or school. Slowly increasing your target step total is a tremendous way to stay driven and motivated.
  2. Borrow or buy exercise DVDs. If exercise DVDs seem too pricey, split the cost with your partner or ask for them as a gift.
  3. Take the stairs at work and make time for walking breaks. Oftentimes, simply getting away from your workspace and walking around for a few minutes helps immensely in regaining focus.
  4. Stay active while cleaning. It sure can be rewarding to work up a sweat and have a clean house.
  5. Join a local gym. If weight lifting or using machines is intimidating, consider getting involved in a fitness class such as cycling or yoga.
  6. Join a sports league with your friends or coworkers. Weekly indoor sports games are not only keeping you active, but also helping you relieve stress.
  7. Bundle and layer up for a scenic walk with your partner or the dog. Whether it be a stroll around the block or a trek through the woods, there is beauty to behold in the wintertime.
  8. Get outside and shovel after those big snowstorms. Being careful not to overexert yourself or strain your body, treat shoveling as an opportunity to get your heart rate up.
  9. Try something new. Depending on what is available near your home or what you can realistically afford, consider taking up ice skating, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
  10. Get outside and play with your kids, nieces or nephews, friends and family members, neighbors etc. Who doesn’t love building snowmen or forts, making snow angels, and having snow ball fights?

snowangels

Work cited: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/quick-tips-staying-active-in-cold-weather-get-started#1

Article by Ryan Zavodnik, UWGB Dietetic Intern

Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad

brusselkale

INGREDIENTS

For dressing:

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs dijon mustard

1 tsp shallot, finely minced

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

1/8 tsp kosher salt

Pinch black pepper

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

For salad:

2-3 c thinly sliced kale (approx 1/2 a bunch)

1 lb brussels sprouts, finely shredded using a mandolin or sharp knife

3-4 slices turkey bacon, baked and chopped

1/4 c roasted almonds, chopped*

1/2 c Pecorino cheese, finely grated

DIRECTIONS

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix. (Alternatively, I sometimes throw everything in a mini food processor and let it do the chopping.) Add in olive oil, whisking (or processing) until combined.

Mix sliced kale and shaved brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Throw in bacon, almonds, and cheese. Pour dressing over the top and toss salad until all ingredients are distributed throughout.

Recipe provided by Carese Walczyk, UWGB Dietetic Intern