The Data Warrior

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Archive for the tag “Fitness”

Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection to Corporate America’s Bottom Line

Saw this great article on LinkedIn last week by Arianna Huffington and just had to repost it. Health and fitness are topics I am always interested in and have written about (here, here, and here). For us to be happy and productive we all need to be at our personal best. This article discusses some recent studies and why employers should pay attention to this as well.

On Tuesday Ill be guest-hosting CNBCs Squawk Box, a program that bills itself as the show that “brings Wall Street to Main Street.” As well as discussing Cyprus and a possible euro-crisis, we are going to discuss the growing trend in corporate America of taking steps — meditation, yoga, mindfulness training — to reduce stress and improve health and creativity.

One of my guests will be Mark Bertolini, CEO of the third-largest health insurer in the country with 30,000 employees insuring 17 million people. In 2010, Aetna partnered with Duke University’s School of Medicine and found that regular yoga substantially decreased stress levels and health care costs. Following this, Bertolini made yoga available to all Aetna employees nationwide and has a much bigger mission: to make sure there is research available to facilitate private as well as state and federal coverage of yoga and mind-body therapies.

Even a quick look at whats happening in the American workplace shows that its a seriously split-screen world. On the one hand, there’s the stressful world of quarterly earnings reports, beating growth expectations, hard-charging CEOs, and focusing on the bottom line — the world that is the usual focus of CNBC and Squawk Box. On the other hand, there’s the world populated by the growing awareness of the costs of stress, not just in the health and well-being of business leaders and employees, but on the bottom line as well.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that these two worlds are, in fact, very much aligned — or at least that they can, and should, be. And that when we treat them as separate, there is a heavy price to pay — both for individuals and companies. The former in terms of health and happiness, and the latter in terms of dollars and cents. So yes, I do want to talk about maximizing profits and beating expectations — by emphasizing the notion that what’s good for us as individuals is also good for corporate Americas bottom line. To do that, I’ll be featuring guests who have had great success at bringing these two worlds together and putting what at first might seem like abstract or esoteric concepts to very productive use in the workplace.

When we separate these two worlds, the costs come in two forms. First, there are the direct costs due to stress and its associated medical conditions, and, second, there’s the cost of lost creativity and diminished performance and productivity.

According to the World Health Organization, the cost of stress to American businesses is as high as $300 billion. And unless we change course, this will only get worse. Over the last 30 years, self-reported levels of stress have increased 18 percent for women and 25 percent for men.

Check out the rest of the article here: Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection to Corporate Americas Bottom Line | LinkedIn.

Take care,

Kent

Breaking a non-Fitness Habit

After writing about creating a new fitness habit yesterday, I had my own little ah-ha moment today about a bad habit I had formed..

For lunch today, I went downstairs to the building cafe and got a pretty healthy sandwich and some steamed broccoli (instead of fries) and headed outside to eat. There are a few shaded tables outside our building in a little garden-like area. Good place to sit and eat in relative peace. (I even kept my phone in my  pocket)

It was a nice day, only about 75 degrees . (That might seem warm for November, but for Houston that is bordering on cool.)

After eating, I realized I had about 30 minutes to spare before needing to get back to work. So I decided to take a little walk along The Woodlands Waterway, which is a few blocks from the office. Figured I could get in a quiet little stroll.

As I was walking, it occurred to me that, at least this time of year, I could probably do this most days.

Hmm…that could be a little fitness habit for me to start.

That was not the ah-ha moment though…

The ah-ha part was realizing that, in fact, I had walked at lunch everyday since I started this new contract.

Huh? How could that be?

Well since last week was my first week at a new location, with a new client, and new co-workers, I had actually gone out for lunch everyday (not something I normally do). Due to the location of the office, I had walked to get lunch every day since there are a bunch of restaurants and shops along and near The Waterway.

So, even before I wrote the post yesterday, or had read the post on Zen Habits, I had actually already started forming a new fitness habit.

Cool.

Getting more regular exercise was one of the reasons I took the new gig with the shorter commute.

Check! This is a good start.

However, there was also a more dramatic ah-ha in all this.

In starting this new habit, accidental as it was, I had actually broken a really BAD non-fitness inducing habit that many office professionals (you know who you are) do on a regular basis:

Eating lunch at your desk!

That really is not a healthy habit for a bunch of reasons (which I hope I do not have to explain to anyone).

Today I realized that I had fallen prey to that bad habit over the last 2+ years while I was working at my last assignment. I ate lunch at my desk, on average, up to 4 days a week (unless I went out to lunch with someone).

Four days a week eating at my desk, while reading blogs, writing blogs, or reading email!

Bad Data Warrior! 

Good way to become a Data Zombie.

Well that’s over! With my little awakening today, I plan to making it a habit to NOT eat at my desk and to get outside and walk 15-20 minutes at lunch at least 4 days a week.  If the weather is too hot, or raining, I will check out the fitness center in our building (free to use!). Worse case, there is a treadmill.

So, what is your story?

Do you eat lunch at your desk trying to be more productive?

Stop that now (you are not being more productive, really).

Get up, get outside. Even if you don’t go for a walk, at least eat somewhere other than your desk. Get away from that computer. Talk to some real people – in person. Or talk to yourself.

See the world outside your cube. It’s pretty nice out here.

Later.

Kent

P.S. Side benefit of my walk today was that I found a hidden Zen Garden and Koi Pond along the way. No idea how long it had been there, but I know where to go now for even more peace along the already pretty peaceful waterway. Might be able to proactice a little Tai Chi or Chi Gung there while I am at it.

My secret Zen garden

 

Do you have a Fitness Habit?

With my new assignment comes new opportunity.

One of those opportunities is the time to exercise a bit more (I just eliminated a rather long commute).

What to do and when to do it? How to arrange my new schedule efficiently to get in a work out , do my job, do my user group activities, write blog posts, attend school functions,  etc.

Several years ago I had a very regular exercise routine. Then things changed, as happens in life, and my routine had to change.

Now that things have changed again, the hardest part is getting started again. I got out of the regular habit.

Seems to be a common problem as evidenced by this recent post on Zen Habits:

In the last few months, I’ve spent a bit of time working with a group of fantastic fitness experts to create a fitness program that I think could change people’s lives.

But what I’ve found in doing research and working with beta testers is that the most important thing isn’t some secret ideal fitness plan … but forming the habit of fitness.

It’s the habit, not the plan, that makes all the difference in the world.

It’s fascinating, really. I’ve found that you can give beginners 10 different fitness plans — yoga, running, Crossfit, TurboFire, P90X, bootcamp workouts, MoveNat, etc. — and they can all fail. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how good the workout is, or how good the diet is … if people don’t actually follow the plan.

The problem isn’t that people don’t know what kinds of exercises to do … they generally do know what they should be doing. And really, no matter what people choose, it’ll generally be better than nothing.

via » Why the Fitness Habit is More Important Than the Plan :zenhabits.

So that’s where I am. I know what I should do…I just have to do it.

What about you – do you have a fitness habit?  How did you form yours? Please share your experiences (and suggestions) in the comments.

To your health.

Kent

 

Being Part of the Solution: This Tech Company Got it Right!

Last week I posted an infographic about how many Americans are working more that 40 hours weeks and ranted a bit about how crazy we all are and asked are you part of the problem or the solution.

Well here is a tech company, FullContact, in Denver, Colorado, that decided to be part of the solution.

Well, actually one of the founders (and CEO), Bart Lorang, had this wild idea:

The past few years I’ve had this totally insane idea that just wouldn’t go away. It kept gnawing at me.

Last week, I finally decided to do something about it.

At our all-hands we announced the idea: something I like to call Paid, Paid Vacation. You can view the presentation in its entirety here.

In essence, not only do we provide employees minimum 15 days paid vacation plus the standard Federal holidays, but WE ALSO PAY FOR VACATIONS!

Here’s how it works: once per year, we give each employee $7500 to go on vacation.

There are a few rules:

  1. You have to go on vacation, or you don’t get the money.
  2. You must disconnect.
  3. You can’t work while on vacation.

via Paid Vacation? Not Cool. You Know What’s Cool? Paid, PAID Vacation. – FullContact.

I for one applaud his idea and love his rules to make sure people actually do take the time off.

We all need time away to relax and refresh but way too many people just don’t do it.

I know people who put in for vacation, took the time “off” and then worked through most of it!

Crazy right?

Well Bart’s move surprised many people. He even got a spot on Good Morning America to talk about it.

And…they are hiring.

Let’s hope a few more companies take a cue from Bart and follow suit.

Cheers.

Kent

TGIF – Are you part of the problem or the solution?

Yes, it is Friday and like many, you may be really looking forward to the weekend.

Relaxing with family and friends.

Eating some good food. Drinking some adult beverages.<wink, wink>

Watching some TV or a movie.

Maybe a little exercise perhaps? (50 pushups out to do it)

Ahh…the good life.

Then comes Sunday evening.

The black cloud of doom forms. <insert ominous music here>

Why?

Tomorrow is Monday.

Monday = Back to WORK

Why do so many people (at least in the USA) dread going back to work on Monday? Well there are tons of reasons  for sure but one may be that we are feeling burned out or overworked.

Below is a great infographic from OnlineMBA.com that gives us real stats on what is happening in the work place in the US of A.

We should all be appalled at these numbers and what they say about us as nation. As I stated before, this is a hot button for me.

My question to you is:

Are you part of the problem?

If you are an employer or manager, do you explicitly or implicitly encourage (and condone) this behavior?

If you are an employee, do you allow yourself to be treated this way?

Read the numbers and ponder your role in all this.

If it is not you, great! You can help others by your example.

If it is you, well….

Stay tuned. I will be posting some followups on this in a few days.

Let the campaign to bring back the 40 hour work week begin!

Enjoy your weekend.

Kent
Bring Back the 40 Hour Work Week Infographic
Source: OnlineMBA.com

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