Pardon me while I jump on my wellness soapbox. Our agency just celebrated 10 years of working with the Wichita YMCA’s corporate wellness team, and it’s making a difference. Our pocketbooks certainly feel more fit. Our health insurance premiums just went down 15%, which is almost unheard of. That makes us want to kick up our heels.

Muscle Pump with YMCAThe YMCA’s twice a week muscle pump keeps us fit – and happy.
It’s Been Easy and FunTrainers come to our office at noon twice a week and lead us through muscle-building, heart-strengthening, stress-relieving exercises. And once a year, the Y’s wellness pros conduct comprehensive, individual onsite wellness assessments with anyone on our teams who opts in. They say measure what matters. And what matters more than your health? Participation in our recent assessment came in at 65%, above the YMCA’s 60% corporate-wellness program average. An online portal lets team members compare their year-over-year changes and serves as a trusted resource for information and recommendations to reduce specific health risks

Our team members appreciate the lower insurance premiums, and I have to think they feel good about seeing overall improvements in their health. Collectively, we ranked 78 out of a possible 100 points, which gets us a doing-well designation. Two more points and we’d be in the excellent category. You now know one of my goals for next year.

Why Do I Care So Much About Wellness?

I haven’t always. People who know me might be surprised that early in my career I worked all hours and consumed whatever was at hand – usually pop, chips, candy bars or something equally packed with sugar, caffeine and empty calories.

I wised up. And I liked how I felt once I started taking better care of myself. As a business owner for 28 years, I’ve seen how careers and lives can be wrecked by chronic illness, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and more.

You Can’t Fly Without a Flight PlanThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent publication “Winning with Wellness” reports that 80% of people aren’t ready to change their health behaviors. Yet it also reports that 96% of Medicare expenditures go toward chronic conditions associated with lifestyle choices. It identifies five behaviors to combat chronic disease and notes that following all five leads to an average reduction in health-care spending of 33-50%. Think what you could do what that added energy and moolah.

  • Eat healthy.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Walk 30 minutes a day.
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Keep waist less than half your height.

So why are people resistant to change that can so clearly be beneficial? In this information-packed age, it can’t just be a lack of knowledge. We like our routines, our habits. Exerting control and discipline, well, that’s tough. But it goes beyond that. Especially in a creative agency full of rebel types, no one wants to be told what to do. Support, yes. Groupthink, no.

Wellness Chart
When it comes to solutions, one size does not fit all. In addition to our noontime aerobics, we offer Wednesday-evening yoga classes and we have an exercise area with an elliptical machine, balance balls, small trampoline, small weights, even hula hoops.
Lori Heinz - Muscle Pump in the Park

Our nearby pocket park provides an excellent green space for lunchtime workouts when weather permits (which is often).
Creating a Culture of WellnessWe’ve offered monthly challenges to mix things up, even winning the YMCA’s Eight a Day Water Challenge some years back. It’s time to renew our efforts. To help our agency rise to that coveted excellent ranking, we’re launching some fun new initiatives. Maybe they’re something you’d like to try.

  • Meditation Mondays 10-minute afternoon mindfulness break
  • Tryday Fridays twice a month showcasing different healthy foods and activities

And we’re making subtle little changes, too. Some less-than-healthy treats have snuck into our Snack Attack bar. We’re resolving to do better by stocking its shelves with snacks high on yum and low on junk. We have a pocket park nearby and whenever possible, we’re encouraging team members to take their meetings outside and on the go. I think better when I’m moving and bet you do, too. Walk and talk, baby. And breathe deep. It feels good.