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Blog Authored by:  Jeanne Hines, SPHR

Traditionally, wellness programs focused on physical well-being, that is, what we eat, how much we exercise, and our lifestyle choices. 

Having a healthy diet is one way to reduce your chances of disease and weight gain.  The “My Plate” approach, as featured in the graphic above, shows us the components of a healthy meal.  In addition to what you eat, portion control is key to controlling your weight.  There is renewed emphasis on whole grain products, fruits and vegetables.  To learn more, see www.choosemyplate.gov.  You’ll find information about healthy eating, physical activity, weight management and ways to track your progress.

Exercise is the long-time companion to eating healthy.  Most experts recommend 20 minutes of exercise daily.  The benefits of physical activity last long after the exercise has stopped.  Benefits include a higher energy level, an increased metabolic level, and reduced mental fatigue.

Sleep helps us stay well and helps us retain information by giving our brains time to process the day’s activities. It is recommended that we sleep 7-8 hours per night.  More or less than that can have negative consequences, including fatigue, weight gain and a stressed immune system.

There is a growing trend among companies to encourage employees to have annual physicals, get familiar with some of their health markers such as blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol, and glucose levels and take personal responsibility for improvements.  Companies are beginning to offer health insurance incentives to those who make improvements in test outcomes and lifestyle improvements, such as increasing the amount of daily exercise, managing weight, and improving test results.

My next blog will address community well-being, the last of the five areas in the holistic model which also includes career, financial, and social well-being. 


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