Thursday, May 4, 2017

High Blood Pressure Awareness: Physical Activity Improves Your Blood Pressure Level!

Physical Activity Improves Your 
Blood Pressure Level

Daily physical activity is beneficial to your overall health. Thirty to forty minutes of physical activity a day can reduce your blood pressure, which means your risk of heart attack and stroke will also decrease. Daily physical activity does not have to be intense gym workouts. Activity can include stretching, muscle strengthening, and cardio.  Find an activity you enjoy such as taking a brisk walk or joining a fitness class, and you will start seeing improvements in your health.

The American Heart Association provides tips to help you become heart healthy by adding physical activity into your day:

Don’t be afraid to be active!
Start out slow and keep working towards improvement.

Find something you enjoy!
Whether it is your favorite sport or a
scenic walk, enjoy  your daily activity.

Mix it up!
Variety helps you stay interested and motivated!

Make it social!
Walk with a neighbor or join a fitness                      
class with your friends.  This will keep
you accountable and motivated.
Reward yourself.
Set aside a small amount of money for each time you exercise.  At the end of the month, use the money to reward yourself with some new workout gear!

Allie Raich
Health Information Management, 2017

To learn more, click on the link!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Employee WellU Newsletter for April/May 2017

April / May 2017
A Personal Story of Health & Wellness...
Preventive Care is so Important!

By Karla  Mees, MS, RN  
My story started on November 28, 2014, the day after Thanksgiving. Why does that date stick out to me? It was the date of my annual physical and mammogram. Since I had never had any problems before, I was tempted to skip the mammogram. However, after a still small voice told me I needed to have the mammogram, I heeded my instincts and had it done. I sometimes refer to that as the "fatal mammogram" because that is exactly how I felt. Within the course of 2 weeks, I had further mammography, ultrasounds and biopsies done. On Dec. 12, 2014, I was told that I had breast cancer and underwent surgery on Dec. 18, 2014.
From there, I received more mammography, ultrasounds, MRIs and biopsies. From that point forward, I underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I experienced many side effects and was referred to Palliative Care at Mayo. During that period, I began to practice self-actualization, visualization, and acupuncture. These treatments helped me to tolerate the side effects of chemo and radiation, and to have a better self-image, both of which were huge counterparts of my becoming healthy once again. 
Before that time, I had walked my dog every day, rode my bike, snow shoed, etc. During my treatment phase, I attempted to remain active-sometimes all I could do was wiggle my feet or lift my legs while in the recliner at home. Some days, I tried to walk my dog to the end of the driveway. About 4 months after my treatments were completed, I was given the opportunity to join a program at the Y for cancer survivors and their supporter called "Livestrong". The program lasted 12 weeks and we met twice a week. Each time, we were asked to share something like what good thing had happened in the last few days, what our favorite color was, etc. which was part of getting us to focus on something other than our disease. We also had to go into the fitness room and were taught how to use many of the machines. We were monitored closely during our exercise sessions and a before and after assessment was done. When I entered this program, I was not able to climb a flight of steps or climb the slight hill at home to get my mail without stopping frequently to catch my breath. I can now climb a flight of steps, get my mail, walk my dog, and complete an hour-long exercise routine without difficulty. 
During and after that time I learned many things through self-reflection. One was that I have many good friends without whom I would not have gotten through this experience. Other things I learned had more to do with my personal nature. Humility, vulnerability, and vanity were part of my learning curve. Also, becoming aware of what is really important and what is not helped me to focus on the good things which I believe helped in the healing process.
What is my message to you regarding my story? GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM! It may save your life as it did for me. Also, EXERCISE. Exercise releases endorphins, which help one to feel better psychologically. It also helps with bone strengthening, flexibility, balance issues, cholesterol issues, hypertension, etc. You also can develop new friendships through the people you meet while exercising, which I have done.
Since there is no family history of breast cancer, I thought I was immune to it, but I guess not............I will never say that I am glad that I had cancer. However, I will say that I am thankful every day that I had the experience, as I am a better person for having gone through it.
Thank you!
Spirituality and Health...
By: Mission Integration Committee

Spirituality can take many forms. It can be seen as your commitment and practice of a faith, your connection with others, or even your relationship with our living planet. It includes how we make sense of our lives' circumstances. It helps us to frame our ideas and interpret the actions of others. It strengthens our convictions. Spirituality allows us to open ourselves for new and challenging experiences; to grow as members of the human community.
However we define spirituality, it's important to recognize its impact on our over-all wellbeing. We know through experience that balance among mind, spirit, and body is important to live a whole and healthy life. The Rule of St. Benedict implores us all to live in moderation. Eating, sleeping, working, reading, praying, relating to others, using social media, and exercising; each has an important role in our lives. It's essential we prevent any one element from becoming more important than the others if we wish to live a healthy life. Sister Joan Chittister shares in Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, "All must be given its due, but only its due. There should be something of everything and not too much of anything." Is it challenging? Of course! We have fluctuating needs. With each assignment, call to action, or request for help, we are drawn from one of life's imperatives to another. Some are important on Monday, only to be replaced by another as we transition into Tuesday. The act of taking a breath, and thinking before we act allows us some of that balance. We need to think before acting to ensure our actions are measured, inclusive and representative of a balanced life.
Binging, in any form is unhealthy.  An endless number of exciting and stimulating opportunities are continuously drawing our attention. All of these experiences steal from us the important act of being present in the moments we are offered. The chocolate cake calls our name. The new episodes of our favorite TV show are released on Netflix, and we watch a season's worth in a day. We check our social media for updates, and then look up from our devices to discover two hours have vanished. Do you recognize the lack of balance there? Binging is focusing solely on one activity while excluding the rational thinking process that tells us it's unhealthy. Being intentional in each moment provides us the lasting and important aspects of friendship, caring, love, and rest. Intentionally working to balance mind, body and spirit allows us those valuable moments that provide depth in relationship with ourselves and one another. To heal, help, and love others requires balance in ourselves.
Pontificating really doesn't help, so here are some practical ideas you might employ to help find balance in each day:
  • Schedule time daily for reflection, meditation, and/or prayer...if it's a new activity, grow into it
  • Create a weekly menu to ensure a nutritious and balanced diet, avoid the rushed fast-food that we know are not good for us
  • Work when you are working, and don't when you're not; set times and limitations on your homework, accessibility, and the frequency you check your work communications
  • Set limitations on your use of social media, most devices have a timer you can set and utilize; it's ok to be disconnected for a period of time each day
  • Make time for exercise, inside or outside, get your heart pounding
  • Date yourself, your friends, your loved ones; set up a date once a week or month to spend with those who are important to you
  • Serve others, make it part of who you are
"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Want to improve stress levels, attention span, cognitive skills, and memory? WellU is partnering with the popular online program to help employees "Thrive, Lead, and Move" to improve all aspects of their lives.

Empower Yourself:           
Free Training Sessions!
(groups of 2-4 are welcome)
Choose one option or do them all!
1) BWC Orientation (weight machines)
2) Exercise RX & Motivational Coaching
3) Fitness Assessments
(Trainer: Mary Johnson, Exercise Physiology Intern)
WellU's Stronger Today class (AKA Strength Training 101) meets twice a week to help you feel happier, healthier, and stronger. This fun workout will help you live a happier and healthier life.
Days: Tuesday and Thursdays
Times: 12:00 (40 minutes) at BWC studio

Feeling stressed or tired? Need a break but have no time to hit the gym? WellU has you covered! Stop in for simple stretching and relaxation exercises at Stress Recess.

Days: Monday and Wednesdays
Time: 1:00 pm (10 minutes stretching and 10 minutes meditation)

Fond of Free Lunch?
 Lunch & Learn has replaced Cookies & Conversation!
 When: Monday April 10th  & Wed.  May 3rd
 April Topic: Motivation to Move 
 May Topic: Improve Your Sleep
 Time: 12:00 p.m.
 Place: Tower Hall  Conference rm #1115
 Email invitation to arrive in your inbox soon! 

Low Impact Workout for Beginners - 40 Minute Total Body Beginner Workout by Fitness Blenders
Low Impact Workout for Beginners - 40 Minute Total Body Beginner Workout by Fitness Blenders
Questions? Email

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stress Prevention: How to Meditate in 3 Easy Steps


How to Meditate in 3 Easy Steps

There are many stages that are important when learning to meditate. What we are going to focus on today is called breathing meditation.The goal of breathing meditation is to sooth the mind and create a level of inner tranquility. Practicing the correct breathing methods is a very crucial part when meditating. Here is how to breathe correctly when meditating in these 3 simple and easy steps:

Step 1.) The first step in meditation is to make sure there are no distractions in the area that you wish to meditate in. When choosing a location, it is important to choose a peaceful place, where you feel the most comfortable andthe most at ease in. A good example of where to meditate would be by a lake, when the weather is nice and no one is around. Pick a place where you are easily able to clear your mind.

Step 2.) The second step when practicing breathing meditation is to find a comfortable position to sit in. The most commonly known position that people choose to sit in when practicing their breathing is the conventional cross-legged position. If you feel more comfortable sitting in a chair or on a couch, that is also acceptable. The most important thing about the position that you are in when practicing your breathing meditations is that you are comfortable, and are not in a position where you feel tired or able to fall asleep. 

Step 3.) The third step when practicing breathing meditation is to sit with your eyes partially closed, and shift your attention to your breathing techniques. Be aware of your breathing without focusing on trying to manage your breathing. It is important that you remain breathing normally. Your goal is to become mindful of your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. The act of your breath entering and leaving your nostrils is the core purpose of the breathing meditation process. The goal is to shift your focus to awareness of your breathing, while leaving everything else, all of your worries, and all of the stress that is currently taking place in your mind, behind.

I hope this article provided some good insight on breathing meditation, how it is beneficial, along with some good practicing ideas. If you have any comments of suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! We would love to your feedback. Thank you!

Samantha Frascone

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Healthy Fats VS Unhealthy Fats: The Unknown Truth

Healthy Fats VS Unhealthy Fats: The Unknown Truth

A very common misconception is that if a food product has a high amount of fat in the label, it means that it is bad for you, and it will in turn, make you fat. This belief however, is moderately false. Fats CAN be good for you. It’s all about what type of fats you are consuming.

There are four types of fats that are most commonly known and they are:
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Monounsaturated fats (Omega 3)
  • Trans Fats
  • Saturated Fats
The first two fats that are listed (Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated) are the fats that are the most beneficial to your health. Some examples of Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats include: avocados, nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, soymilk, and tofu. Some of the benefits you will receive from eating these fats are:
  • Feeling more full after each meal
  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Help battle fatigue
  • Protection against memory loss and dementia
Bad Fats: These are the fats that are most commonly known as “fatty foods.” These fats include trans fats and saturated fats. Some examples of trans fats include: fried foods, candy bars, and other packaged goods like cookies and crackers. Althoughsaturated fats aren’t always bad for you, limited consumption is best for your health. Some examples of foods with a high concentration of saturated fats would be beef, butter, cheese, and whole-fat dairy products.  Some of the risks you may be taking when consuming trans fat, or an excessive amount of saturated fats are:
  • An increase in the risk of heart disease
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Increase in appetite from eating and then not feeling full
  • Potential clogging of the arteries
  • Higher risk of getting Diabetes
Sam Frascone

Thursday, February 9, 2017

7 Simple Tips to a Healthy Heart


7 Simple Tips to a Healthy Heart

There are seven simple ways to help control your risk for heart disease. Manage your heart risk by understanding “Life’s Simple 7.”

Get Active
Start by learning the basics. Also, children need 60 minutes a day of physical activity, so find ways to workout with your kids to help ensure heart health in addition to your own.
Control Cholesterol  

Eat better  
Want more ways to eat better? Try these tips:
  • Track what you eat in an electronic or food diary
  • Eat vegetables and fruits
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Cut back on added sugars and saturated fats
  • Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods
  • Reduce sodium

Manage blood pressure
To manage blood pressure, you should:
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Get regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress, limit alcohol and avoid tobacco

Lose weight
Calculate your body mass index to help you determine if you need to lose weight

Reduce blood sugar
The following tips can help reduce blood sugar:

  • Reduce consumption of simple sugars
  • Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed to you
  • Get regular exercise

Stop smoking
Cigarettes smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it!

Mary Lehet

Life's Simple 7 | Go Red For Women®. (2014). Retrieved April 18, 2016

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Health Assessments: What assessments should I get?


Health Assessments:
What assessments should I get?

Have you taken the preventive care approach? Preventive care includes screenings, check-ups, and patient counseling to prevent health problems and detect future health risk. You can stay on top of things by getting a yearly physical exam with preventive health screenings. A few preventive screenings for adults may include: cholesterol, vaccination updates, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.

What are the WellU CV Clinic assessments?

The Wellu Cv Clinic assesses cardiovascular health and risk factors. This clinic is located downstairs at the student health service office. You can schedule an appointment at online at the CSS website (

At what age do you begin breast cancer & colon cancer screenings?

Breast Cancer:
  • Women should have a mammogram every one to two years starting at age 40, and every year starting at age 50.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is recommended to start the screening earlier.
  • You will receive your results a few weeks after the screening. If you have any concerns or questions about this screening contact your health professional

Colon Cancer:
  • Colon Cancer screenings should begin at age 50 and should continue until 75 years of age.
  • If you are at high risk of colon cancer, you may start colon cancer screening much earlier
  • Colonoscopy should be every 10 years unless you are high risk, then you should have it more frequently
  • Screening may be be covered by health insurance.

Clay Redd

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines. (2014). Retrieved April 08, 2016

For Older Adults Retrieved April 08, 2016

Prevention Care. (2015). Retrieved April 08, 2016

Screening Guidelines. Retrieved April 08, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Lunch & Learn

Lunch & Learn...
Are you fond of free lunch?
(Cookies & Conversation is Lunch & Learn for March) 

Enjoy free lunch with a short topic presentation and time to chat about it with your colleagues...
 March Topic: Strength Training Made Easy
Where: Mitchell Kitchenette
When: Wednesday, March 8th at 12:00 pm
(choose a sandwich)
  • Smoked Turkey and Swiss (490 cal each)
  • Ham and Swiss (430 cal each)
  • Garden Vegetable and Cheese (570 cal each)
  • Individual Bag of Chips (150-160 cal each)
  • Whole Fruit (80-110 cal each)
  • Cookie (170-200 cal each)
  • Water
RSVP for lunch with your menu choice via email:
RSVP Soon!
Space is limited to 20 people