Thursday, February 4, 2016

Overcome Your Barriers To Exercise!
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Quick Links to Articles:
Take the Barriers to Being Active Quiz Here.

Many of us desire to exercise regularly, but always find something to distract us from making exercise a habit. Here are the top reasons people do not exercise and some suggestions to help overcome these barriers to exercise...

  • Monitor daily schedule for 1 week
  • Identify available  time slots
  • Add activity to daily routine: Walk/bike to work, take the stairs, walk the dog, exercise while watching TV
  • Make Time: Try 10 minute bouts of exercise
  • Ask family & friends for support
  • Invite them to exercise with you
  • Develop new friendships with active people
  • Join a group: biking, hiking, running, walking, skiing etc.
  • Do something fun!
Read More Here
Schedule Your Snack & Learn Today!

The WellU staff will come to your department, or work group, with snacks, beverages, and a short 15-20 minute presentation on the theme of the month. You get a break, refreshments, and a chance to discuss the topic with others.

Time slots available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays all month from 
11:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
Contact Jennifer: 
Recipe Challenge!
February 1st - March 31st

Your latest challenge, should you choose to accept it, is a recipe challenge. Simply submit your easiest, yummiest, and healthiest recipe, or drop it off at the WellU office. We will post your recipe on the WellU blog. 

The top 4 recipes will be in a taste off competition. You can vote on each recipe via the "google recommend" button at the bottom of the WellU blog.

Everyone who submits a recipe will receive a free cookbook with all of the fabulous recipes. Everyone wins this Challenge!

We need lots of entries to make the cookbook more fun.
Pictures or videos of you cooking, or of the food item, are always welcome!

Questions? Please Contact Julie Zaruba Fountaine
Behavior Exchange

Most of our wellness improvement efforts involve changing our behaviors. To make behavior change a little less stressful, exchange and unhealthy behavior for a healthy one. Its easier to exchange behaviors then to simply quit a behavior.

Since we are having a healthy recipe challenge for the next two months, try exchanging white carbohydrates for whole grains which have more fiber.

Exchange Ideas:
White bread for whole grain bread
White rice for brown rice, wild rice or quinoa
White pasta for whole grain pasta, or chickpea pasta 
                                                                (protein & fiber)

Nutrition Bites

Sugar, Sugar... Blah Blah Blah! 

The documentary, That Sugar Film sheds light on how much hidden sugar we all consume on a daily basis. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration proposes no more than 10% of our daily calorie intake should be sugar, which is about 12 teaspoons for a 2,000 calorie per day diet, or 9 teaspoons for a 1500 calorie per day diet. The World Health Organization suggests no more than 5% of our daily calorie intake should be sugar which is 6 teaspoons for a 2,000 calorie per day diet and 4.5 teaspoons per day for a 1500 calorie per day diet. It is quite easy to consume your daily intake in just one snack and certainly in one meal!

Part of the problem is that our food labels list amounts of sugar, fats, proteins, fiber and carbohydrates in grams which is hard for most of us to relate to. If you want to be more aware of how much sugar you are really eating simply divide grams by 4 to get the amount in teaspoons (4.2 to be precise). For instance, if a label lists 25 grams of sugar it would mean you consumed 6.25 teaspoons of sugar in that serving. This simple conversion also works for fats. 

Hopefully, you will find this conversion helpful in really knowing how much sugar you are consuming on a daily basis. It is estimated that the average American consumes 30, or more, teaspoons of sugar per day. Much of this sugar overload is consumed in foods that we think of as healthy like low fat yogurt, granola bars, cereal, and fruit juices. 

Why is the overload of sugar in our diets bad for us? Excessive sugar intake can lead to many of the health problems prevalent in our society today: type 2 diabetes, obesity, dental decay, high cholesterol levels, fatty liver disease, and ultimately heart disease. It is wise to limit your daily intake of sugar to help prevent these diseases! 

Fitness Focus
Fit Body / Fit Brain?

This past year brought a lot of research about the brain and body fitness connection. Research is showing that both aerobic training and strength training seem to improve brain function as we age.

In one study, brain scans of aerobically fit, elderly men showed that their brains functioned as efficiently as much younger men, and much more efficiently than their sedentary counterparts (Kazuki et al., 2016).

In another study, elderly women who did weight training two times per week for one year, had less small lesions in the white matter of their brain compared to women who did stretching or balance training. They also had less brain lesions than women who hit the gym just once per week. White matter connects different parts of the brain and is critical for memory and thinking (Bolandzadeh et al., 2015).

An identical twin study showed that the twin who had greater leg strength also had greater brain volume ten years later. There was a connection between leg strength and cognitive thinking skills too. The more powerful the legs, the better the score on cognitive thinking tests (Steves, Mehta, Jackson, Spector, 2015).

I don't know about you, but I'm hitting the weights next!


Bolandzadeh, N., Tam, R., Handy, TC., Nagamatsu, LS, Davis JC., Dao, E., Beattie, BL., Liu-Ambrose,T. (2015)Resistance training and white matter lesion progression in older women: exploratory analysis of a 12-month randomized controlled trial.

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct; 63(10):2052-2060. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13644.
Kazuki Hyodoa, Ippeita Danb, Yasushi Kyutokub, Kazuya Suwabea, Kyeongho Byuna, D., Genta Ochia, Morimasa Katoc, Hideaki Soyaa, (2016).The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. NeuroImage 125(15), 291-300.

Steves CJ., Mehta MM., Jackson SH., Spector TD. (2015)
Kicking back cognitive ageing: leg power predicts cognitive ageing after ten years in older female twins. Gerontology, 2015 Nov 10
Take Advantage of Your Health Benefits!

Enrolled in HealthPartners' insurance?
Take advantage of Virtuwell: 3 free online health visits per year. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): For All Employees!
Free Counseling Services:, or call 866-326-7194.

Simply log in through cor and click on the  
employee tab. Next, click on the 
red links button on the left for Employee Assistance Program and HealthPartners' links. Set up your health partners account once on their website.
Schedule a Shape Up Appointment Today!

My name is Megan Streveler, EdD, ATC, ATR (pronounced Meegan) and I work within WellU as the new coach for Shape Up & Stretch Breaks.

Shape Up:
The goal of Shape Up is to support CSS employees in reaching their health and wellness goals. The program offers each participant 3-4 sessions, starting with an initial fitness screening and goal setting discussion.  The following sessions are check-ins to note progress and to adjust your program.  Sessions could include learning how to operate the workout equipment, learning ways to increase core strength, discussing nutritional habits or whatever will help you reach your health goals. The final session will include a repeat of the fitness screening to note your personal achievements.

Sessions are available Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays, 4:00pm & 5:00pm.  You can sign up through ImLeagues. 

Current Exercise Guidelines: Adults 

The current exercise guidelines come from the American College of Sports Medicine, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, Department for Health and Human Services, etc. The guidelines may seem like no big deal (you are a regular exerciser), or they may seem completely overwhelming and unattainable. Please remember that the important thing is to get moving in some way! If you are a beginner, simply start with short walks and gradually increase the time spent walking over the first month or two. 

 Cardio / Aerobic Exercise
* 2 hours & 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) per week.
* Or, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (i.e. jogging or running) per week.
* Do 10 minute mini workouts throughout your day, or exercise all at once in 30- 60 minute sessions.
*  Do cardio/aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week.
Strength Training / Weight Training
* Build Muscle or lose Muscle.