Walking around the Cooper Aerobics campus in Dallas, you never know who you will cross paths with. After seeing a few groups come in to attend the five-day wellness week hosted by Cooper Wellness, I decided to call my teammate (fellow employee) Susan Thompson, who is the Wellness Director at National Instruments through Cooper Consulting Partners to find out more. Susan explained that participants proactively want to make a change and need manager approval to attend a wellness program. Ideal participants are self-motivated and actively seeking help and support to keep them committed to their health goals.
Susan shared these four activities that participants commit to for the six-month period.
- Log food four days (or more) per week for four to six weeks through the MyFitnessPal app before the program starts.
- Engage 150 minutes of physical activity (walking or even housework counts) per week.
- Personal train once each week with a workout buddy
- Attend a support group once a week.
Employees set goals for the six month period and end up with great success stories to share. Jason attended Cooper Wellness beginning on March 31 and has already seen a dramatic difference in his life and is truly Cooperized.
“Before Cooper (or BC as my group coined it), we spent a large amount of time playing video games or watching TV at home,” Jason confessed. “After Cooper (AC) we are hardly ever at home for long stretches of time. We go out, socialize, work out together and live life,” Jason said. “Cooper helped me regain my confidence, showed me that there were many things I could do that I didn’t think possible any longer and helped me regain my life. I’d always heard the phrase ‘a new lease on life.’ Now I understand what that means fully. I’ve been given a second chance. What a difference a year can make.”
Since April, Jason and his wife have completed multiple 5Ks, regularly walk their dogs, are generally active and have even been hiking. Jason’s group collectively was down 200 pounds at their three month weigh-in and will continue to use the behavior change skills they learned at Cooper as they move towards their six month goal.
Last week another group with Cooper Wellness spent a week on campus participating in the five-day wellness week. “Being here this week has shown the impact of education and support in making healthier choices. I am going back to Austin inspired by the enthusiasm the group developed as they tried new foods and exercise classes. Many would not have tried these new behaviors last week,” said Susan. “Watching the Cooper Wellness team unlock the door for a healthy lifestyle for this group and knowing they can take that with them moving forward has been so rewarding. We are genuinely teaching and empowering people to live longer, and live better!”
Register to attend a Cooper Wellness program individually or contact Cooper Consulting Partners for customized services in strategy consulting, leader training and lifestyle education for your company.
The idea that we need to balance our inner pH with a special diet is a trendy one, but is there any evidence behind it?
The pH level (the balance of acid and alkaline) in your body is important, and can affect multiple body functions, but balancing pH is more complicated than simply changing your diet. It is true that a majority of the average American’s diet is loaded with acidic foods, but food isn’t the only factor that affects your inner pH.
“It is an interesting concept [balancing pH by adjusting the amount of acidic food you eat], but there is little basis or medically proven benefit of doing so,” says Cooper Clinic Director of Gastroenterology Abram Eisenstein, MD.
The human body is very sensitive to changes in pH and balance between acid and alkaline materials in our blood is very important part of our blood, but the body was developed with a number of mechanisms to guard against over acidity or over alkalinity in the blood. “Without these fundamental and life-protecting mechanisms, you can become very ill with chronic acidosis, but in the big scheme of things, what you put in your mouth has very little to do with the acid/alkaline balance in your body,” explains Dr. Eisenstein.
Serious diseases, such as uncontrolled diabetes and chronic kidney disease can have a far greater effect on your body’s pH levels than the food you eat. “While the recommendations that you can control pH by balancing acidic and alkaline foods in your diet come from well-meaning people, this idea is misguided,” says Dr. Eisenstein. “One of the beauties of our bodies is that our pH is regulated minute-by-minute. There is no long term effect on your blood from eating acidic foods.”
As far as the store bought urine tests claiming to check for a pH imbalance, Dr. Eisenstein doesn’t recommend giving them much thought either. “Measuring pH in the urine is not the way to find out if your pH is balanced or not because your kidneys are designed to balance the pH,” he says. “If you have too much acid in your blood, you’ll put out acid urine, if you have too much alkaline in your blood, you’ll put out alkaline urine.”
The bottom line: acidosis and alkalosis are serious medical problems, but unless you have other signs of serious poor health, worrying about your inner pH levels is unnecessary.
If you are concerned about your pH balance, schedule an appointment with your physician for an examination. If it is deemed necessary, your physician will order a blood pH test, which is the only correct way to check for a pH imbalance.
For more Prevention Plus articles, click here.
Congratulations to National Instruments, Chick-fil-A and Devon Energy for making it in the 50 Fittest Companies by The Active Times. Why is it that we are so proud of these three? As clients of Cooper Wellness Strategies, we help implement their worksite wellness programs by managing their fitness centers. The Active Times created this list to recognize companies that offer their employees ‘the biggest and best opportunities to embrace fitness and health.’ This list covers many industries, environments and areas of the country. See what The Active Times wrote about our top three.
#2 National Instruments
National Instruments (NI) has been putting tools in the hands of scientists, engineers and innovators since 1976. They’ve found the secret to success lies within the health and well-being of their employees. To help their employees stay fit, NI has a professionally managed on-site fitness center [managed by Cooper Wellness Strategies]. The gym is staffed with a physician, a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and support staff. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week and stocked with equipment. In addition to the fitness center, NI offers wellness programs and a great benefits package, but they had us at the 24-hour fitness center.
Fast food and fitness don’t normally go hand in hand, but with a wooded 73-acre, Atlanta-based corporate campus complete with an on-site wellness center [managed by Cooper Wellness Strategies] (featuring everything from free weights to cardio machines and even a volleyball court), a cafeteria with a salad bar that’s free to all employees every day, and flexible schedules that allow for exercise breaks (like a run through one of the campus’ scenic trails) during the workday, including Chick-fil-A on our list was basically a no-brainer.
#41 Devon Energy
Devon Energy, an oil and gas producing company, keeps employees refreshed in an unconventional way. They offer employees a flexible work schedule that would give them every other Friday off if they opt to work an extra hour each day. Devon employees also benefit from on-site fitness centers [managed by Cooper Wellness Strategies].
To calculate this list, The Active Times complied data about the best places to work in the U.S. from expert lists including CNN Money, Business Insider, Glass Door and Forbes. Great job to National Instruments, Chick-fil-A and Devon Energy!
Over the years, Cooper Consulting Partners has discovered that a healthy company is driven from the top down and leading by example yields results. Passionate and engaged leadership is the force behind most successful corporate wellness programs.
To help executives activate change within themselves and their organizations, Cooper Consulting Partners created Fit:Business. The healthy leadership workshop is based on research from The Cooper Institute that has revolutionized health and wellness, and inspired millions of people to live healthier lives.
Offered as a one-day interactive workshop, Fit:Business is our flagship training program that achieves the ultimate output by helping the participants connect their personal health to their productivity, while at the same time driving healthier behaviors of those around them.
The full-day Fit:Business workshop includes:
- Sessions on leading healthy change, stress management, exercise, nutrition and more.
- An interactive participant guide to use during the program and as a reference following the program.
- Light activity breaks to keep participants engaged and to demonstrate the ease and efficiency of an active lifestyle.
- A healthy breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.
- One-year license to Fit:Mobile – the workshop’s companion content app that drives ongoing engagement.
The next Fit:Business session will be held in Dallas on April 24, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Register today or click here to find out more about upcoming sessions in your area, contact Cooper Consulting Partners.
Jasmin, who was an intern for Cooper Consulting Partners, contributed Living a Life of Alignment to our blog earlier this fall. As she wrapped up her internship and makes a transition to her next steps in her career, she shared her thoughts on change.
Change can be such an intricate process. It comes in many forms and with multiple layers.
Change can be challenging. In many presentations I’ve heard at Cooper Aerobics, we hear the experts discuss behavioral change. There are different phases in readiness to change, as well as different stages* to navigate on your own personal journey to maintaining that change.
Change can be beautiful. I’ll especially miss driving through or past the Cooper Aerobics campus and seeing the brown, orange and red leaves recently fallen from those majestic trees. Autumn has historically been my favorite season just for this simple course of nature. I find that when I’m facing a challenging change, if I take a step back and recognize the ‘little wonders,’ something as simple as nature around me, it helps me to proceed more calmly. It reminds me of the internal wellness program at Cooper Aerobics—Cooper Fit and the presentations about stress management and guided meditation. During this, Erika Bazan from Cooper Spa reminded us of how essential it was to take moments for deep breaths. Check out this video with Erika. If you seek, I think you can find beauty in every transition.
Change can be exciting. When we’re moving from one space to another—physically, mentally, or emotionally, I think the scary, challenging part is leaving the familiar. Yet, this does not negate the excitement of stepping into the unknown. I believe little surprises are often around the corners of life’s journey if we dare to turn. New experiences open our minds to be creative, drawing upon past lessons and eagerly looking towards the future.
For whatever 2014 may bring, we wish you a Happy, healthy New Year!
*Transtheoretical model of behavior change
Some people will know Cooper Aerobics by a particular “entity” that has somehow made a connection in their life. This could be a youth program at Cooper Fitness Center, a preventive exam at Cooper Clinic or our Cooper Complete vitamins in local grocery stores. For an impressionable graduate student to have the opportunity to work for three of the eight Cooper businesses during her post-baccalaureate career is a testament to the teammates of Cooper Aerobics and the culture we strive to maintain. Jasmin shared her passion for writing with our team and I asked her to write a guest blog post. We discussed her busy lifestyle as a working graduate student and how working in an environment where health and wellness is a priority can help align your life.
One of my favorite lyrics of all time comes from The Beatles song ‘All You Need is Love’. The line states, “There’s no place you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, it’s easy.” As I sat in the Coaching Healthy Behaviors course at The Cooper Institute a few weeks ago, that phrase resonated with me. I considered all the steps that led me to that point. Last September, I started working as a service desk associate at Cooper Fitness Center. After a few months of inquiry, I landed an internship with the research department at The Cooper Institute for the summer. This experience equipped me with skills that enabled me to apply for my current position, a corporate wellness intern at Cooper Consulting Partners. It’s like each step aligned perfectly with the next.
Alignment is a lively word, isn’t it? It makes me think of attempting yoga moves, lengthening and adjusting your limbs appropriately to achieve a posture gracefully. Living a life of alignment to me, is when every aspect of your life flows nicely with the other. Your personal goals, professional goals, health goals—everything is working synergistically. I strive for this type of alignment. I used to think it was important to remain super busy and to balance it all. But, now, I’ve learned that less is more, especially when everything you do has a significant purpose.
While taking that course that day I experienced a moment of clarity—a moment where I could clearly see that I was where I was meant to be. I think those moments come often when you are living a life of alignment. And all of those little moments add up to your life’s journey towards fulfilling your purpose. It’s a beautiful thought, don’t you think?
Want to be an intern or apply for a position with Cooper Aerobics? Click here to see the available opportunities. Join Cooper Consulting Partners on Thursday for ‘Leading a Fit Business’ one-day seminar. Register today to learn the proven methods to influence a culture of wellness.
We are fortunate to have organization leaders who understand the importance of employee wellness and providing teammates with the tools and resources to meet their health goals. Our internal wellness program, called Cooper Fit, aims to Cooperize teammates through three key steps:
- Know your numbers.
- Be willing to act on the need for health improvement.
- Learn how to make the needed changes.
Each year Cooper Fit names a “Wellness Warrior” to honor teammates who have made a significant impact in their life, or the lives of others, in the field of health and wellness. After reading through multiple nominations and inspiring stories, three teammates were named our 2012 Cooper Fit Wellness Warriors.
Read more about each of their stories on how they began and are continuing a journey to good health.
Cathy’s journey began as she looked in her closet and realized she couldn’t fit into many of her clothes. Due to a knee surgery, her fitness plan was put on hold. As time passed, she decided that her knee was no longer an excuse. She had already developed a love for swimming, but knew she needed to do more to fit into those clothes!
She credits Cooper Fit to helping her on her journey. Cathy stayed motivated through monthly health challenges and by trying out group exercise classes with other teammates. One of her proudest feats was completing a half marathon with her sister, and having a blast doing it!
Cathy’s advice: “Even if you can only walk for 15 minutes during lunch, it’s better than nothing! If possible, try to meet with a dietitian – our bodies are such machines and need the right fuel. Also, find a partner to go on this journey with you! Together, you can set goals and look forward to a long, fit life.”
Juli Doyal, Certification Program Manager, The Cooper Institute
Since March 2012, Juli has lost 35 pounds and five inches off her waist. Her lifestyle now consists of exercise and healthy eating, and she feels terrific! As she worked toward her health goals, Cooper Fit was a great resource, especially for information regarding the balance of healthy eating and physical activity. Over the past year she has learned that making small behavior modifications and tracking calories can contribute to weight loss success.
Not only do the small changes help, but she draws inspiration from her fellow Cooper teammates. Each day Juli aims to take extra steps during her work day, along with adding more water, fruits, veggies and nuts to her diet. She has also cut back on Dr. Pepper, sour cream and Corner Bakery – these are now considered treats that she enjoys in moderation.
Juli’s advice: “Don’t be afraid to spread the word and inspire change. Share information with your family and friends, so they can enjoy the benefits from eating right and exercising!”
Lorraine Rose, Administrative Representative, Cooper Clinic
Lorraine is like many people – she wanted to be healthy and fit, but always found a reason to not start or stick with a health plan. She had a wake up call at her last physical exam at Cooper Clinic. According to her doctor, she needed to make some major adjustments to her lifestyle.
In March 2012, Lorraine and her husband started Weight Watchers. The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department had been telling her for years, “Log what you eat!” She was encouraged by both Cooper Fit and Weight Watchers to eat more fruits and veggies, limit sweets and watch portions. She and her husband worked as a team to fix more meals at home, shop smart and hold one another accountable for both successes and mistakes.
It is not always easy for her to make nutritious choices, but when she sees the slow, steady changes in her weight and energy level, she knows her hard work is paying off in this “unbelievably eye-opening journey.”
Lorraine’s advice: “Having a doctor who cares and co-workers who encourage you is awesome. The best comment I heard during this whole process is, ‘It never tastes as good as skinny and healthy feels.'”
Congratulations to these three teammates on their great accomplishments!