ESHCA Wellness Newsletter
September 2019
The shareable link (also printable) for this issue of the newsletter is:
The American Heart Association: Simple 7 is a template to provide clarity and reduce the confusion associated with monitoring your health. Note, it includes "Know Your Numbers" (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body weight) along with exercise, nutrition and smoking status.

Life's Simple 7:

  1. Manage Blood Pressure (AHA Blood Pressure)
  2. Control Cholesterol (AHA Cholesterol)
  3. Reduce Blood Sugar (AHA Blood Sugar)
  4. Get Active (AHA Get Active)
  5. Eat Better (AHA Eat Better)
  6. Lose Weight (AHA Weight Management)
  7. Stop Smoking (AHA Smoking Cessation)

Click on the link to download a PDF for any topics that interest you. Hang it on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, in your office or somewhere that the information will be useful to you. Do what you can, attention to even one of the seven will have a positive effect on your health!

Wellness is taking "action" steps to 1) understand, 2) track and 3) improve/maintain your health.

1) Understand ..."Know Your Numbers". Do you know your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body weight? Do your numbers fall into the "healthy" range? "Unhealthy Numbers" increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

2) Track ...get your "Annual Physical". Meet with your Primary Care Physician yearly to monitor "Your Numbers" and get recommendations on improving them. MVP suggests the annual physical is the Association's best defense against the high-cost claims that are "wreaking havoc" on our health premiums.

3) Improve/maintain ...take action to be healthy. Eating better, being active and taking medications as prescribed are key variables to improve and manage your health. There are several incentive programs offered by ESHCA Wellness that encourage and educate you to live a healthy lifestyle (see the bottom of the page).

What is chronic disease and how prevalent is it in the US?
  • The CDC defines chronic diseases as conditions that last 1 year or longer; requiring ongoing medical attention and limiting activities of daily living.
  • Conditions include asthma, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, seizures, obesity and oral health problems.
  • 6 in 10 Americans have one chronic disease and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases.
  • 90% of the nations $3.3 trillion health care expenditure is spent on chronic disease and mental health issues.

Did you know, chronic disease is linked to 3 lifestyle characteristics ? It is estimated that 80% of chronic disease could be prevented, eliminated or managed through lifestyle changes in 3 areas, cleverly identified as forks , feet and fingers .

  • Forks - chronic diseases are associated with diets low in vegetables and fruits and high in sodium and saturated fats.
  • Feet - chronic diseases are associated with low activity levels.
  • Fingers - chronic diseases are associated with smoking.

Consider taking the ESHCA 49-Day Nutrition Challenge !!! (Click the link for details)

Nutrition: Choosing Healthy at a Restaurant
Working "on the road" presents nutrition challenges ... I travel a couple of times per year and am ashamed to admit that I fail miserably when it comes to my food choices at restaurants. Hopefully, one of your goals is to improve what you put on your "fork", if so consider the following nutrition tips from MVP when dining out:

  1. Meats: poultry and seafood are the best bets. Or choose a meatless option (lentils, mushrooms, nuts/seeds and beans/legumes) such as a black bean burrito or lentil soup. Choose grilled or roasted over fried. Proteins are not only important for repairing damaged tissue (muscles), they are also good for weight control and keeping your blood sugar in check. Meatless proteins provide low-fat options that are loaded with valuable fiber!
  2. Grains: opt for whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice) or whole-grain breads, wraps, pizza crust, tortillas or pitas. Whole grains are higher in fiber and nutrients. Fiber lowers "bad" cholesterol and controls blood sugar.
  3. Sides and toppings: load up on veggies whether it is on a pizza, sandwiches, burritos or salads. Limit cheeses along with creamy and heavy sauces. Also, limit fried and breaded options.
  4. Drinks: choose water (add lemon) instead of sugary drinks. Unsweetened tea or low-fat chocolate milk can also be a healthy choice.
  5. Dessert: In general, your best choice is to skip it, unless it is fresh fruit all on it's own. Opt to go without sugary or heavy toppings and glazes.
  6. Portion sizes: Super? Double? Jumbo? Muy Grande? No thanks, stick to the serving size! The Handy Guide can help!

Put your knowledge into practice...

You are at your favorite hamburger place. Do you choose: 1 or 2
  1. Single veggie patty with lettuce and tomato, baked potato and green salad.
  2. Double meat patty with cheese and bacon, French fries and an ice cream cone.

You are at a sandwich shop. Which is a healthier choice? 1 or 2
  1. Ham and extra cheese, mayonnaise, fried chips and a cookie.
  2. Roasted turkey on a whole-grain bun, 1 slice of cheese, mustard, extra veggies, baked chips, apple slices.

You are in the mood for Mexican food. At the drive through, you order: 1 or 2
  1. Cheese enchiladas with sour cream, fried tortilla chips and loaded nachos.
  2. Veggie burrito on a whole-wheat tortilla, beans without cheese, brown rice and salsa.
Stretch of the Month - Trunk Rotation
What is trunk rotation ? Compared to the other stretches we have introduced in this newsletter, trunk rotation is not limited to one muscle or muscle group. It is a functional (daily activity movement) twisting of the body, requiring the synchronization of several muscles contracting and relaxing to effectively complete. Focus your attention on what muscles inhibit you from completing the movement (note: it will be slightly different for each of us).

There are several ways to do this stretch, pick one from below or do your own research, as long as you are twisting your torso you are accomplishing the goal!

1) Standing
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • "Hook" your left elbow with your right hand.
  • Keep your feet stationary and rotate (or twist) as far as you can comfortably go in a clockwise direction (to the right).
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Complete the stretch 1 to 3 times on each side.

2) Lying on the Floor
  • Lie flat on your back with your arms extended out to the sides.
  • Lift your right leg straight up and "drop" it across your body.
  • Ideally, your shoulders will remain flat on the floor and your big toe (right foot) will touch the floor. Gently apply pressure with the left hand to the outside of the right knee/thigh if necessary.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Complete the stretch 1 to 3 times on each side.
  • Modify: the straighter the crossed over leg the more intense the stretch.
$25 Incentive Challenge - Plank to Strengthen Your Core!!!
  1. Lie face down on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor, supporting your weight on your forearms (elbows bent - Figure A) or extended arms (push up position - Figure B).
  3. a) Pull your belly button as tight as you can to your spine; b) engage your legs and c) squeeze your butt.
  4. Hold the position for 15-60 seconds and repeat 1-3 times.
  5. Fill out the Plank Challenge Worksheet and return it to me via email, mail or fax and I will send you a $25 incentive card. Reminder: only one incentive can be given to each member household (with the exception that more than one employee-member lives in a household). Please contact me if you have questions.
  6. Last day to submit challenge paperwork is 10/14/19.
Wellness Incentives 2019
Be rewarded for practicing healthy behaviors! Healthy employees cost less and are on average more productive. The ESHCA Wellness Program encourages members to practice healthy behaviors and live a healthy lifestyle. Save on your health premiums by taking advantage of the incentives offered:

  • Annual Physical Incentive ($200)
  • Click Here to download the required paperwork.
  • Nutrition Program ($50)
  • Take the ESHCA 49-Day Nutrition Challenge (offered in November and January) - or - get credit for participating in a nutrition program of your choice (example: Weight Watchers)
  • "Used" Gym Membership ($50)
  • Email (good cell phone picture works), mail or fax me a copy of the "Member Login Record" provided by your gym, illustrating you have completed 35 workouts this year and I will send you the incentive.
  • Don't belong to a gym but you workout at home? Contact me and I will send you "Activity Log" to fill out.
  • Smoking Cessation Program ($50)
  • Complete a smoking cessation program and send me proof of completion.
  • Complete 6 Newsletter Challenges ($25 each)

Please contact me (Patrick) if you have questions regarding the incentives.

Don't forget ESHCA is a member of the Herb Philipson's Workwear Program! Show the cashier your ESHCA/MVP Insurance Card and get 10% off Herb's already low prices on "workwear items"!