Hitting The Reset Button

Our January Wellness Tips

January is not just the start of a new year, it is also the start of a new stronger, healthier and happier you. 49% of Canadians make New Years’ resolutions and yet only 8% stick with them. Rather than making one rigid resolution that can easily be broken, try making small improvements in all of the main pillars of health: sleep, diet, exercise and stress management, and enjoy a path to lasting wellness.

Sleep; it is not just about being rested and getting enough hours, it’s about rejuvenation and healing. While most of us need about 7 to 8 hours, getting adequate stage-4 sleep and a consistent wake time are vital.  Studies show that shifting your wake time by 90 minutes or more reduces energy and increases body fat independent of diet and exercise. So, practice getting into bed close to the same hour each night and, more importantly get up around the same time each day.  Melatonin taken 30 minutes before bed promotes stage-4 sleep and resets your sleep cycle, getting you back into a healthy routine after the all the holiday festivities.

Diet; after a month of holiday treats and sweets, everyone could use a sustainable nutrient makeover. Eating well takes a little time and forethought, so start by planning 3 to 5 days of menu ideas and cook more than one meal at a time.  Make sure you get the right ratio of nutrients on your plate with protein in every meal and green on your plate every day.  Commit to removing one bad thing from your diet such as white sugar, bread or desserts in general.  Add in foods such as lemon, artichokes, beets and kale that stimulate the production of liver enzymes to help naturally detoxify the body. We don’t need to be perfect every day, but we need the good basics in our diet to create a healthy body.

Exercise; it is not just about weight loss but about increasing muscle strength, improving circulation and feeling good. You don’t need to train like an Olympian, just go play like one.  Choose an activity that you enjoy otherwise it will simply become one more task in your day. It could be dancing, bowling, going for a walk, or a group game of hockey or soccer. Just get moving.  Ideally exercise should be a regular part of your routine, but if not, start small, once a week and increase it as each month passes.

Stress management; December is the most stressful time of the year, and January is when we feel most of the effects from the rise in cortisol, our stress hormone. Cortisol not only increases weight gain independent of what we eat, but also impairs stage-4 sleep, reduces our immunity by up to 56%, and adversely affects digestion.  Some ideas – take on less and learn to say “no”, seek out social support, implement some stress reducing techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, massage therapy and even take the time to watch a funny movie. 

Here’s to a new you!

Six Driving Forces Influencing Today’s Fitness Trends

Each Fall, HSG undertakes an exhaustive analysis of a myriad of industry surveys and predictions for the upcoming year.

We include market data, as well as our own observations as Professional Managers and Consultants, to provide a valuable resource for fitness professionals and business owners/operators. This year, rather than looking for the next “best thing” in fitness, we chose to focus on the six fundamental forces that are driving today’s fitness trends.

Click the button below to download our full 50-page report. It provides further insights into these driving forces and will assist you in making strategic decisions for your fitness operation. We also identify program and equipment strategies you can use to make your business more competitive in 2019.

Through our research, we identified six significant consumer forces that are driving today’s fitness trends:

New Sensations

Today’s fitness consumer is part of an active generation that values experiences. The drive for adventure and excitement is pushing exercisers towards new forms of fitness instead of the traditional routine of going to the gym. Obstacle races, gamification, marathons and smartphone fitness apps have taken the market by storm. Furthermore, we are connecting with consumers through new forms of communication that have never been used before in the fitness industry.

Influenced by the Millennial generation, today’s fitness consumers are a fast-paced, well-informed group. They devour news and information as soon as it’s released and then share it with others, usually via social media. This quick turnover cycle has led to an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality in many aspects of life, and activities quickly become outdated. This generation is always seeking new ways to get fit and eat healthy, even if it means creating something unique to them.

Time Poverty

Many gym-goers are feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyle obligations. Time-pressured consumers express strong preferences for quick, efficiency-driven workouts that allow them to feel more in control of their time, and return on (time) investment. This group of individuals will multi-task to compress more activities into less time, leading to broad behavioural implications.

For instance, time scarcity is a common reason for consumers failing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including skipping meals, eating-on-the-go, cooking less often, getting less sleep and failing to exercise regularly. As a result, consumers are looking to simplify their routines and reduce time in the gym. This factor calls for creative programming and product solutions to help restore balance in the consumers’ life.

Convenience

The ‘convenience’ factor also fuels a desire to create more leisure time. For instance, today’s consumers are seeking solutions that allow them to maximize their free time and disposable income dollars to spend more time doing the things they value.

Convenience and ease of access are vital to the success of any club or fitness business. It’s the key to making it easier for consumers to decide to join. The right location, proximity to retail, accessible parking, no-hassle access or scheduling, and frictionless buying are all factors to consider in your fitness business operations.

Social Tribes

A ‘social tribe’ is simply two or more people who share common health goals, values, interests, behaviour, and support. Consequently, people will seek to team up with other like-minded individuals to engage in healthier behaviour, build habits, or achieve a fitness/wellness goal together. It’s not the number in your tribe that leads to more success; it’s the power of the support you get from them that counts.

People prefer to share their healthy food, fitness activities, and accomplishments with friends – online and off – because it’s more fun and more sustainable over time to be social vs. solo. Connecting people who have something in common and developing a sense of belonging is a critical approach to capitalizing on your programming and marketing efforts.

Betterment

‘Betterment’ is a term that characterizes a more holistic approach to health to achieve a more balanced quality of life. For example, the mind/body connection has been a solid contributor to fitness participation for over two decades. This connection is evident by the sustained popularity of Yoga and Pilates.

For years, we’ve used exercise to enhance muscular performance, and we’re starting to see a surge in the use of training to increase brain strength. It won’t be long before fitness trackers, and wearables can monitor cognitive performance, as well as traditional physiological markers such as heart rate, calories burned, and effort. For many people, physical, mental and emotional peak performance is a fundamental part of self-actualization. That means these qualities are central to how they seek meaning in their lives.

Quality Results

A focus on achieving quality results is the return on investment from their fitness provider that consumers are seeking. Education, training and proper credentialing for trainers are investments becoming increasingly important to operators of health and fitness facilities. Specializations such as Health Coach, Older Adult Programming, Sports Specific Training or facilities that provide niche services are becoming more popular for those who are looking for quality results.

As the medical, therapeutic, holistic, athletic and technological worlds come together to improve services offered to the mainstream fitness industry, the winner will be your clients and members who are engaging in your professional fitness services.

Our Role (as Fitness Operators)

Understanding and anticipating consumer needs can position you at the forefront of providing innovative and higher quality fitness experiences for your members and participants. We encourage you to leverage this understanding and critical intel when making future business and program decisions in your fitness operation.

8 Easy Workplace Wellness Tips

This October, Canadians are encouraged to introduce and incorporate more health into their workplace or strengthen commitments to the positive practices already taking place.

The following Infograph shares 8 easy Workplace Wellness Tips to help inspire employees to make positive changes in their health behaviour. For more health activity ideas visit Healthy Workplace Month’s website or check out all the great #workplacewellness posts on our blog.

We can help you to develop and implement wellness strategies and programs that work, please get in touch with us by clicking the button below.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance Workplace Wellness

Workplace wellness is changing. With technology shaping all aspects of our lives, digital solutions are emerging and evolving rapidly along the way.

Define your workplace wellness program goals

The key question to ask is: “how does technology make things better (for you, for others, for our employees, for our organization)?”  What are you gaining? The first step is to pinpoint exactly what it is you would like to accomplish with your workplace wellness program.

  • For the employees: some combination of time and motivation are, at the highest level, two of the most fundamental barriers faced in terms of managing health.
  • For the organization: creating a winning workplace climate with a high performing workforce that maximizes productivity and minimizes costs fuels the rationale for having a robust employee health strategy, including a workplace wellness program.

The chart below provides some common examples of what wellness offerings should provide for both the Employee and Organization.

Employees Organizations
 + Inspire them to prioritize their health and wellbeing  + Help employees think, feel and perform at their best
 + Be easy to access and participate in  + Support organizational business and performance objectives
 + Create rewarding experiences and instigate positive outcomes  + Lead to positive results in aggregate health metrics, employee satisfaction, and retention
 + Infuse an element of fun in the workplace  + Enhance the workplace experience and support the overall workplace culture

How can technology help you reach your goals?

Once the goals of your workplace wellness program are defined, the next step is to consider if a technology application will enhance the experience and achieve better outcomes. Technology can help achieve these objectives by:

  • Providing personalized, relevant tools and content supported by coaching that, together, motivate employees to stay on track in accomplishing their health and wellness goals
  • Enhancing connections with colleagues through team health challenges that are fun
  • Providing an incentive and rewards program related to making healthy choices
  • Tracking and showing employees their progress
  • Providing an interface that is quick and enjoyable to use
  • Providing access 24/7 anywhere with an internet connection

The digital marketplace is flooded with online wellness programs and apps, but there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Wading through the possibilities is time-consuming and determining the right fit for your needs can be a challenge. Let HSG’s Wellness Professionals help customize a Wellness Solution to help you meet the goals of your organization and employees.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Sullivan is a Wellness Manager and Corporate Supervisor at Health Systems Group. Laura has been working with organizations and teams to develop workplace wellness strategies, programs, and communities since 2000. Her core aspiration is to help organizations shape a workplace culture that inspires their people to live healthier at work and home. Her corporate health and wellness expertise is supplemented with human resources education and experience, a strong skill set in communications, business development and various roles in the fitness industry earlier in her career.

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