Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

FEB 15, 2017 1:25 PM EST Time Magazine

Below are excerpts from an article written by entrepreneur Joshua Steimle. While he speaks as a business owner, this can apply to anyone who finds exercise losing out on importance when life gets busy. It is a good reminder that your health has to come first and regular exercise is necessary component for good health.

“On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all; as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.

If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.

For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit. For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.”

Makes sense, but how do you start? Go to “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Priority” for ideas to get you started. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/6-ways-to-make-exercise-a-priority?page=2

Rachel Handren

Rachel Handren began working for the Parks and Rec Center daycare program about six years ago. As a child, Rachel’s family moved around a lot. As a result, she made friends with children from many different cultures. Her childhood also included being involved with dance. She began lessons in fourth grade, participating in dance competitions and public performances. Rachel’s Northwest Como Rec supervisor, aware of her dance background and her ability to connect with children from many different cultures decided she would be the perfect person to develop and direct a dance program for children at this center.

Rachel began with creative movement classes for children aged 3-5; for elementary aged children she created jazz, ballet and hip hop classes. Classes were held once per week from September through May. As the program grew in popularity, Rachel expanded with more classes. During the summer when classes aren’t typically held, she began holding dance workshops to keep the momentum going. Last year, she added a dance competition league. This league competes in local competitions against private dance studios. Their competitors come from studios that are designed for dance with mirrored walls, ballet bars, etc. as opposed to the Rec Center gym used in Rachel’s classes. To help cover the cost of competition entrance fees, they have a fund raising booster club, set up snack tables, etc. They plan to have a fund raising chair for next season. There are 90+ students now involved in Rec dance classes and the competition league.

Besides teaching children to dance, Rachel’s goal is helping them become more fit. The competition league dancers took a baseline fitness test at the beginning of the year and then set their goals. Each class spent 15-20 minutes on strength, conditioning and flexibility exercises. They were required to practice routines and exercise outside of class as “practice makes progress”. By the end of the first year, every single dancer beat their own personal goal while also growing in the intricate skills it takes to be a competition dancer. The valuable skill of working as part of a team was also learned.

Rachel says she is so incredibly proud of how hard her students work especially on their own personal fitness goals and how they encourage each other to do better. She has dreams of having a real, dedicated space for the dancers in the future. We recognize Rachel for sharing her enthusiasm in bringing the joy of movement and fitness to so many kids, making a difference in their lives.

City Employees Do Yoga

Our June Spotlight article is all about the benefits of yoga. Over the years, the City and Healthy Saint Paul have encouraged employees to enjoy these benefits by offering lunch time yoga classes. Classes have been held at City Hall since 2005; the Water Department has offered classes for the past three years and in January, 2018 yoga classes began at the Police Department. Below is what employees have to say about making yoga part of their regular routine.

Anca Sima is a Public Works employee who is also a very experienced and knowledgeable Yoga instructor. Anca began teaching yoga at City Hall In 2005, and many of the people who began at that time are still participating. Anca stresses that no matter what experience a person may have, her class is structured to accommodate from those ranging from beginner yoga to advanced. Marie Franchett is one of the employees who began with Anca back in 2005 and still participates. She saw this as an opportunity to get in some exercise over the lunch hour. She says it provides a great break in the day, and she finds it rejuvenating. Marie feels the classes have kept her healthy. Since participating for all these years, she hasn’t had any joint or muscle pain issues, except for a sore back due to the shoveling this year!

Dolly Ludden and Dennis Rosemark have been doing yoga at SPRWS since the onset 3+ years ago.
Dollie appreciates the instructor who “is great in continually reminding us on proper form, challenging us in various poses and broadening our scope of what yoga is and how it can help us. Yoga is great for the mind, body and spirit.” After lunch, Dolly goes back to work with a fresh outlook to finish out her day. Yoga was new to Dennis when he began. He says he enjoys being with the positive people who participate as they are more into fun than judgement. He shared, “Turns out yoga is improving my overall well-being causing me to simply feel better and stronger. With this discipline, a little stretching and giggling goes a long way to get through a very busy work day.”

The Yoga instructor for the SPPD, Cailee Stangl, has specialized training as a Yoga for First Responders instructor. Cailee’s goal is to teach how to overcome stress by providing the tools to add calm back to your life. Sgt. Jim Andersen appreciates the knowledge Cailee brings and how she tailors the class to the individual. Employee Ali Cole says it is a GIFT to be able to take a break during the work day and focus on taking care of herself.

Do you have questions for our featured employee?
Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we
will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

What Happens To Your Body When You Start Doing Yoga

For decades, aerobic exercise—the type that raises your heart and breathing rates, such as running or cycling—has been touted by scientists as the gold standard in terms of the number of health benefits it brings. More energy, improved mood, lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers, better sleep, better thinking, better sex, and on and on. But as it turns out, there may be another form of exercise that does even more for you: yoga. And weight control may be at the top of its long list of yoga benefits.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing published a comparative analysis of 81 studies that examined yoga’s health benefits and the health benefits of aerobic exercise. The researchers found yoga to be especially effective at reducing stress. This may not be news to those who practice yoga, but even die-hard enthusiasts will be surprised at the number of other health benefits yoga can confer—often to a larger degree than aerobic exercise. The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters.

It’s Not Either Or.
You don’t have to choose yoga or aerobic exercise—by no means does this research suggest that you toss out your walking or running shoes for a yoga mat. Aerobic exercise remains a fun, simple, inexpensive, highly effective form of exercise that confers all sorts of important benefits. And it’s important that we all be active every day if we can, taking breaks to move around so we don’t spend all our time sitting.

Yoga Is Exercise.
What is clear from this analysis is that yoga should no longer be seen as something even remotely “fringey,” or even as something that’s only good for improving flexibility. Rather, this research makes it clear that yoga deserves a permanent place at the health and fitness table, alongside other forms of exercise that may be more familiar to most people.

Yoga and Weight loss. Researchers see an especially intriguing role for yoga in the area of weight control, with the key mechanism being yoga’s stress-reducing power. “Evidence suggests that chronic stress leads to changes in food-seeking behavior, including increased consumption of foods high in sugar and fat, which may eventually lead to obesity,” says lead researcher Alyson Ross. “As yoga provides many of the benefits typically associated with exercise, and is also so effective at reducing stress,” she continues, “it’s possible that yoga might be a particularly useful weapon in the arsenal against obesity.”

Beginners Should Find A Teacher. If you’re considering giving yoga a try, rest assured that you don’t have to be a contortionist to do it. But it’s best to find a class with a teacher, as starting on your own with a video can be tough. It’s important to learn how to do the poses correctly, at which point you can supplement your class time by doing yoga at home.

By Adam Bean
www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/yoga-benefits

Gerald Carter

In 2001, Gerald Carter accepted a job with the St. Paul Police Department and moved here from Evansville, Indiana to continue his career in law enforcement. He is 60 years old, has been married for 32 years and has two children. We are featuring Gerald this month to recognize his lifelong commitment to staying physically fit as well as his outstanding achievements.

Since the age of 16, Gerald has been competing in power lifting and body building competitions on both a national and international level. From the start, he has never placed below the top five and is usually in the top 3 in competitions. Throughout his entire life, he has never used enhancing drugs even though for a time it was legal to do so.

Since entering law enforcement, Gerald has chosen to regularly participate in the World Police and Fire Games. In the World games, there are thousands of public safety officers representing 65-70 countries competing at various events, larger even than the winter Olympic games. He has gone up against lifters from the Eastern bloc where the use of steroids is not illegal. In the 2005 World Games held in Quebec City, Gerald received silver in the push pull event and a bronze in the bench press. In the 2009 World Games, he won three medals: silvers in the bench press and push pull, and a bronze in body building. He went on to win a silver medal in the bench press in the 2011 World Games. It was in the 2015 World Games that Gerald captured his first gold medals; one in the bench press and one in the push pull event. In an interview he gave at the time, he said, “Finally, it’s nice to be the bride and not just the bridesmaid”. He repeated that performance as the returning champion in Los Angeles in 2017.

Performing at this level obviously demands a lot of training. Gerald generally trains six days a week for 45-75 minutes/day. Besides lifting weights, he includes 30-45 minutes of a cardio work-out on a stair climber or bicycle. Despite these many years of training and competition, he has not suffered any serious injuries. He attributes that to paying attention to his body – is it just muscle soreness he is feeling or something else? If he finds a particular lift painful, he knows to substitute something else for a while. He instructs people who come to him with training questions to make sure they focus on core strength as well.

Despite all the hard work Gerald puts into competing, he acknowledges that some people are born with a natural ability for different things and have that advantage so he is reluctant to give himself a big pat on the back for excelling as he has. He also acknowledges that he could not have achieved what he has over the years if not for the support from his wife as he spends much time and expense to do what he loves.

Gerald trains and competes because he likes the sport and it helps him control his weight. He enjoys meeting people from all over the world, like the Mongolian police officer who spoke no English. This officer was admiring Gerald’s leather weight lifting belt, as these are not available in Mongolia. So, Gerald gave him his. He looks forward to seeing him and other new friends at competitions, even when they don’t speak the same language.
Gerald’s next competition will be in 2019 in Chengdu, China. We wish him the best and congratulate him on all he has achieved.

Do you have questions for our featured employee? Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  • Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  • Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
  • Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
  • Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
  • Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
  • Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
  • Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
  • Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
  • “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.

  • Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
  • Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
  • Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
  • Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
  • Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
  • Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
  • Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
  • Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Change happens one step at a time!

If you are able, take the stairs.

Did you know that getting more physical activity and limiting the amount of time that you spend sitting can reduce health risks? Scientific evidence shows it is everyday activities like walking and stair climbing that are most closely associated with improved health. Below are benefits seen by adding the use of stairs to your day.

No special equipment is needed.

Stair climbing can be accumulated across the course of the day, making a significant contribution to the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
There is a significantly lower risk of mortality when climbing more than 55 flights per week.
Stair climbing requires about 8 – 11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other moderate level physical activities.

Active stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity.

Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 6 lbs of weight loss over one year.

There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density in post-menopausal women.

Climbing stairs can improve the amount of “good cholesterol” in the blood.

Stair climbing can help you build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.

Finally, stairs are eco-friendly. When in motion, an elevator can use as much as 250 60 watt bulbs. So, if you can, burn calories, not electricity.
We know that fitting physical activity into a busy lifestyle isn’t always easy. Taking the stairs is just one way to add some physical activity into your work day while delivering healthy benefits.

(1) https://hr.duke.edu/wellness/exercise-fitness/take-stairs/benefits-taking-stairs
(2) Categories in the spotlight

Michele LaMere

Michele has worked for the City for 30 years. She has been in her current position as an Accounting Technician with Parks and Rec in the City Hall Annex for 26 years. She loves working for Parks and says her co-workers are an “awesome group.” Her commitment to walking daily on her lunch break began shortly after she came to the Annex when her supervisor invited her to join her on a walk through the skyways. Her supervisor has left the City but Michele has continued her daily, 30 minute walking lunch breaks ever since.

In 2000 Michele’s sister, Diane Schwanke, began working for the City as a Payroll Specialist. She readily joined Michele in her daily walks. Michele says she feels like the luckiest person in the world to be able to get in her exercise while spending quality time with her sister. In the summer months, they enjoy a brisk, two mile walk outside. In addition, they designated certain nights during the week when Michele will get on her elliptical at home and Diane on her treadmill. For accountability, they report back to each other the next day.

Heart disease runs in Michele’s family. She became borderline hypertensive and did not want to go on medication. She opted instead to get healthier by eating better and adding additional exercise. She joined the Omada program in November, 2017. This has worked tremendously for her as she has lost 20 lbs. since joining. She likes being able to bounce off thoughts with her core Omada group. She really appreciates the support they and her coach provide. Michele thinks the lessons, while often things you already know, serve as a good reminder and motivation to incorporate them into your life. She likes the accountability Omada provides as well. She is eating so much better and feels great since joining.

For people whose job like Michele’s involves sitting all day, committing to getting up and moving is important. She loves that her Fitbit reminds her with a buzz when she hasn’t moved out of her seat for an hour. Since joining Omada, Michele has added walking the Annex stairs on her morning and afternoon breaks. She started inviting co-workers to join her and now about five of them often will. She invites everyone to give it a try. It provides a mental break as well as some exercise.

Any day Michele doesn’t get in a walk now feels like a really long day to her. She recommends people get up and walk as it actually can be reenergizing. Regarding Omada, she tells anyone who is considering it not to hesitate. While it is a commitment, anybody can do it. It is a fantastic program and she feels so much better having participated.

PHOT0: Michele Lamere (right) with sister, Diane Schwanke.

Do you have questions for our featured employee? Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and
we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

5 Simple Ways To Help Keep Your Spine Healthy

The tips covered here along with additional links provide simple ways to help support your spine and overall back health.

  • Let your spine really rest while sleeping. While you’re lying down, all the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated in a supported and comfortable way. Your choice of mattress and pillow is largely based on personal preference, your preferred sleep positions, and your specific back or neck problem. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/choosing-best-mattress-lower-back-pain
  • Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles. Your core muscles (lower back and abdominal muscles) need to be strong and supple to support your spine and take pressure off your lower back. Unfortunately, for most of us our core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities; they need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. These exercises are simple and can be performed as part of a daily routine. Visit: www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/core-body-strength-exercises
  • Your shoes need to support your spine. Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. Also, consider using shoe orthotics or inserts if you need further balance or support. Visit: www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/guidelines-buying-walking-shoes
  • Enjoy a massage. Did you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medication. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.
  • The discs in your lower spine are loaded 3 times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more. Get up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, try working at a standup desk for part of the day, or get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.

Reprinted: www.spine-health.com/blog/five-ways-keep-your-spine-healthy-and-happy

Josh Lego

Commander Joshua Lego has worked for Police for 21 years. During those years, he has worked a variety of assignments. He is currently assigned to the Special Operations Unit responsible for planning for protests and assemblies while coordinating with other agencies. He has a Masters Degree in Leadership and teaches throughout the U.S. and Canada as an expert in policing issues. He is 45 years old, married and has three children.

Josh’s current position can involve working nights, week-ends and very long days. This irregular schedule affected his diet and exercise plans. He was grabbing whatever was handy to eat when he had the time. Days as long as 14 hours left little energy for exercising. It was in his personal life though that stressful circumstances led to living a very unhealthy lifestyle. His younger brother died unexpectedly leaving a young child behind whom Josh and his wife came to adopt.

To cope with the stress in his life, Josh turned to alcohol and food. Admittedly, he was drinking too frequently and eating at the wrong times. One bad habit seemed to fuel the other. He ignored what was happening to him even when put on medication for high blood pressure. His weight climbed to 290 lbs.

Three years ago, he actually just woke up one morning and said “This is enough.” He quit drinking cold turkey. He knew he needed to plan though to be successful. His wife had followed the Slimgenics plan with success so he began to essentially follow that though substituting comparable foods he could find at Target for a less expensive option. He was determined to be intentional with when and what he ate. By quitting alcohol, he was much better able to manage his urge to eat that whole pizza at 11:00 pm as he may have before. When he knew that long 14 hour days were ahead, he brought a cooler with him to avoid having to grab whatever was there.

In addition to having the physical plan, he adjusted his thinking as well. He was not going to become discouraged. If he overate on the week-end, he would get back on track. He purposely did not set a weight loss goal but instead relied on the healthy choices he was making to create a healthier body. He paid attention as to how he felt to determine what was working for him. He didn’t compare himself to anyone else which he knows is important as everyone’s experience is different. Josh didn’t want a diet but a real lifestyle change which meant being content with a slow weight loss. At the end of one year, he had lost 60 lbs. His relationship with food has changed: instead of eating slice-after-slice of pizza, he is satisfied with a salad and a slice; he even has control over the M&M urges he gets. He has gotten back into exercising, doing cardio and strength training that he enjoys.

Josh is now off his blood pressure medication. He feels he does a much better job in his roles as parent, husband, and coach. He acknowledges there will always still be stress in his life but knows he is much more capable of managing it.