Thanks to BJC Help for Your Health's "12 Days of Fitness" campaign, employees had yet another reason to schedule exercise into their hectic holiday routine. For the 10th year in a row, BJC and Trek Bike teamed up to offer some "Help For Your Health" this holiday season with another 12 Days of Fitness campaign.
Employees who exercised for at least 30 minutes, 12 days in December, were eligible to win a brand-new, custom-measured Trek bicycle worth more than $400. One employee from each hospital and one representing BJC shared services and service organizations was awarded a custom-measured bike. Trek Bike has been one of BJC's Help for Your Health partners since 2005, when the 12 Days of Fitness was introduced
The 2014-2015 Trek Bike Winners
Lindsey Naylor, Alton Memorial Hospital
Rachel Simoneau, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Terryann Sweeny, BJC HealthCare
Edward Lewis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Cathleen Carroll, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital
Kayla Page, Boone Hospital Center
Tracey Wayne, Christian Hospital
Beatriz Wehrmann, Missouri Baptist Medical Center
Jacob Smith, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital
LaDonna Wideman, Parkland Health Center
Allison Lavine, Progress West Hospital
Lynn McMurtry, St. Louis Children's Hospital
There were 529 submissions this year's 12 Days of Fitness campaign.
It's never too late to start
Not only can exercise help keep your stress in check during the holiday season — it also can help you age more gracefully. With today's scientific advances and medical technology, the average life expectancy for men and women is increasing. And those who are living longer lives are looking for a higher quality of life with independent, healthy living.
"Exercise is a great way to keep older people active -- and it's never too late to begin an exercise program," says Jeremy Koerber, BJC WellAware fitness center manager. "But it should be approached with caution. Exercise doesn't have to be vigorous to be beneficial. Even a walk around the park or 30 minutes working in the garden can be helpful for both body and mind -- at any age."
Also, if 30 minutes of exercise at one time seems too challenging, research suggests that three 10-minute intervals spread out over the day are just as effective.
It's all about balance
The benefits of keeping fit as you age are many, Koerber says, including increased metabolism, increased bone density, more flexibility and improved mood. To achieve and maintain physical and cardiovascular fitness, health professionals recommend following a balanced fitness program. That means:
Walking benefits everyone
- If you have an existing medical condition or are just starting an exercise program, be sure to consult your health care provider before starting to make sure the exercise program you choose is designed with your health and wellness in mind.
- If you're just starting an exercise program, start slowly -- with moderate, not vigorous, physical activity -- and gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.
- Choose an activity you enjoy. You're more likely to continue exercising if you're doing something you like.
- Be sure to start any workout session with proper warm-up exercises and finish with a cool-down period and stretching.
"Fit people may think walking is too easy to keep them fit. Overweight people may wonder if they really can become trim by walking. Older people and those with medical conditions such as osteoporosis or heart disease may wonder if walking is safe," Koerber says. "In fact, walking works for people of all ages, fitness levels, weights and health conditions.
"Walking is easy because you can do it almost anywhere and at any time," Koerber adds.
The fountain of youth
Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well. But exercise reverses that — and can even add years to your life. According to the American Heart Association, for each hour of regular exercise you get, you'll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don't start exercising until middle age.
So, what are you waiting for?
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