5 Ways to Relieve Knee Pain

If you suffer from knee pain during physical activity, you are not alone. One study from Gallup-Healthways found that 26% of the adult population in the US suffers from knee pain. Don’t let your bad knees limit you from reaching your full weight improvement potential. Instead, start implementing the strategies below to build your knees back up stronger for a leaner and pain-free future self!

5-WAYS-TO-RELIEVE-KNEE-PAIN

1. Engage in low-impact cardio

High impact cardio, like running and jumping, can cause a lot of unnecessary stress on the body and has potential to lead to muscle and joint injuries. For safe knees, incorporate different methods of low-impact cardio to your workouts. Some examples of low impact cardio include the stair climber or step-ups, swimming, speed walking, dance classes, elliptical machines and biking.

2. Strengthen leg muscles, especially the gluteus maximus

Knee pain or injury can occur when large muscles in the hips and legs are weak.  When the largest muscle in the body (gluteus maximus) is weak, it causes an imbalance of additional stress in the hip, knee and ankle. By strengthening your hips and leg muscles, you can safely stabilize the knee joint during activity. My favorite glute exercise is slow and controlled squats.

3. Strengthen core muscles

If your core muscles are weak, it causes an imbalance of stress in the pelvis, low back and legs. You might notice that if your posture is poor then your pelvis starts to tilt forward, which creates a low back curvature causing your legs to shift inward. Strengthening core muscles helps keep your back in a neutral spine position and places the lower extremities in the best possible position for movement without joint compression.

4. Stretch the hamstrings, hip and calf muscles

Since our hamstrings and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) are taking on additional stress from a weak gluteus maximus, unnecessary force is placed on the knee. The imbalances can be magnified for those that sit at a desk all day, which is why we recommend taking stretch and walking breaks at work. By stretching and staying active, you decrease the chance for muscle imbalances.

5. Wear supported shoes

When you can, choose to wear supported flats.  High-heeled shoes increase the compressive force on your knee joints by 23%. Wearing heels also encourages tight calf muscles, which can pull the foot and leg inward causing unnecessary stress to the ankle and knee.  It is also recommended to replace your workout shoes every 300 to 500 miles to avoid injury.

 

Participating in the Weigh and Win program and improving your lifestyle habits will benefit your knees as well. New research shows that a 10 percent decrease in weight will result in a 28 percent increase in knee function (such as climbing stairs and walking). Another study found that for every 11 pounds a woman loses, there is a remarkable 50 percent decrease in the risk of knee arthritis. The point is if you have knee pain, it doesn’t have to be permanent. If you have any questions, please email the Weigh and Win Health Coaches at personal.trainer@weighandwin.com.

 

Weigh and Win’s ‘Spring into Action’ Team Challenge Winners Achieve 12 Percent Weight Improvement

Spring into Action$6,000 Donated to Local Nonprofits

DENVER, May 20, 2015 ­­–Weigh and Win has announced the winners of its annual ‘Spring into Action’ Team Challenge, a three month, statewide competition helping participants achieve weight loss and personal health goals through competition and social support. More than 270 teams across Colorado competed in two categories: average percentage of weight lost and HEALTHpoints accrued (earned for program participation).

Prizes have been awarded to the top three teams in each category, as well as a $1,000 charitable donation made on each winning team’s behalf to a nonprofit of their choice. This year’s donation recipients include the American Cancer Society, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Food Bank of the Rockies. Previous recipients include the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver and Habitat for Humanity. Nonprofit donations are provided by Kaiser Permanente.

“I’m a single mom, I don’t have the money to donate myself,” said Weigh and Win 2015 ‘Spring into Action’ Team Challenge winner Desiree Amaro. “Being able to make that big of a donation was sincerely rewarding.”

Team Challenge Winners: Weight Improvement

First Place: Freedom Fat Fighters­­ – 11.94 percent weight improvement (Aurora)

Second Place: Hungry, Hungry Hippos ­­– 10.98 percent weight improvement (Longmont)

Third Place: Team Heckle ­­– 9.25 percent weight improvement (statewide)

Team Challenge Winners: HEALTHpoints

First Place: 3 Chicks & a Jay Bird ­­– 8,705 HEALTHpoints (Aurora)

Second Place: FITBITches ­­– 8,081.6 HEALTHpoints (Denver)

Third Place: Dragon House ­­– 7,577.25 HEALTHpoints (Northglenn)

The average weight improvement for a successful Weigh and Win participant after one year in the program is 17.7 pounds or an 8 percent weight loss. For those who participate in the Team Challenge, the average weight lost is 16 percent more than a general Weigh and Win participant; a Team Challenge captain loses 26 percent more weight.

TC Weight Loss Chart

Recent research by the 2009 Shape Up Rhode Island (SURI) campaign suggests that individuals who engage in higher levels of teammate social influence increase their odds of achieving a clinically significant weight loss by 20 percent.

Weigh and Win is primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente and offered for free to all Colorado residents 18 and older, providing tailored health coaching via text message and email. Participants receive fitness and nutrition plans, a weekly grocery list and unlimited access to health coaches over the phone or email. Cash incentives are provided for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, as well as other prizes for those who begin the program with a healthy BMI.

Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at community kiosks. The kiosk measures weight, BMI, and takes a full-length photograph – providing a visual progress report of weight improvement. Weigh and Win has 68community kiosk locations statewide. A map of all partners and kiosk locations can be found here.

The next Team Challenge will take place Aug. 1 – Oct. 31, 2015. Participants must sign up for a free Weigh and Win account prior to joining the challenge. Create or join a team beginning Aug. 1, or any time after, by visiting www.weighandwin.com/TeamChallenge.

For questions, contact Weigh and Win at personal.trainer@weighandwin.com or 303-694-8007.

 ###

Spring Into Action Team Challenge Winners

Spring into Action

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the ‘Spring Into Action’ Team Challenge. We had over 270 teams and 1,344 people participate!

Weight Improvement Team Challenge Winners
  • 1st: Freedom Fat Fighters – 11.94% weight improvement
  • 2nd: Hungry Hungry Hippos – 10.98% weight improvement
  • 3rd: Team Heckle – 9.25% weight improvement
HEALTHpoints Team Challenge Winners
  • 1st: 3 Chicks & a Jay Bird – 8,705 HEALTHpoints
  • 2nd: FITBITches – 8,081.6 HEALTHpoints
  • 3rd: Dragon House – 7,577.25 HEALTHpoints

Each of the winning teams won a variety of great prizes like Fitbit Charges, gift cards, foam rollers and more. In addition, the winning teams chose a qualifying charity for a $1,000 donation to be made on their behalf.

The Next Team Challenge

Don’t worry if you missed out on this team challenge – there’s another one this fall! The next team challenge runs August 1 – October 31, 2015. The team challenge is a great way to achieve your health goals through competition and social support. In fact, Weigh and Win participants who join the team challenge lose more weight than the average participant! Look for more information on the next team challenge later this summer.

Healthier Pasta Ways

spaghetti,-fork-171410

Healthier “Pasta” Ways

While pasta may be a staple meal in your home, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients included in your favorite dishes.  Here are some ways that let you enjoy comfort food while getting some extra nutrients along the way.

Add More Vegetables

Make a meat sauce with lots of fresh vegetables. Instead of using canned pasta sauce, which tends to be loaded with sugar, make a sauce using sautéed and blended vegetables. Bake, roast or grill carrots, leeks, onions, celery, peppers and tomatoes until thoroughly cooked. Use a hand blender to puree the mixture for a sauce that now has a full serving of vegetables, and no sugar!

Choose Whole Grains

When picking from different types of pasta, choose a whole grain option when possible. When compared to the traditional, bleached pastas, whole grains give you more Vitamin B and tons of added fiber.

Try Pasta Substitutions

Spaghetti Squash: Simply using a fork to scrape out the insides of the cooked squash gives it the same appearance as spaghetti. It has vitamins A and C, and magnesium and can protect against some forms of heart disease.

Zucchini Noodle: Using a peeler, zucchini can make the perfect spaghetti substitute. This option is rich in fiber and can even help lower cholesterol.

Soba Noodles: Made from buckwheat and originally from Japan, Soba noodles are high in protein and could lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Find them in the Asian foods aisle of your local grocery store.

Quinoa Pasta: Known as a super grain, quinoa tastes just like regular pasta, but has more potassium, magnesium and calcium for stronger bones and teeth.

Black Bean Spaghetti: Although the dark appearance might be something to get used to, black bean pasta has almost 20.5 grams of protein per serving.

Control Portion Sizes

Determining the correct serving size can be difficult. Keep in mind appropriate portion sizes when eating pasta. Stick to ½ cup or a fist size portion of carbohydrates and pasta.

Weigh and Win Announces Partnership with Denver Fire Department

DFD-WAWMEDIA CONTACT:

Kaytee Long | Health Promotion Manager|C: 303-619-8571 | klong@weighandwin.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Shawn Mallory Chief Melissa-sm

Left to right: Denver Fire Department Lieutenant Shawn Brooks, Weigh and Win Health Coach Mallory McCormick, Denver Fire Department Safety & Training Chief Scott Heiss and Denver Fire Department Public Information Officer Melissa Taylor

Denver Firefighters Participate in Community Wellness Program

DENVER, May 6, 2015 Community health and wellness program Weigh and Win has announced a partnership with the Denver Fire Department to promote healthy eating and active living to employees, employee families and the surrounding community members. A Denver Fire Department sponsored Weigh and Win kiosk will be housed at the Rocky Mountain Fire Academy (5440 Roslyn St., Building F) beginning Friday, May 8, 2015.

“The physical demand placed on firefighters each and every day requires optimum conditioning. Exercise, healthy eating and weight management are key factors in overall wellness,” said Denver Fire Department, Safety & Training Chief Scott Heiss. “We are committed to developing a total wellness program for the members of the Denver Fire Department.”

Weigh and Win, primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente, is offered for free to all Colorado residents 18 and older and provides tailored health coaching via text message and email. Participants receive fitness and nutrition plans, a weekly grocery list, unlimited access to health coaches over the phone or email, cash incentives for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater and other prizes for participation.

Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at community kiosks, such as the newly installed location at the Rocky Mountain Fire Academy and 66 other community locations, found here. The kiosk measures weight, BMI and takes a full-length photograph – acting as a visual progress report of participant weight improvement.

“This partnership acts as an invaluable initiative to move the community wellness needle,” said Lia Schoepke, Weigh and Win Program Manager. “The program promises to be an engaging, accessible resource for the health and wellness of Denver firefighters – an integral part of the Denver community. Eventually, we would like to expand this partnership to all Colorado safety professionals.”

QUICK STATS:

  • 61,913+ people enrolled in Weigh and Win.
  • $300,000 in cash rewards given out.
  • 190,352 pounds lost.
  • 67 community kiosk locations statewide. Map of all partners and kiosk locations can be found here.
  • 8 percent weight loss for successful participants after one year in the program.
  • 47 percent of participants with two or more weigh-ins, after six months in the program, have achieved a 5 percent or more weight improvement.

###

Group Shot Fire Truck-smWeigh and Win Health Coach Mallory McCormick with members of the Denver Fire Department

About Weigh and Win: As a free, first-of-its-kind community program, Weigh and Win utilizes verified weight loss data through patented photographed weigh-ins and provides Colorado adults with access to an effective weight management platform. The program engages participants with rewards tied to measured results and is aimed at decreasing obesity rates. Weigh and Win is based on incentaHEALTH’s scientifically designed and technology based health and wellness program and is primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente, complementingthe organization’s other efforts to increase healthy eating and physical activity throughout the state. As a leader in measurable wellness programs, incentaHEALTH’s system is designed to help organizations and communities reduce their health care costs. The program utilizes gamification by offering incentives to individuals for improving their health. Colorado residents 18 and over can sign up for free and will receive daily coaching on healthy eating and active living by email or text message. The coaching includes tips for weight loss, weekly grocery shopping lists, daily meal plans (supplied by registered dieticians) and daily exercise routines (provided by certified personal trainers). Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at one of 66 community kiosk locations throughout the state. Success is rewarded with quarterly cash rewards for weight loss and maintenance, as well as monthly prize drawings for participating. Those who begin the program at an unhealthy weight (BMI ≥ 25) qualify for cash rewards.  Sign up for free at http://weighandwin.com/. Follow Weigh and Win on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

STUDY SOURCE

About the Denver Fire Department: Founded in 1866, the Denver Fire Department is dedicated to providing quality, timely and professional emergency services to those who live in, work in, and visit the City and County of Denver and the communities we serve; respecting each other through trust, pride, diversity, integrity, and training; and working together to achieve the highest levels of preparedness, prevention, and community involvement with dedication to purpose. The Denver Fire Department is on Facebook (DenverFireDepartmentCO) and Twitter (@Denver_Fire).

http://www.denvergov.org/Default.aspx?alias=www.denvergov.org/FireDepartment

 

 

8 Reasons You Should Lift Weights

Oftentimes people think if they lift weights their body is going to instantly transform into the body of a body builder. Weight lifting is a great way to improve your health and slim down.

8-REASONS-TO-LIFT-WEIGHTS

  1. You will burn more calories… while you’re sitting on the couch!
    After strength training, your metabolism is elevated for many hours after you finish your workout in order produce energy to repair your muscles. Therefore, you are burning additional calories even after you have finished your workout.
  2. You will have improved memory and productivity
    Those who strength train have been shown to have better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span. Researchers also found that workers were 15% more productive on days they exercised compared to days they didn’t.
  3. You will reduce the chance of injury
    Lifting weights helps to increase bone density and joint flexibility which leads to less chance of injury and decreased body pains along with preventing conditions like osteoporosis. Naturally, with decreased body pains you will also see your quality of life increase.
  4. You will look great…without having to spend hours on the treadmill
    Cardio training is great but if this is the only type of exercise you are doing you might actually be hurting your progress. When you limit yourself to only cardio training, you will see a decrease in fat mass AND muscle mass. Strength training will also decrease fat mass but it will INCREASE muscle mass. This results in more muscle tone and muscle is also more efficient at burning calories from fat so the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn.
  5. You will be happier
    Those who exercise regularly have lower levels of stress hormones than those who are less fit. Strength training has also been shown to reduced anxiety and depression symptoms.
  6. You’ll live longer
    Researchers from the University of South Carolina determined that strength training is linked to lower risks of death from heart attack, stroke and cancer.
  7. Increased confidence and self-esteem
    As we mentioned above, one of the side effects of resistance training is decreased fat mass and increased muscle tone. This often results in fitting into those skinny jeans you have had your eye on for months now! Along with looking great, you can also become more self-sufficient i.e. carry your own luggage, yard work etc. which will leave you feeling powerful and independent.
  8. You can do it with little to no equipment/space
    You actually don’t need a gym to strength train. There are plenty of body weight exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home while still achieving noticeable results! Contact personal.trainer@weighandwin.com if you need some assistance coming up with some strength training exercises to do at home.

 

Sources:
http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/12-reasons-you-should-lift-weights
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/12/benefits-of-lifting-weights_n_6432632.html

 

Congratulations to the April HEALTHpoints Winners!

Congratulations to the April HEALTHpoints drawing winners!

APRIL-2015-healthpoints-image

  • Emily – Arvada
  • Helen – Westminster
  • Johannes – Longmont
  • Terri – Denver
  • Mindi – Strasburg
  • Noelle – Boulder
  • Marti – Fort Collins
  • Karyn – Longmonst
  • Karah – Greeley
  • Neona – Aurora
  • Stephanie – Highlands Ranch
  • Mark – Larkspur

Earn 300 points and you could win this prize in May:

HEALTHpoints-image-for-blog-may