Here at Walker Tracker, we love any excuse to celebrate. Birthdays, achievements, national coffee day… you get the idea, and Halloween is no exception. It’s not very often that you get to dress up and go to work and it’s not only acceptable but encouraged!
You may have noticed that your map has been haunted by ghoulish shades of black and red in honor of All Hallows Eve. Enjoy the fun colors while they’re here and
(80’s Jazzercize instructor, Pregnant Unicorn, Jack from the Titanic & The Queen of Halloween)
UPDATE: Infrastructure upgrade was successful. Thanks for your patience!
The Walker Tracker websites and mobile apps will be briefly unavailable for a maintenance window at 9pm PDT on October 22nd in order to upgrade infrastructure. We will post updates to our status page. Thanks for your patience.
We have an awesome staff at Walker Tracker and are proud and excited to introduce you to our newest team members.
Abby (Customer Support Specialist)
So I moved far away from the snow.
I graduated with my Master’s degree in Art Therapy. Anyone who’s ever gone through school knows that it can be stressful; so I didn’t have the best eating, sleeping, or in-general living habits during that time! I longed for a time when I could exercise and enjoy nature again.
Since moving to Portland 2 years ago, I’ve been able to walk around and explore new areas locally. Walking and casual bike riding are my favorite forms of exercise, but I’m interested in archery and martial arts as well. I use Apple Health with the Walker Tracker app for iOS to track my personal steps. Steps are automatically transferred into my iOS app in real time, so I always know where I stand in a competition.
I’m back in school studying computer programming. Joining the Help Desk team at Walker Tracker has been a great mix of my strong background in human services, my past time (walking), and my future in IT. You might see some comics and doodles from me from time to time in the blog or newsletter, as I can’t completely neglect my artistic side! It is my pleasure to meet and work with all of the Walker Tracker community.
Torrence (Junior Programmer)
I grew up in rural southern Oregon in a town called Lakeview and I’ve lived in central Oregon as well. I had a very outdoors-oriented upbringing and I spent many weekends of my childhood camping with my dad.
These days, I enjoy cycling, hiking, and I’m trying to assemble enough gear to start backpacking. I’d really like to hike a stretch of the PCT at some point in the next few years. I try to stay active on a daily basis by bike commuting, taking stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to the grocery store. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years and I try to be mindful of what I consume because I think it contributes to my overall wellness.
I’m excited to flex my coding skills with Walker Tracker and contribute to an awesome company.
Torrence uses a Misfit Shine 2:
The misfit is lightweight and flexible. I like that I can wear it on my wrist or clip it on my shoe, which produces more accurate results when cycling. Also, their support team is extremely responsive.
Everywhere I have lived has been so beautiful it has encouraged me to get out and explore. Hiking the mountains in Idaho, walking the beaches at the coast, and hiking/walking all around Corvallis, Oregon.
For the past 4+ years, I have been working with women battling breast cancer, which really gave me the passion for being active and eating well. While it certainly doesn’t prevent it, living an active healthy lifestyle is shown to greatly reduce your risk of cancer. I’m excited to bring this passion to Walker Tracker and the companies we work with.
I love walking. My favorite thing about living in the city has been being able to walk to work and most places I need to go. I am also very into weight training. I enjoy seeing how far I can push my body and increasing my strength. I’ve been wearing the Fitbit
I am a HUGE Timbers fan, and I am so excited to live in the city, and cheer them on from their hometown! At one of their games this year I won a jersey signed by the whole team, and, I swear, it made my whole month!
Stephanie wears a Fitbit Blaze and likes that her weight and sleep are automatically transferred to Walker Tracker’s app and website, earning her points in the competition.
My dog is my little fur baby! I rescued her eight and a half ears ago when I was working at an animal shelter. I loved the idea of rescuing a pit bull mix and making her an ambassador for the breed. She has visited nursing homes, schools, and countless other community events. She is my best friend, and constantly by my side.
I am thrilled to introduce you to our guest blogger, Ashley, from Dovel Technologies. They have been walking (and running, and swimming, and biking, and – you get the point) with Walker Tracker since 2014. Quite the model for an encouraging and engaging Wellness program, their communications to participants are meaningful, applicable and continue to draw attention back to overall wellness. We have the chance to share one of their fun and inspiring emails (below) with our community. Along with the admin at Dovel, we encourage you to reach out to your participants and drive engagement!
Why Try New Tastes?
Many people get in a food rut. We eat the same thing every day because it’s fast, easy, and we like it! The problem is that a limited diet equals a limited number of vitamins and minerals. Trying new foods helps expand your nutritional variety and improve your overall diet. For those of you who are parents (or aunts, uncles, cousins, babysitters, and more), being adventurous by trying new foods sets a good example for kids. And who knows, you may discover a new favorite food!
Not sure what to try? The easiest way is to walk up and down the produce aisle at your local grocery store until you spot something you’ve never tried before, and then google how to prepare it. Here’s a list of 5 in-season fruits and vegetables to get you started:
―Jicama. A jimaca (otherwise known as a Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip) is a juicy, sweet, and nutty root vegetable with a distinct crunch. It is most commonly enjoyed raw, but you can cook jicama, too. Its white flesh stays crisp when cooked briefly. Make sure to peel off the thick, papery skin before eating using a chef’s knife (not a vegetable peeler). Jimaca is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
―Spaghetti squash. A spaghetti squash is an oblong, pale yellow vegetable from the squash family that usually weighs between 2 and 3 pounds. Once cooked, the soft inside of the vegetable falls away from the skin in ribbons or strands like spaghetti. At only 42 calories per cup, it makes a great substitute for pasta!
―Quince. A quince is a hard, round or pear-shaped fruit that looks and tastes like a cross between an apple and pear. Quinces are inedible raw, but once cooked they develop a slightly grainy texture similar to a firm pear and a lovely rosy amber color. Just one quince contains nearly one-quarter of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C!
―Figs. Many people grew up eating Fig Newton cookies as a child, but have never seen the fruit in its natural form! A fig is a soft, pear-shaped fruit with sweet dark flesh and many small seeds. Figs can be eaten fresh or dried. Figs are high in fiber and a good source of several essential minerals, including magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium.
―Persimmons. A persimmon is a sweet reddish-orange fruit that resembles a large tomato. These fruits can be eaten fresh, dried, raw, or cooked, which changes the flavor, but they are generally sweet and pulpy. Some people prefer to scoop out the insides of either type, but the skins are edible too. Make sure to let the persimmon ripen to a fully soft state before eating it. Persimmons are a great source of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
There is far more to achieving your goals than mere positive thinking. Research has shown that only having positive fantasies of your goal makes you feel like you have already put in part of the work and you are less likely to achieve it. Reworking your positive fantasies into the new method referred to as WOOP: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, & Plan is far more likely to help you realize your goal.
Wish – Identify a wish (goal) that is important to you
Outcome – Think of the best outcome of your wish being fulfilled (positive fantasies)
Obstacle – Realize your personal obstacles and challenges within yourself
Plan – Plan on how you will overcome your obstacles
Try out the researcher’s app to help you with your goals. It’s available for Android and iOS: http://woopmylife.org/app/
Changing they way we eat is hard…really hard. The foods we eat have an important impact on health, and meals often become the center of our social and family lives. Making major changes in diet requires more than willpower, it requires new knowledge and skills.
Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jon Alberts and Ken Rubin of Rouxbe Cooking School. With our new flexible points system and communications tools, we’re excited to introduce new partners, like Rouxbe, that can “spice up” a wellness program with fun and innovative programs for employees. Their fabulous on-line cooking classes make it easy for participants to introduce healthy, plant-based, meals into their daily life.
So, I asked Ken, Rouxbe’s Vice President of Culinary Training, to write up an introduction to their program:
A Case For Cooking More and Enjoying It
By Ken Rubin
We know what types of food we should be eating, but how does that translate to what is actually at the dinner plate? Most of us never learned how to cook, so don’t blame yourself. To close the gap between what you “know” and what you “do”, it just takes a few first steps.
At Rouxbe (Roo-bee) Cooking School we’ve been addressing this challenge for over 10 years. We’ve learned that the missing link between food and health is cooking. It’s that simple. Just like a fitness or walking program, you seeing improvement and progress not based on just knowing what to do but by just actually doing it.
We focus on making the foods that you know you need to eat taste good. The inclusion of more plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains into our daily meals and snacks has proven to make people not only feel better, but can sometimes help treat and even reverse common chronic conditions.
Rouxbe developed a specific nutrition literacy and foundational cooking course called Culinary Rx to teach anyone healthy cooking skills with delicious results.
The most successful wellness programs include initiatives that engage people, whether to enhance morale or to drive better health outcomes. Culinary Rx does both.
I’d like to share with you the positive results from a recent survey of over 1000 recent participants:
• 99% would recommend the course to others
• 92% gained confidence in their cooking ability
• 88% are now motivated to adopt better overall healthier habits
• 42% are reducing meat consumption, increasing plant-based foods
Our overall goal is to help people make the challenging shift to a healthier diet in a manner that drives long-term behavioral change. People learn what to eat to support their health, but if they can’t cook it and make it taste delicious, the change won’t last. We help inspire people to enjoy the process on their own terms, so cooking becomes less of a chore and good food becomes more a normal part of a healthier life.
About the Author
Ken Rubin is Vice President of Culinary Training for Rouxbe Online Cooking School. He is an award winning chef educator and food anthropologist with 18 years of broad industry experience and recognized for his expertise in education and training, food culture research, and health and wellness. Contact Ken at email@example.com http://rouxbe.com/wellness
Be reminded to take a deep breath at https://onebreath.in, a new, tiny service from Walker Tracker.
While walking is obviously our wheelhouse at Walker Tracker, we run a number of other types of wellness programs. Whether it’s a focus on nutrition, lowering your resting heart rate, or creating a points-based combination around many wellness factors, we’re always thinking about how to approach wellness in the workplace.
In a busy schedule, mindfulness & relaxation are sometimes moving targets. But the benefits of taking a deep breath are documented. Take one now. Feels good, right? onebreath.in is a simple tool that will help you remember to take ten seconds out of your day to reset, to alleviate a little stress, and to enjoy the pleasure of a deep breath (and let you reap all the benefits of doing so). Read more about it on the onebreath.in site.
Let us know what you think – and share it around if you like.
(Note: onebreath.in uses your web browser’s notification system, so personal information/sign-up is not necessary. On the down side, it only works in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox desktop web browsers – perfect for when you’re sitting at your desk).
What’s it take to engage employees in wellness events?
Working with hundreds of clients in my 5+ years at Walker Tracker I’ve learned that a few small things bring simple joy and excitement to participants:
Acknowledgment – announcing your participants’ successes is huge! Intrinsic motivation is fabulous, but external reinforcement seals the deal.
Prizes – we’ve seen clients give away everything from socks to a car! It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a token of their hard work and efforts. Think about a convention – what draws people to the booths? Most of the time it’s the cool giveaways!
Fun – a fun and engaging event will be attended year after year. Perhaps there’s a scavenger hunt at the Wellness Fair or a local band/comedian there to entertain.
Of course, these three items look very different for unique organizations; consider your company culture and employee needs and wants before bringing anything to the table (or Fair!).
We jump at the chance to meet our clients in person, to learn from their experience and share knowledge from program to program. Last month we had the pleasure of attending one of our clients’ Wellness Fairs. I asked Chris from our Business Development team for some insight into the experience, read on for details.
Taylor: What did you learn from the attendants?
Chris: Wellness is important to the City. They hold multiple challenges per year for their activity program, they have bikes at their buildings (provided by the City) so employees can easily commute places; and the city also offers it’s employees a reimbursement on memberships at a gym that’s right next door to their main offices. The City program organizers (who are also employees) told me this year they’re offering employees a contribution towards the purchase of any activity tracker (that integrates with Walker Tracker) of their choosing for the program. These are not things that are always offered by employers. It’s great to be a part of an all-encompassing Wellness Program that is so robust!
Taylor: Did you get to hear any cool stories or anecdotes from participants of the program?
Chris: One employee I spoke with had recently moved from California and was in a dryer/hotter climate where she lived. There also weren’t as many healthy food options in terms of groceries or restaurants. When she moved to the Portland area she was amazed with how green and accessible it is here, and loved how many good food choices there are. She said the program fits the City’s culture great and is excited to compete in it for the first time in the upcoming challenge. I also got to meet and talk with the Mayor for a few minutes, and that was pretty cool as well.
Taylor: If you could give one piece of advice to people starting a new fitness/wellness program (whether walking, yoga, nutrition, water, stress, etc.) what would it be?
Chris: Set some type of goal(s) and strive towards that goal. Once it’s set, track and review the progress towards the goal consistently. At Walker Tracker, we believe in Pearson’s Law, ‘that which is measured, improves’. I think this belief is vital towards growth on all levels.
What has been successful at your events? We’d love to hear from you!
With work increasingly keeping us seated, it can be hard to meet fitness goals. A new study from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami in Florida, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests that by moving one meeting a week to a Walking Meeting, physical activity for office workers can increase by 10 minutes.
As we’ve all observed, those minutes can add up quickly throughout the day to meet your fitness goal. Want to plan a Walking Meeting? Follow these steps:
In the new study, researchers explored the effectiveness of a simple, seven-point Walking Meeting (WaM) protocol, summarized as follows: