Introducing Emily of the Walker Tracker Team

Hello! My name is Emily and I am the newest member of the Walker Tracker team. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I developed a love for cycling. I have been living in Portland for a year now and I feel quite at home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I was attracted to the environmentalist and bike cultures, and, not surprisingly, I discover an excellent wellness culture, as well.  

I am joining Walker Tracker with a health research background and I look forward to using my research and communications skills to help promote a culture of wellness. I am always seeking opportunities to learn, especially when it comes to new developments in the health and wellness, and I enjoy sharing what I learn with others.

When I am away from my desk, I hope to be either on a walk (really!), riding my bike, or out catching up with friends and colleagues. If I am feeling like staying inside, I could be working on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or getting lost in a book. A couple of my favorite places around town are Powell’s Bookstore and Laurelhurst Park. I also enjoy visiting local farmer’s markets and volunteering at various local organizations.

My current favorite health tip is: Re-learn how to play. This can be a challenge if you are like me and value productivity, but having fun is essential for the wellbeing of people of all ages. You will be more productive and joyful, when you take time to play. We all have our own ideas of what play can be. For some of us, it’s a 10-mile hike, for others a family game night. Whatever brings you joy, do that. Let’s find time to have more fun!

Be well,

Emily

Quinoa for Lunch!

Quick, Easy and Healthy Quinoa Recipes

Cooking with Quinoa

By doing a quick search on the web, you can find millions of awesome ways to prepare your food for the busy week ahead, all the while saving money and staying healthy. I love being able to sleep in for an extra 20 minutes each morning knowing that lunch is already made and ready to go for the day. One of my all time favorite, nutrient packed lunch staples is quinoa. It is extremely versatile, you can cook it up in a huge batch, and it packs good amounts of fiber as well as protein. Try prepping a few of these recipes on Sunday to kick start your week!

Quinoa SalmonSalmon, Quinoa and Cucumber Bowls
For this meal, I typically make three days’ worth at a time. Its very simple, and only requires two cups cooked quinoa, 3 pieces of pan seared salmon, a cup sliced and halved cucumbers with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and splash of rice vinegar. I equally distribute the reviewed ingredients into 3 to go containers, and store in the fridge until I’m ready to run for the day.

Mexican QuinoaMexican Quinoa Salad
This meal is great along side slow cookers chicken, made by adding 2 chicken breasts and a 12oz jar of salsa into a slow cooker for 8 hours. Cooking chicken this way basically guarantees restaurant quality shreds without the added sodium. Combine your chicken (or any choice of protein) with three cups of cooked quinoa, a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), half a cup of corn, sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, or any veggies of your choice. Mix in 2-3 tablespoons of taco seasoning, and top with avocado when ready to eat

Quinoa SaladFeta and Quinoa Greek Style Salad
The combination of cucumber and feta always reminds me of summer with its fresh and appealing flavors. For this meal, combine three cups quinoa, a can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed), one cucumber sliced and halved, one tomato diced, half cup of feta cheese, and a quick dressing consisting of olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning and pepper to taste.

I hope you found inspiration within this post to switch up your daily lunch routine. As always, these are simply suggestions, and I hope that you can add your own flair to them as well! Lets us know what other ways you stay healthy during lunch hour!

Keep Hydrated

Drink More WaterRemembering to drink enough water throughout the day can be difficult when life gets busy. However 60%, of our body is made up of water, and we need to remain fully hydrated throughout the day to keep all bodily functions working properly. Daily water consumption should be around 2 liters, or 8, 8oz glasses, but there are many factors that may alter consumption recommendations such as gender, weight, activity level and climate. Here are a few ways to keep your body properly hydrated. 

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Keep a glass by your bed, or leave a water bottle on your nightstand to serve as a reminder first thing to start your day.

Try creating infused water or ice. Use any combination of lemon, cucumber, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds, orange, fresh rosemary, mint or basil to craft a lightly flavored water. Infused water is a great substitution for drinks that have higher sugar content such as soda or juice. Simply add to your water bottle, or make a batch in a pitcher to enjoy all day. Here are some combinations to try: Lemon and strawberry, basil and strawberry, mint and lime, cucumber and lemon. You can also create flavored ice cubes with these ingredients as well. Just add desired ingredients to ice tray with water before freezing.

Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times. By simply having water with you, you will drink more.  

Use a water tracking app. There are many apps to help you keep track of how much water you have consumed each day. Having a bit of accountability can help you stay motivated and remind you to drink enough water. Try My Water Balance, iHydrate, Water Reminder or Plant Nanny.

Include snacks in your day to boost water consumption without noticing. Most fruits and veggies serve as a supplemental way to consume more water. Celery, cucumber, cantaloupe, tomato, grapes, zucchini, strawberries and watermelon are all great options.

Walking to Your Next Big Idea

Walking to Your Next Big IDeaIt’s no secret that walking can help to boost your creativity in a big way! Charles Dickens, Aristotle, John Muir, and Beethoven are among just a few of the many famous minds who attribute regular walking to their genius.

A study done at Stanford University found that walking, regardless of where, can boost creativity by up to 60%. The study also found that creativity levels remained elevated even after the walk had ended. The same results applied whether participants were getting their steps inside or outside—so rain or shine there are no excuses!

 Does this mean walking meetings are a good thing?

They can be! Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) have all been known to hold meetings on foot. Walking meetings can be a great way to brainstorm creative ideas, as well as solve problems. Fredrick Nietzsche famously said, “all great thoughts are conceived by walking.” In addition to a boost in creativity, the increase in energy one gets from taking a brisk walk helps those who spend the majorly of their workday at a desk maintain higher levels of productivity (not to mention the health benefits).Barbara Oakley,

Barbara Oakley, engineering professor at Oakland University, said, “walking allows us to subconsciously process and think in a different way.” So next time you have writer’s block, are stuck on a project, or need inspiration for that next big idea, get up and take a walk!

You can find the Stanford study here.

Introducing McKenzie – the Newest Member of the Walker Tracker Team

Hey Walker Track community! My name is McKenzie, and I am a new addition to the Walker Tracker team here in Portland, Oregon. I was born and raised in Portland, therefore I have grown up around a plethora of like-minded people who enjoy wellness, good coffee and nature as much as I do. I recently graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Public Health. My area of focus was Health Promotion and Healthy Behaviors. The last 5 years at OSU have provided me with a ton of awesome information to share with you.

I have most recently been spending my free time experimenting with plant-based cooking, and strive to make every meal I share with others a learning experience. I am passionate about vegetarian lifestyle and strive to surprise my friends and family with amazing, nourishing vegetarian and vegan meals. I love discovering new hikes in our beautiful state, surfing, taking yoga and dance classes, drawing, painting and challenging myself by learning to use new art mediums. I also always keep an eye out for the newest trends in wellness, whether it be a new superfood or a crazy theory that getting less sleep can make you happier…

I am a huge fan of all types of music, bonus points if it’s live! I can usually be found at a local show, or at a weekend festival dancing with friends (one of my favorite ways to get active). There’s nothing quite like the amazing energy a crowd groovin’ to the same beat provides.

So there’s a bit about me, make sure to keep an eye out for some upcoming posts on the blog!

Ciao,

McKenzie

Is sitting the new smoking?

Is sitting the new smoking? I have heard this question quite a bit over the past year. There is no doubt science is starting to show that sitting is really bad for us, and our lives are becoming more and more sedentary. At Walker Tracker we work to help bring movement to the workplace, which can often be the biggest contributor to the amount people are sitting each day.

 

Recently I came across an article by Susan Scutti titled “Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise” (find the article here) referencing a study that tracked not only how active the participants were, but also how frequently they were getting up and moving. The results? Long uninterrupted periods of sitting are really bad for us.

 

Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. The article suggests we need similar guidelines for sitting, but more research needs to be done to determine just how often we should be getting up and moving, and for how long that movement should be

 

One finding of the study was, “people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.” Keith Diaz, the lead author of the new study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine, offered the following, “if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, the best suggestion I can make is to take a movement break every half hour. Our findings suggest this one behavior change could reduce your risk of death.”

 

So even if you make a point to hit the gym after work, it might not be enough to combat the hours you spent sitting during the day. Make a point to set a reminder to get up every thirty minutes or so to get those steps in! Not only will this help keep you healthier (and alive longer), but I bet you will see an increase in productivity and creativeness in your day as well. Check back for more on that in a future post…

Hiking Adventures To Promote Social Wellness

I’d like to introduce you to a company close to my heart.  We’ve known each other for 25+ years and they offered me my first job (albeit digging through boxes and boxes of files when I was 13 or so).

Welcome to the show, CIDA!  CIDA just happens to be the company my father built.  They are extremely dedicated to their employees’ wellness and well-being and I count myself lucky to get the insider scoop.

Sometimes word of their initiatives trickle into my inbox from my dad (by way of a forward with some emoji’s sprinkled on top – he really loves those things…).  It’s exciting to learn how their team supports each other in healthy habits and activities.  The latest: a series of hikes they’re doing together this summer.  It’s my honor to share with you some insight from Mya, the Director of Interior Design, who put this together.

Now to the good stuff!

 

Taylor:  What inspired you to set up the CIDA hikes?

Mya:  My main reason for scheduling these hikes was to promote social events with our employees outside of work hours, as we tend to work pretty diligently during the work week.  While I, myself, have a hard time breaking away from my desk to socialize, some staff do take walks during lunch together.  Many of our staff do take hikes with family and friends on the weekends and I thought it would be fun to try and coordinate these monthly as a group and even pair it with events as the seasons change (berry-picking, pumpkin-patching, Christmas-tree-hunting, etc.).

Punchbowl Falls, one of the hikes on the menu for this summer!

 

Taylor:  CIDA was named one of the Top 100 Companies to work for in Oregon (2017)!  That is amazing.  What core values lend themselves to both the company’s mission and your internal company culture?

Mya:  Thanks!  We are all really proud that our employees voted us into this amazing category!  One sentence from our mission statement really seems to speak to both of these; we have high standards, we encourage people to grow, and we enjoy what we do. CIDA understands that for an employee to become the best professional they can be, they need support, guidance and understanding from the organization. We know that investments made for employees pay off to happier clients and staff, a better built environment and an improved broader community. Most of all, we enjoy what we do!!

 

Taylor: What kind of ROI do you see with participants of your events/wellness program?

Mya:  Our staff definitely seem happier after non-work events/social gatherings together and certainly gain health benefits when these include active tasks.  These group activities increase our social bond and encourage us to get to know each other, and our family members, on a personal level, which of course makes us all more invested in each other.  Those bonds make our working environment more like a family situation than purely co-workers.

 

Taylor:  I love that these hikes focus on both social and physical wellness.  We’re hearing a lot lately about social well-being, community and belonging as leading wellness trends – do you have any other fun ideas up your sleeve that you’d be willing to share with our community?

Mya:  CIDA has always coordinated a summer picnic/camp trip, which does tend to include hikes, lawn games, water balloon fights and the like.  We have also had teams for various events like the OHS Doggie Dash and just participated in the Rappel for Her event put on as a fundraising event for Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest.  CIDA also takes part in the annual Summer 10,000 step challenge where we engage in some healthy competition with other small businesses in our area. This challenge is organized through our health insurance who also points out that insurance premiums are lower when groups are healthier.  Fridays have historically been “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” at CIDA, which we all know decreases stress levels and creates a happier work environment, but you can bet that at least one dog is in our office randomly each week at any given moment (my two are here with me today).

 

Taylor: Who leads the wellness program at CIDA?  Do you have a Team or Champions or volunteers?  How does leadership play a part in getting folks involved?  Leadership buy-in is often a contributing factor to participation levels in our programs.  Do you find that having the President + leadership team involved boosts participation?

Mya:  I’d have to say that Rachel Johnson typically heads our wellness program (strongly support by our president, Jennifer), as she is generally the one to coordinate the details for most events, but all employees are encouraged to offer suggestions and to maintain a “captain” role in any event that they may bring into the office.  Because CIDA is open to these events, our staff know that they are welcome to bring opportunities to our attention.  This allows a wide variety of events and activities, as well as, a sense of ownership in our company and our larger communities.  Involvement by leadership definitely boosts participation and CIDA has always had the kind of leaders that get in there with the team and make any task fun.  This definitely crosses over into the non-work activities as well.  CIDA really is a no-ego type of an office – we are all in it together.

 

Taylor:  Any other advice for companies looking to start a wellness program (or bring new life to the one they have)?

Mya:  Just to look for, and be open to, opportunities.  Often times your staff lead you to these by their passing conversations.  I think that’s how the CIDA Hikes came about and it just seemed appropriate to coordinate an office-wide hike.  So far the response has been amazing!  We kick-off CIDA Hikes this Saturday and plan to do them the first Saturday of every month.

 

 

 

 

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: 

Social wellness is super important.  Building and finding a community helps you stick with your healthy habits, encourages you to try new things and can keep you engaged long term.  So, by all means, Community-up!

You could apply this across many of your communities; here are some ideas:

In your workplace: invite some co-workers to join you in an activity/class/adventure.  With your family: start a friendly competition that challenges you all to reach goals, now – you have others to check in with and hold you accountable.  With your friends:  plan a weekend hike or trip that support a healthy lifestyle (hint: a healthy lifestyle is broad, don’t let it feel constricted to exercise.  Maybe you go to a spa to de-stress or cook together, creating a fun and social outlet around a meal).

 

Who is CIDA?  Find out more on their website – http://www.cidainc.com

 

Please, share your ideas, successes and calls to action with us.

 

Cheers!

Taylor

Infrastructure maintenance notice

Just a quick heads-up:

Walker Tracker will be undergoing an infrastructure transition on the night of August 3rd, starting at 8pm Pacific time.

Please follow this status notice for updates

 

NYC Partner: Physician-Based Corporate Wellness Solutions

Are you in the New York City area?

We’re happy to introduce our newest Walker Tracker partner: Physician-Based Corporate Wellness Solutions.  We’ve joined forces to improve engagement and depth of your wellness program at discounted rates.  Read on to learn more about their offerings and how, together, our services can lead to longterm engagement and healthier employees.

 

“Physician-Based Corporate Wellness Solutions, a leader in corporate wellness programming, is at the forefront of the preventive medicine movement. Headed by a physician, we bring the power of lifestyle medicine to the workplace. We emphasize medically sound information using an engaging, supportive approach. Through our expertise and guidance, numerous individuals have altered their eating habits, lost weight, increased activity, and effectively managed their stress. Moreover, we frequently identify undiagnosed or ignored elevated blood pressure. Our approach often results in previously unmotivated individuals becoming enthusiastic participants in their health and well-being.

For information about our services visit our website: www.corporatewellnessMD.com

Physician-Based Corporate Wellness Solutions is pleased to be partnering with Walker Tracker to provide onsite services. Together, the Walker Tracker platform coupled with an onsite exercise seminar and individual medical screenings, will achieve the core objectives of a corporate fitness challenge: the encouragement of employees to safely increase physical activity, consider health-related consequences of lifestyle choices, break harmful habits, and become more fit in a health-promoting atmosphere.”

 

 

Questions? Ready to engage?  Get in touch!

sales@walkertracker.com

 

 

Where our data comes from – the marketshare of various connected devices

What happened this year in the land of connected activity devices? It has been a disruptive few years for a lot of ‘internet of things’ companies.  Fitlinxx, the maker of Pebbles, went out of business, Withings was acquired by Nokia, Misfit was acquired by Fossil, MapMyFitness was acquired by Under Armour, and Jawbone stopped making consumer devices. Where does that leave us?

As of today, here’s where Walker Tracker data comes from.

 

 

What about all those tiny slices at the top of the graph?

the breakdown of the small slices of data from the above chart

How does this compare to last year?

 

Our data sources from July 2016

It’s pretty easy to see from the data that Fitbit is still king and gained share year over year. The trends show a rise in Apple Health, Fitbit, Google Fit, and Garmin. Decreases are seen in manual entry (these are from the traditional, non-connected devices — they still retain a healthy following on Walker Tracker and are, by nature, the most privacy sensitive of the lot), Jawbone, and pretty much all other devices.

We do not connect with all devices (we added MapMyFitness today!), though we constantly evaluate to see which devices we ought to connect to. Let us know what you think of your device in the comments.