carrotWellness

6 Great Benefits of Walking

There are plenty of reasons to be as active as possible – and according to UberWalker.com, there are many great benefits to be gained simply by walking.

As it turns out, walking for exercise will begin improving your health immediately. Why? Because walking…

(1) Puts less stress on your body.
When you run, you put 3 times your body weight into each step, compressing muscles and ligaments and stressing your joints. When you walk, you put only one and a half times your body weight into each step, meaning less stress on joints and muscles and less chance of injury.

(2) Boosts your immune system.
Walking eases stress, increases your circulation, and frees your mind for meditation and contemplation. All of these factors give your immune system a natural boost, which in turn helps your body fight diseases of all kinds.

(3) Increases your metabolism.
The more you walk as a part of your regular exercise, the more muscle mass you build up. When this happens, your body is transformed and your metabolism increases because muscles burn calories faster. You’ll crave unhealthy foods less often and sleep better at night.

(4) Helps prevent major health problems.
Published studies show that moderate walking for about 30 minutes per day lowers your risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer by as much as 40%. Walking also helps prevent osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure, and boosts energy.

(5) Improves your mood.
Besides all these physical health benefits, walking also exercises your mind. Any physical exercise increases endorphins, your body’s natural neurotransmitters that improve your sense of happiness and well-being. Walking also gives you a chance to think, listen to music or entertainment, and dream.

(6) Helps you lose weight.
For some, this is the most desired benefit. Walking helps reduce your cravings for food while burning calories. When combined with a balanced, sensible diet, walking to lose weight is a proven method to improve your overall health.

“Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug”

According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug”.

He’s talking about (drum roll, please)… walking.

Yes, walking, that most basic physical activity. Thanks to social media, the very first steps taken by pretty much every young tot seem to be shared with the world. From that moment on, walking becomes (and continues to be) a critical, fundamental activity for a lifetime.  

That’s why walking is generally accepted to be foundational to good health. And according to the Harvard Medical School, there are five particular benefits to walking that you may find surprising:

1. Walking counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes.
Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people and discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

2. Walking helps tame a sweet tooth.
A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations.

3. Walking reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
An American Cancer Society study found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors.

4. Walking eases joint pain.
Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

5. Walking boosts immune function.
A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

Our takeaway: get out and take those #CARROTsteps today!

 

Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

CARROT Founder Named to New OU Health Sciences Board

Oakland University’s School of Health Sciences has named CARROT Founder & CEO Michael Antaran to its new Board of Advocacy and Resource Development (BOARD). BOARD was formed to help support academic, research and community engagement programs in interdisciplinary health sciences, clinical and diagnostic sciences, public and environmental wellness, and human movement science.

“Our BOARD membership provides an impressive array of experience and connectivity reaching across Southeast Michigan,” said Dr. Kevin Ball, who serves as dean and professor for the School of Health Sciences.

“This is a great honor,” said Antaran. “The other members are among the very top of their fields, and each brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the School of Health Sciences. I’m excited and looking forward to contributing as best I can to the group and university.”

Antaran is one of 14 members of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development. Other BOARD members include:

  • Reyna Colombo, director of rehabilitation at Beaumont Troy;
  • Kathy Forzley, director of the Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Arthur Griggs, retired from a 30-year career at Oakland University as assistant vice president of Academic Affairs;
  • Darryl Hill, senior vice president of safety at FirstGroup of America;
  • Dr. Robert Jarski, professor emeritus, lecturer and research advisor at OU students;
  • Greg Jordan, director of University of Recreation and Well-Being at Oakland University;
  • Ewa Matuszewski, CEO and a co-founder of MedNetOne Health Solutions and a champion of innovative primary care and chronic care initiatives;
  • Telva McGruder, director of Global Facilities Engineering and Manufacturing Operations for General Motors;
  • Moon J. Pak, a medical physician and the founder of OU’s health and medical programs;
  • Tom Spring, director of Wellness and Community Programs for the Health Alliance Plan of Michigan;
  • Teresa Stayer, vice president at Spectra Med Inc.;
  • Rheanne Suszek, executive director of the North Oakland Family YMCA; and
  • John Waugh, system vice president for the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine product line in the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

“The members of our Board of Advocacy and Resource Development are each committed in their own careers to help bring about positive change in community health and well-being, and collaboratively, we will now accelerate the ability to provide exceptional experiential learning opportunities for our students,” Ball added.

Need a Great Community Walking Program? We've Got One!

CARROT, it turns out, is much more than an innovative corporate wellness program.

Last year, the City of Royal Oak (MI) used CARROT to support its “50 Miles in 50 Days” walking challenge for its citizens. And more recently, CARROT completed a 30-day “Survivor” community walking challenge pilot – with the results exceeding anything we’ve witnessed to date.

With no promotion of the challenge (except for its posting on the CARROT Wellness app), 109 people registered to participate. The participants were challenged to make their personalized CARROT activity goal each day for 30 consecutive days.

Among the results:

  • Fully 42% of participants successfully completed the challenge, making their personal activity goals every day for 30 straight days. (That is NOT an easy feat to accomplish!)
  • Getting off to a good start equated to success: those who were successful the first two days of the challenge survived, on average, 25 days.
  • By the end of the challenge, those participants increased their personal steps by an average of 22.2%! (This excludes those who began with the maximum goal of 10,000 steps.)
  • Daily engagement was about 92% overall, and the vast majority of those participants opened the CARROT app at least three times per day.

CARROT's community program allows local businesses, at no cost, to offer incentives and rewards to program participants. The program sponsor has the ability to recognize and promote all supporters on the CARROT app.

In the weeks ahead, we will be announcing expanded community walking opportunities using the CARROT Wellness app.

If your organization is looking for a fun, creative and cost-effective way to motivate your community to be more active, contact CARROT today.

Soil is Fertile for Growing CARROT

It begins by weeding out the web portals, passwords and self-reporting (which is hard to do, because they seem to be everywhere!) Then once you plant them, the CARROTs do all the rest. By design, they need very little tending - and take root quickly.

CARROT's organic growth has been spectacular since the program launched in January 2016. We say "organic" because the majority of programs have been launched thanks primarily to referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. Once CARROT completes its current round of raising investment capital, growth will be highly accelerated, to say the least. 

Global growth began in January 2017 when Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals launched a CARROT program for many of its European employees. Today, people in more than a dozen countries actively participate in a CARROT program, and that figure is expected to increase greatly over the next 12 months.

“We came across CARROT while looking for an app that is simple to use. From installation, to daily usage, to evaluating results, CARROT has proven to be a great choice," said Selim Cevik, a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Consultant to Takeda Pharmaceuticals International.

"This is not only a great program, but a great team too, that has gone out of their way to make our corporate challenge fun, engaging and successful.”

World dashboard2.png

If you're tired of programs that never quite take hold, join the rest of the world... and check out CARROT today.

We’re in the news, even if we’re not.

It’s like looking in a mirror.

For anyone interested in corporate health and wellness, Employee Benefit News is a great source of information. And like most online publications, EBN offers a weekly update to subscribers that highlights their latest, most popular features.

A recent issue caught the collective eye of the CARROT staff. Each of the first three articles screamed “CARROT”, even if it didn’t mention us by name.

The first article dealt with how employers using “sticks” to coerce employees to participate in wellness programs were under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. (Lesson: Employers should offer programs that appeal to employees so they choose to participate… voluntarily.)

The second story focused on an employer who has experienced huge gains in employee participation by moving its wellness program from a web-based portal to a mobile app. (Lesson: Employees will engage in wellness if it’s fun and easy to do so.)

Finally, the third story talked about the importance of an individualized approach to wellbeing and how “tailoring wellness programs to employees can boost participation and improve results”. (Lesson: One-size-fits-all programs just don’t work. Period.)

CARROT Wellness, with its “gamified” approach giving participants instant gratification for meeting personalized activity goals, is exactly what the industry is talking about – even if it isn't talking about it.

Yet.

 

Sources:

https://www.benefitnews.com/opinion/wellness-plans-face-scrutiny-by-dol

https://www.benefitnews.com/news/benefits-leadership-in-healthcare-winner-built-a-path-to-wellness-from-the-ground-up

https://www.benefitnews.com/opinion/precision-health-individuality-is-everything

In a CARROT Wellness Program? Here are 10 Things You Should Know!

If you participate in a CARROT Health & Wellness Program, there are plenty of great features and benefits to enjoy. To make sure you get the most out of your program, here’s our Top 10 List of “Things You Should Know about CARROT”!

 

10) You can earn two different currencies on CARROT.

All CARROT users earn one yellow REWARD POINT for each step they take. This is the “universal” currency used for games, contests and rewards available to the general public. Participants in a CARROT Health & Wellness program also earn one green GOAL COIN each day they meet their personalized activity goal. Since only one coin a day may be earned, this currency is extremely valuable, and it’s why rewards offered by employers typically require Goal Coins to purchase.

 

9) Your personal goal is yours (and yours alone!)

Your personalized steps goal updates every day, and it’s determined by CARROT as a way to encourage you, on a personal level, to lead a more active lifestyle. CARROT is designed to meet you where you are today and lead you to make increased movement a new healthy habit. To prevent people from “gaming” the program and taking shortcuts to receive rewards, CARROT sets all daily steps goals and does not allow for user input, adjustments or modifications. Following the CDC's recommended level of daily activity, your personal daily goal will never exceed 10,000 steps.

 

8) It’s super easy (that’s a technical term) to purchase rewards on CARROT.

Simply tapping on the reward of your choice opens a purchase screen where, if you have enough “CARROT currency” (either green Goal Coins or yellow Reward Points), you can complete your purchase of that item. All rewards require that you provide your email address to receive your reward so that you can be sent a confirmation email. The purchase of physical goods normally require that you provide a valid shipping address.

 

7) Answers to your CARROT questions are just a tap away.

If you ever have any questions about your CARROT program, just check out the “FAQ’s”. There you’ll find answers to more than 50 of the most common questions from CARROT users. You can find the FAQ’s by tapping on the top-left menu button on the CARROT app. And if you need additional help, you can always contact the CARROT Team directly by emailing support@carrotwellness.com.

 

6) You can earn extra Reward Points just by sharing the CARROT app.

The “Refer & Earn” feature allows you to be rewarded for sharing CARROT with your friends. You can find “Refer & Earn” by tapping on the menu button (in the top-left corner). You are given the option to share the CARROT app via email, text, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Each time one of your friends or co-workers (who has never downloaded CARROT) uses your link to install the app, you’ll receive 1,000 Reward Points – and your friend will also receive 1,000 points! There is no limit to the number of points you can receive for referring CARROT.

 

5) In addition to your employer’s rewards, local rewards are frequently available to you.

Rewards provided by local merchants and nearby special events are made available based on your location – so it’s important that you enable “Location Services” (allow GPS) for your CARROT app to see the rewards available near you.

 

4) Streaks are required to access “unlockable rewards”.

Do you see those grayed-out rewards with an orange padlock on your CARROT app? Those are “Unlockable Rewards” which require that you complete a specified personal goal streak to “unlock” the reward. Because of the additional challenge of achieving a goal streak, these rewards are typically lower priced that other rewards. The number displayed on the padlock indicates the NUMBER OF DAYS STILL NEEDED to unlock the reward. Once the required streak is achieved, the reward will be available for you to purchase (whether you actually purchase the reward is totally up to you!) Please be advised that if you do not meet your goal one day, the reward once again locks and the process restarts.

 

3) You can use fitness trackers to help count your steps.

CARROT is designed to work solely on your phone – but if you own a fitness tracker, you can use that device with CARROT. To link a Fitbit, tap on the CARROT menu button, go to “Settings” and tap on the “Link Fitbit” button. You will then need to log into your Fitbit account. After linking your Fitbit, CARROT will automatically accept the steps data from the device that has the greatest number of steps each day (either your phone or Fitbit).

To use any other tracker, you’ll need to go to the wearable device’s app and then connect/share your steps data with Apple Health (iPhone) or Google Fit (Android). You should open your device’s app to sync steps data before opening CARROT each day. Certain technologies (i.e. Samsung Health, Garmin with Android) require the use of a third-part app to connect. All of this information is available in the CARROT FAQ’s.

 

2) Allowing notifications helps keep you on track.

CARROT will periodically send lock screen notifications when new rewards are posted, as well as to celebrate your accomplishments and to encourage you to continue making progress. And if you are competing in a CARROT competition (such as Survivor or a CARROT “Versus” contest), notifications are sent to keep you updated and to remind you of important deadlines. This is why it’s beneficial to allow notifications from CARROT (these can be turned on through your phone’s settings as well as on the CARROT app).

 

1) Your CARROT account is ALWAYS secure!

Once you’ve created a secure account by signing into CARROT with either your phone number or Facebook, your account (including everything you’ve earned) is secure. If you ever open CARROT and cannot see your Goal Coins or Reward Points, it’s likely that the CARROT app temporarily had difficulty connecting to the server (typically it’s because of an enhanced WiFi firewall). If this ever happens, just log out of the app and log back in using the same method (phone number or Facebook) you originally used to set up your CARROT account.

For People with Diabetes, Walking May Help Reduce Health Care Costs

If you could save $9.07 for each additional 100 steps you took, how far would YOU walk?

Participating in a walking program may indeed reduce out-of-pocket health care expenses for people with diabetes. That’s the recent finding by researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research.

According to their findings, every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual savings of $9.07.

The research team examined step count data for 7,594 Blue Cross Blue Care Network (BCN) enrollees who participated in its Walkingspree program in 2010. Using data submitted monthly by the subjects, the researchers were able to compare the change in total annual health care costs for the year before and after starting the program.

According to their findings, every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual savings of $9.07. They also found that, on average, individuals without diabetes experienced greater total cost reductions compared to those with diabetes or diabetes with complications.

Among individuals who averaged at least 5,000 daily steps, the average expected total change in annual health care costs was $872.67 for people with diabetes and $2491.88 for people with diabetes with complications. Although there is an expected increase in health care costs for the average person with diabetes, this increase is relatively smaller for those who averaged more daily steps.

The group presented its findings at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in San Diego this past March (“Can a Pedometer-Based Walking Program Lower Health Care Costs Among Adults with Type 2 Diabetes?”).

 

Photo Credit (top photo): Vladimir Kudinov http://www.vladimirkudinov.com/

Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14166552.htm

Study: Walking Reduces Medical Costs

How can you reduce an employee’s health care costs by $676 per year? Get them to walk another 3,000 steps per day.

According to the Journal of Diabetes Investigation (JDI), a 10-year study in Japan establishes that there is indeed a direct correlation between walking and health care costs.

Spurred by the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related disease, researchers decided to evaluate the effect of walking on medical costs. Focusing mainly on diabetes, the numbers of subjects with diabetes were 4.3 and 7.3% lower for daily increase of 3,000 and 5,000 steps, respectively.  

Lower medical costs were also seen according to the daily increase in steps.  In 10 years, total medical costs were 5.2% lower for those who increased their steps by 3,000 per day, and medical costs were 8.4% lower for those increasing their daily steps by 5,000.

These potential savings could be significant for employers.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2016 Employer Health Benefits Study, U.S. companies contribute an average of nearly $13,000 per employee in healthcare costs. Using the JDI study’s findings, increasing an employee’s average steps by 3,000 per day would mean a savings of $676 per employee annually – and an increase of 5,000 daily steps would result in a per-employee annual savings of $1,092.

Clearly, the importance of walking on lifestyle-related disease AND medical costs cannot be overstated.

HFHS: Walking the Corporate Wellness Walk

It’s our belief that most organizations sincerely care about the health and wellbeing of their employees. Of course, some choose to address wellness as an “obligation”, while others view it as “essential” – as essential as any product or service the company provides. At CARROT Wellness, we’re fortunate to work with many exceptional organizations who “walk the walk” when it comes the wellbeing of its staff members.

And Henry Ford Health System takes a back seat to no one.

HFHS has long had a well-earned reputation for its leadership role in community health. But for the past year, we’ve had a front-row seat to witness their daily commitment to corporate health and wellness. Nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and financial health only begin to scratch the surface at HFHS. The wellbeing of their employees is integrated into every organizational activity – it’s truly impressive.

One year ago, as a startup company looking for a toe-hold in the vast wellness universe, we could not have hand-picked a better partner and role model.

To the HFHS staff, we appreciate your trust, confidence and support this past year – and we look forward to helping you reach your employee health and wellness goals for years to come.

 

CLIENT 01 HFHS Logo.png

Sergio NOT the Only Masters Winner!

Sergio Garcia may own the green jacket, but 10 others claimed victory this past weekend.

In its first-ever “Versus” contest, CARROT Wellness staged a four-day competition for users of its fitness rewards mobile app.

“We only developed the contest days before the Masters, and we actually announced the contest less than 24 hours before the tournament began,” said CEO Michael Antaran. “Still, we had about one hundred contestants who followed the action all weekend long on our live leaderboard.”

Participants were asked to assemble a team of 10 golfers by making “Tinder-like” selections. The matchups included Jason Day vs. Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose vs. Danny Willett, and Phil Mickelson vs. Bubba Watson.

The Top Ten CARROT “Versus” finishers each won a $10 pre-paid Visa Gift Card and 250,000 CARROT Reward Points.

“It was great fun, and we’re looking forward to many more ‘Versus’ events in the future, including a fantasy football challenge!” said Antaran.