Because wellness belongs in the workplace

SUMMER 2017 | In this issue:

Local Volunteers Sought For Breast Cancer Study
Move When You Can, Sit Correctly When You Can’t
Time For A New Me
Convenient Mayo Clinic Care Now Downtown at Belle Square
Wellness at the Forefront at Michaels Energy
Enjoy the ‘Nature-ly Active’ Challenge

Breast Cancer Study

Local Volunteers Sought For Breast Cancer Study

If you could do something meaningful in the fight against breast cancer, and it only took 30 minutes of your time, wouldn’t you do it?

Since virtually all women have been affected in some way by breast cancer, either through personal experience or that of a friend or relative, the answer would be “yes!” So here’s your opportunity.

STRIVE, a nationwide study through Mayo Clinic Health System, is looking at the possibility that DNA released into the bloodstream by tumors can be detected with a blood test. This would provide a new tool for catching cancer early and getting treatment sooner.

La Crosse is the #1 research site of the Mayo Clinic Health System due to the willingness of people in the area to get involved. The study is seeking 6,000 women in La Crosse and Onalaska alone. Eau Claire patients will also be offered the opportunity to participate.

The study will lead to a greater understanding of the biology of cancer development and may even be used to detect other types of cancer. Breast cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

The study is open to women who are scheduled for their screening mammograms at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Onalaska and Eau Claire. It takes about 30 minutes, and participants receive a small gift for their time.

For more information, contact the study organizers at STRIVE@mayo.edu.


Office ergonomics

Move When You Can, Sit Correctly When You Can’t

For most of us, a job means a lot of sitting, probably in front of a computer screen. While technology has made many tasks easier, it’s made staying in shape harder. Sitting all day can be detrimental to health by contributing to increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body weight. Moving during the day can help counteract these negative effects.

Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic suggests that to begin with, stand rather than sit when you have the chance; for example, while talking on the phone or eating lunch. Instead of sitting down for a meeting, take a walk with coworkers and discuss the issues. You might be surprised what a little fresh air and exercise can do to spark new ideas! More extreme measures might include a standing desk or a work surface positioned over a treadmill.

According to Dr. Levine, the muscle activity needed for standing and movement seems to trigger the processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars in the body. Sitting interrupts these processes, but they start up again upon standing or moving. Even if you work out vigorously several times a week, it won’t offset the effects of sitting for long periods so frequent movement during the day is a must! You don’t have to do jumping jacks, just get up and move as much as you can.

You have to sit, so sit correctly

There’s no way to get around the need to sit at work, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to sit. Employee workstations should be carefully planned to minimize the risks of injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and to avoid back and neck pain that can affect performance. Here are some tips:

  • Place the computer monitor an arm’s length away
  • The keyboard should be placed so that the user’s wrists are straight and the hands are at or below elbow level
  • Knees should be even with the hips while seated
  • Feet should be flat on the floor
  • Keep the items you use the most within reach

Reducing ergonomic risk factors can prevent Muscular Skeletal Disorders (MSDs). These disorders develop gradually, and account for a third of workers’ compensation costs and a corresponding loss of productivity and other indirect costs, not to mention the pain and discomfort the affected person endures.

Proper ergonomics consists of matching the work environment to the worker. It usually takes minimal adjustments to make the workstation comfortable and ergonomically correct.

Brian Langenhorst is an industrial/ergonomic specialist with Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse who offers training and consultation to employers. To learn more, call 608-392-6182.


WellMe A New Me

Time For A New Me

Wellness professionals understand the struggle to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Determination can turn into frustration and resolve can dissolve.

There’s an effective, balanced approach that helps people develop habits that lead to better health. “A New Me,” developed by wellness experts at Mayo Clinic Health System, is based on three components:

  • Eating Well by making mindful choices
  • Moving More by overcoming barriers to healthy activity
  • Stressing less by building resilience and resolve and understanding how good intentions get derailed

It’s a balanced approach that gives participants the tools and support it takes to make lasting changes. It consists of 12 weeks of education which includes six small-group coaching sessions, and ongoing buddy coaching for support and accountability.

Health Tradition Health Plan members who participate in the program qualify for the Eat Well Move More rebate of $200!

This is an extraordinary opportunity for participants to adopt habits that lead to better health.

Enrollment for the classes that begin September 12 is open now until August 28. The program will be held at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare at Belle Square in La Crosse.

To register or learn more, please visit timeforanewme.com.


Belle Square Downtown La Crosse Wisconsin

Convenient Mayo Clinic Care Now Downtown at Belle Square

For downtown La Crosse employers and employees, the opening of the Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare Clinic at Belle Square means convenience and access to express, primary and acute care. The Belle Square clinic offers:

  • Walk-ins and same-day appointments
  • Primary care visits
  • Treatment for injuries and illness
  • Immunizations
  • Laboratory testing and screening
  • X-rays
  • Employee Assistance services
  • Counseling
  • Wellness programs

Hours at the clinic are convenient for the downtown workforce and minimize workday disruptions.

Monday through Thursday 7:30 am–6:30 pm
Friday 7:30 am–5:30 pm
Saturday 9 am–3 pm

The 6,500 square foot clinic is located at 232 3rd Street N., La Crosse, the northwest corner of the Belle Square complex. Parking is free. Walk in or call ahead for an appointment at 608-392-7400.

For more information, visit http://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/la-crosse/belle-square.


Michaels Energy Employees

Left to Right: Paige Markegard, Jen Jerome, Andrew Wiegand, Stephen Bonney, Rachel Kemper

Wellness At The Forefront At Michaels Energy

Michaels Energy has always encouraged wellness among its employees simply because it’s the right thing to do. As a company dedicated to having a positive impact on the environment through energy efficiency, it chose wellness coaching because it has the most impact on individual employees.

Jill Hulst, human resources manager for the La Crosse-based firm, said that wellness coaching allows employees to get one-on-one help in meeting their wellness goals. “We felt like it was the best use of our resources if we actually wanted to change behavior,” she said.

Employees have the opportunity to sign up for wellness coaching in December and early January with the program set to begin soon after. The first of eight sessions takes about an hour, and then follow-up sessions of about 30 minutes are held biweekly for eight weeks with flexible scheduling.

Surveys conducted before and after the coaching show that, “It really moves the needle for participants,” said Hulst. Their wellness coach is Anne Meyer, a registered clinical exercise physiologist and certified wellness coach at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse. She brings a non-judgmental approach to the job and works to help people achieve better health, improved work/life balance and a greater overall sense of wellness.

“Everyone benefits from having an ally as they take steps to turn their good intentions for healthy behavior into reality,” said Meyer. “People are sometimes surprised that there are so many layers to their wellness. They may begin by thinking they want to achieve one thing, but soon realize that there are many other interconnected pieces that contribute to their overall well-being.”

Michaels Energy has 47 employees, 27 of whom are based in La Crosse and the rest are in Minneapolis, Madison, Green Bay and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Coaching is done in person when possible, and over the phone when it’s not.

The staff at Michaels Energy is, for the most part, already engaged in a healthy lifestyle, said Hulst. They are aware of the importance of eating well and exercising, so the coaching is meant to help them take their efforts to the next level. In fact, many employees take advantage of wellness coaching more than once, as their goals and needs change.

The firm recently won a Well Workplace Award, small business category, from the Wellness Council of Wisconsin, and is part of the La Crosse County Well Workplace Initiative designed to support healthy workplaces for the 18,000 people who work in the county. The county hopes to achieve Well County designation in 2018 from the Wellness Council of America. Michaels Energy also earned recognition as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business because it encourages its employees to bike to work and provides bicycle storage and a shower and changing room as well as a maintenance station so they can keep their bicycles in good repair.

Wellness is not only encouraged at Michaels Energy, it’s rewarded. For example, participating in wellness coaching earns the employee 100 wellness points, and points are also given for participating in 5K or longer running events, with the points distributed according to the distance. As points are accumulated, they can be redeemed for prizes.

In addition to the positive impact on her colleagues, Hulst says she appreciates the program because it doesn’t require a lot of her time and is easy to administer.

Overall, the management at Michaels Energy continues with the wellness coaching program because they believe that healthy employees will be happier and more productive and will be motivated to pursue healthy activities together outside of work.

“We were ahead of the curve for wellness, but our commitment has grown with the addition of programming like wellness coaching and wellness points,” said Hulst.



Enjoy the ‘Nature-ly Active’ Challenge

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

By Joyce Mlsna

The classic Gershwin song makes us think of long and languid summer days. In our area, we pack a lot into the season because we know it’s over too soon. Warm weather gives us the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature and work in some healthy activities.

This summer’s “Nature-ly Active” challenge is designed to help you and your team meet your fitness goals by taking advantage of summer’s many outdoor opportunities. From a simple stroll through a farmers market to stand-up paddleboarding, there are 50 ways meet the challenge. Participants complete as many as they can and hopefully try some new things that will get them out of their comfort zone.

Sunshine improves a person’s mood, and so does exercise. And happy employees are more productive. As a champion, thinks of ways you can bring the group together for camaraderie. How about a game of volleyball after work for those competitive types? It’s a great way to let off some steam and release stress. Even a lunchtime stroll goes a long way in improving a person’s outlook. Start a walking group and keep it going after the challenge ends to enjoy social and health benefits long term.

Remember, I’m always available to help you customize the challenge. Just give me a call!

Wellness at Work is provided free to Health Tradition groups. Call me at 608-392-4256 with any questions, or email Mlsna.Joyce@mayo.edu for information on wellness benefits for employer groups, like Wellness as Work and the Eat Well Move More rebate.