Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Jake McKinley

Recent Posts by Jake McKinley:

Taking Time for Your Mental Health

GettyImages-1307095695Mental health has been a growing topic of conversation over the last few years, and for good reason. The first step of mental health awareness is being comfortable enough to talk about it. This topic is no longer taboo, and people are learning to prioritize their mental health. According to the CDC, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.” Mental illness effects millions of people in the U.S. each year. It’s important to measure how common mental illness is so that we can recognize that no one is alone in their battles.

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.


Mental and physical heath are equal components of overall health, and they often go hand in hand. For example, chronic exposure to stress hormones can cause an increased risk for heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes as well as many other negative health effects.

It is important that we take time to focus on our own mental health, and here is a list of ways you can prioritize your mental well-being:

  1. Get Active - Exercise has been proven to boost your mood, improve self-esteem, improve sleep, reduce stress, and diminish feelings of anxiety and depression.
  2. Establish Boundaries - If you agree to everything, you won’t have time to relax and decompress. If you say yes to everything and are constantly on the go, you won’t have time to prioritize your mental health. You need to set boundaries.
  3. Avoid Negative Self-Talk – Negative self-talk will increase feelings of anxiety and depression. It can cause an increase in stress levels and lower self-esteem.
  4. Create Support System - Keeping your mental health struggles from loved ones doesn’t help anything. The sooner you open up about these struggles, the sooner you can receive treatment.
  5. Become Aware of your own feelings – Many people will ignore and avoid their feelings and go about their day like nothing is wrong. If you don’t address your feelings, it will build up until you reach a breaking point.
  6. Eat nutritious meals – A healthy, well-balanced diet can help us think clearly and feel more alert. It can also improve concentration and attention span. A poor diet can lead to fatigue, impaired decision-making and attention span. It can lead to an increase in stress and depression.
  7. Reach out to a professional – Therapy is a great way to help identify your stressors, learn about your emotions, and receive a plan to address those issues.

Getting stressed out at work if perfectly normal, but when stress and anxiety is persistent and overwhelming, it needs to be managed properly. It is important to seek help when these feelings are taking over your daily life.

Topics: employee wellness mental health selfcare

Strategies to Avoid Overeating During Holidays

GettyImages-498303430The holidays are fast approaching and as we strive to help our corporate fitness members Maintain and Not Gain this season. Follow these tips and strategies to avoid tipping the scale or adding a notch to the belt over the next few weeks.

  1. Eat slowly - By eating slowly, you are giving the receptors in the stomach and intestines time to sense the expansion that occurs from your food entering and passing through your digestive track. It also gives your body time to release hormones that communicate with your brain that tell you that you’re full. The faster you eat, the easier it is to miss these communication signals which results in over-eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register the feeling of being full.
  2. Replace sugary beverages with water - Drink a glass of water before your meal. This will help you consume fewer calories and leave you feeling fuller. Drinking water before eating can help “prime” receptors in your stomach to send satiety signals to your brain before you take a bite. Symptoms of hunger and dehydration are similar, so you may overeat due to thirst if not properly hydrated.
  3. Eat until satisfied, not stuffed - During the holidays, this is much easier said than done. Avoiding the “food coma” feeling goes a long way though. If you eat until you are satisfied, you can avoid the cycle of overeating then napping right afterwards. If you eat until you are satisfied, you will still have the energy to go for a walk or play with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.
  4. Avoid distractions - When we watch TV or answer emails while eating, it causes us to tune out our body’s signals and scarf down whatever is in front of us. Being distracted leads people to consume more calories at that meal as well as later in the day compared to those who pays attention to their food while eating.
  5. Choose fiber filled foods - Foods that are rich in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, oats, and fruit, can help keep you feel satisfied longer and reduce the urge to overeat. A breakfast that is fiber-rich such as oatmeal leaves you feeling fuller leading to a smaller lunch portion.
  6. Eat protein rich foods - Protein can help you feel full throughout the day and curb your desire to overeat. Studies show that eating a high protein breakfast reduces hunger and snacking later in the day. It also tends to lower the levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates hunger.
  7. Decrease stress - Chronic stress increases levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that increases appetite. “Stress eating” is real. Studies have shown that being stressed can lead to overeating and weight gain.

As you head into the holidays we hope you will consider these strategies to avoid over eating. What tip(s) have you found most useful to you during the endless holiday meals and treats?

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Topics: employee health maintain not gain holiday eating