BE THE BEAT & ROCK YOUR RED to support American Heart Month 2023
February is American Heart Month, and there are many ways for you to Go Red and help raise awareness for heart health. Friday, February 3 is National Wear Red Day, and you can BE THE BEAT by wearing red, sharing at least one healthy habit you’re prioritizing – it could be sleep, stress management, physical activity, nutrition, or whatever works best for you – and encourage others to do the same. Together we can help others we know to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by building healthy habits.
Get your work squad together, rally your team, and GO RED together:
- Wear Red! Encourage your office team to wear their favorite red outfits on Friday, February 3 – National Wear Red Day.
- Make an office playlist. Share a song that gets you moving or helps to manage stress.
- Get up and move throughout the day. A simple stretch break or a workout class at the office will help reduce stress and is a great way to bond as a team.
- Hold a healthy eating challenge. Challenge your office to commit to healthy eating during American Heart Month.
- Share how you are supporting your cardiovascular health this month. Listen to what others are doing. Please encourage them to keep going and celebrate the wins!
- Learn more about cardiac arrest, stroke, and CPR.
Let us know how what healthy habit you are prioritizing. If you aren’t sure where to begin on your better health journey, reach out to the Division of Fitness and Wellness and consider health coaching or fitness classes.
Employee Health Services (EHS) also offers blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, and counseling for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol management. Call 804-501-1600 to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Show us your red! Please email any photos of you and your teams wearing your red to Christy Nealey for a chance to be featured on social media or in the next County Connection!
Wear Red Day!
February is American Heart Month, and there are many ways for you to Go Red and help raise awareness for heart health. Friday, February 3 is National Wear Red Day, and you can BE THE BEAT by wearing red. Together we can help others we know to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by building healthy habits.
Manage Blood Sugar with the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8
Knowing how sugar (glucose) and insulin work in the body is essential for understanding how diabetes impacts health. Diabetes happens when the body has a chronic build-up of extra sugar in the bloodstream, causing blood sugar (also called blood glucose) levels to rise higher than average, known as hyperglycemia. When you eat, your body breaks food down into sugar and sends it into the blood. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps move the sugar from the blood into your cells. When sugar enters your cells, it is either used as fuel for energy right away or stored for later use. In a person with diabetes, there is a problem with insulin. And not everyone with diabetes has the same insulin problem. There are different types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. If you have diabetes – type 1, type 2, or gestational – your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, can’t use the insulin well, or both.
Nutrition and physical activity are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Following a healthy meal plan and being active can help keep blood sugar in your target range. Managing blood sugar is about balancing what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are critical in keeping your blood glucose level in the range your healthcare team recommends. The American Diabetes Association recommends using the Diabetes Plate Method to create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates – without counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring.
Remember, along with diet and medication, regular physical activity is an integral part of managing diabetes or dealing with prediabetes. When your body is active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin, working more effectively to lower your blood sugar. Light walking is a great place to start and a great habit to incorporate into your life. Walking with a loved one or just by yourself while listening to an audiobook are good ways to move more. If you are struggling with getting started or feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating a more active life, there are health coaching resources available to support you through this behavior change journey.
Community resources are available if you are concerned about your risk for developing diabetes or are looking for help in managing your current diabetes diagnosis.
Anthem ConditionCare offers tools and support to Henrico County health plan subscribers and their covered family members for diabetes management.
The Balm in Gilead – Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative – Virginia, 620 Moorefield Park Drive, Suite 150, Richmond, VA 23226. (804) 644-2256
Bon Secours Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center, 2600 Nine Mile Road, Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 287-7941
VCU Health Hub at 25th, 1330 N. 25th Street, Suite A, Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 628-6401
Henrico County Employee Health Services offers health education and individualized dietary counseling. 7740 Shrader Rd, Suite A, Henrico, VA 23228. (804) 501-1600
‘Managing blood sugar’ link: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/lifes-essential-8/how-to-manage-blood-sugar-fact-sheet
‘Diabetes Plate Method link: https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/what-is-the-diabetes-plate-method.html#:~:text=The%20Diabetes%20Plate%20Method%20is,you%20need%20is%20a%20plate!
‘Health coaching resources’ link: https://henricova.sharepoint.com/Fitness_Wellness/SitePages/HealthCoaching.aspx
‘Diabetes risk’ link: https://doihaveprediabetes.org/take-the-risk-test/#/
Finding Your Way to Well-being
Self-care can take many forms. At its core, it’s about doing things that support and nourish your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and well-being. This is especially true when it comes to managing stress. It’s about being in tune with what you need to take care of YOU.
One way to thrive more is with consistent self-care practices. These may change over time or even daily. The key is to consistently do something daily. Here are some ways you may choose to practice self-care:
- Take a walk or hike
- Read for pleasure
- Keep a journal
- Make time for friends
- Eat healthy foods
- Listen to calming music
- Make sleep a priority
- Make time for health care appointments
To get a jump start on setting up daily self-care activities, use a monthly calendar to record your efforts. Intentionally set aside time within your day to:
Be mindful – such as a gratitude journal or avoid doing other things while eating to become a mindful eater
Move more – like getting up from your desk to take a walk break or track your steps
Nourish your body – bringing healthy snacks to work and avoid overeating at night
Sleep well – use ear plugs, a fan, or a white noise machine to block out disruptive nighttime noise
Whether they suit you on a daily or you commit to them once a month, make it a priority to add them to your routine to help yourself feel better, whenever.
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn, American Actor
Life’s Essential 8
Life’s Essential 8 are the key measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health, as defined by the American Heart Association. Better cardiovascular health helps lower the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other major health problems.
The Division of Fire Continues Their Reign
The May 6th all-employee kick-off reenergized the sixth anniversary of the Public Safety Games season. Forty-six registered athletes between Police, Fire, and Sheriff began to compete for the 2022 Fittest Public Safety Division bragging rights by accumulating as many points as possible over four weeks. There were three individual events, four team events, and ten mini-event challenges for the athletes to attempt. (Visit our SharePoint page for a complete list of events.) The top teams with the most points earned them a spot in the head-to-head final obstacle course challenge, and the division with the highest total number of points was declared the overall division winner. The energy and motivation surrounding the events by each athlete was invigorating and really turned up the heat of the friendly competition. (Check out our SharePoint page to see pictures of each challenge.)
There was a lot of anticipation going into the final team challenge as there was no clear overall winner at that time. Thus, the first to finish the final challenge would be the decide the winner for the entire Public Safety Games season!
The final competition was the consummation of many performance tasks a tactical athlete could endure: teamwork, communication, tactical awareness, mental acuity, dexterity, maneuvering, endurance tasks, strength tasks, and the overall ability to work for an extended period in a high-stress environment. Zachary Sayles and Nathan Beahm from the Division of Fire went head-to-head with Dustin Hazelgrove and Trevor Holmes from the Police Division for the title by completing a seven-part obstacle course with a mental twist:
View the Final Obstacle Course Event recap video.
Congratulations to Zachary Sayles, Nathan Beahm, and the Division of Fire for claiming the Fittest Public Safety Division of the year title for the fourth time! Their names have been added to the Public Safety Games “Fittest Public Safety Division” plaque inside the lobby at the Henrico Training Center. We look forward to the 7th anniversary of the Public Safety Games in 2023, as our vision continues to unfold.
If you are sworn public safety personnel interested in either the Public Safety Games or joining our sworn-only fitness programs, please contact Joshua Gaskins at email@example.com or 501-7218.
For more information about all of our programs, please view the Fitness and Wellness Division Sharepoint page.
Reimagined space transforms into a Wellness Room for County 911 Dispatchers
County 9-1-1 Dispatchers within the Police Division usually experience overwhelming volumes of emotionally charged 911 calls from citizens needing help quickly. In addition, they often give essential first aid assistance over the phone while communicating with first responders who are on the way to the emergency. Even with the best training on controlling emotions when taking a call, this is psychologically draining for Emergency Dispatchers. After a traumatic incident, it is necessary to decompress for a few moments in healthy ways before getting back on the phone lines to do it all over again.
To aid in this and their employee wellness, the Police Division, the Human Resources Department’s Division of Fitness & Wellness (F&W), and the Emergency Management & Workplace Safety (EMWS) Office worked together to create a beneficial solution. The 9-1-1 Dispatchers now have a Wellness Room, or quiet room, to decompress and talk about a stressful call. Furthermore, F&W will continue to collaborate with the Police Division to provide workouts, mobility flows, and yoga stretches for the officers.
Many hands came together to make this space a reality. A very special THANK YOU goes out to the Police Divsion, especially the Radio Shop, Officer Milleker, Officer Lehatto, Lieutenant Burroughs, Emergency Management & Workplace Safety Office, Joey Pacelli with F&W, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Healthy Spring Recipes
As the weather gets warmer and we get busier, you may forget to eat or to eat only what’s convenient. This can mean less nutritious, healthy meals. With Spring right around the corner, what better time to enjoy fresh vegetables. Take the guesswork out of your meal planning and try one of these vibrant recipes:
Your Fittest Year Starts Here!
Are you in an exercise slump? It happens, but are you going to sit there and let yourself join the ranks of the formerly fit? Unlike other vacations, exercise breaks generally last longer than you’d like – and the mementos they come with are ones you’d rather not hang on to. Two missed workouts snowball into two months of missed workouts, and suddenly you can’t button your jeans or do a pushup to save your life. In fact, research shows that body fat, weight, and waist size can rise – and fitness levels can dip – after just a five-week hiatus.
The new year is the perfect time to make your comeback. Regardless of what has been keeping you on the sidelines – a hectic schedule, an injury, a new baby, etc. – there is a solution. It’s not just physical roadblocks: there are also psychological and logistical challenges as well. Whether you’re looking to lose pounds, eat healthier or simple stick to a regular workout schedule, reaching your diet and fitness goals can be daunting. That’s where the Fitness and Wellness Division comes in – with Health Coaching services, kick-butt exercise programming and knowledgeable staff to help you hit whatever target you’re aiming for.
The New Year is upon us and perhaps you are already thinking about a New Year Resolution or two to master in 2022. Before deciding on your plans, we invite you to join the Fitness & Wellness Division in tackling exercise/physical activity consistency with our year-long quest of achieving 2022 minutes of exercise/physical activity each quarter in 2022.
The challenge starts by breaking down the year into quarters or 13-week blocks. Each quarter the primary goal is to achieve 2022 minutes of exercise or physical activity. This may seem like a daunting task, however, when broken down 2022 minutes equals 155.5 minutes per week or 2 hours and 36 minutes per week. Broken down further, 2022 minutes per 13 weeks can be achieved by engaging in exercise/physical activity for…
- 23 minutes per day
- 31 minutes 5 days a week
- 39 minutes 4 days a week
- 52 minutes 3 days a week
Increasing physical activity by going for a walk, taking on an at-home exercise video, or attending a fitness class all work! This does not have to be strenuous exercise.
In addition to the 2022 minutes of physical activity each quarter (13 weeks), you can decide to tackle your secondary goal. You decide, and then let Fitness & Wellness know. It’s that simple.
- Quarter 1 (January – March): Lose 13! Thirteen pounds, or 13 inches, or a combination of the two.
- Quarter 2 (April – June): Complete 13 miles per week in steps taken and distance covered. Don’t panic – this is based on a 2,000 steps per mile formula. So, a total of 26,000 steps per week equals 3,714 steps per day or less than 2 miles per day.
- Quarter 3 (July -September) Participate in 13 group exercise classes at the Training Center with Fitness & Wellness, or at home, or at your local gym.
- Quarter 4 (October – December) Improve your nutrition and try 13 new recipes! Fitness & Wellness will post a wide variety of recipes for participants to try, or you can find recipes that meet your unique nutritional goals.
And to assist you in keeping track of all that you are doing, Fitness & Wellness will supply you with an Excel spreadsheet so you can enter your exercise/physical activity minutes and secondary goal progress. To sign-up for 2022 in 2022, send an email to mailto:Fitness@henrico.us.