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Time-Efficient Calorie Burns

It’s not always doable to block off big chunks of time for long walks, leisurely bike rides, or hours in the gym. The good news is that there’s an incredibly effective method of exercise that you can fit into 20 minutes of your day. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, combines very short, very intense periods of cardio-based exercise with periods of rest. For example, if you sprinted for 30 seconds and walked or jogged for a minute, and repeated this cycle for 10-15 minutes, you’ve done a HIIT workout.

HIIT workouts are proving to have many health benefits. They may be more effective than traditional forms of exercise for fat loss. They improve your overall fitness, strengthen your muscles, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and help manage high blood sugar. If you’re already regularly exercising, they can increase your speed, agility, and strength.

Click HERE and HERE for some examples of HIIT workouts you might try – many of them take less than 15 minutes! The key is to get your heart rate up to 80% of its maximum (check HERE for an age-based chart). You can check your heart rate by either counting it over a 20-second period and multiplying that number by 3, or by using a heart rate monitor.

It’s important to know your current fitness level and work within it. If you’re not used to regular cardio-based exercise, be sure to ease into it. Additionally, if you have any health concerns, especially heart- or lung-related, make sure to check with your doctor before starting a new type of workout.

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training Exercise Really Works | Time
Short Workouts – Well Guides – The New York Times (

The Umbrella of Grief

All of us deal with grief in many shapes and forms throughout the course of our lives. It might be lesser, like the loss of a career opportunity, or greater, like the death of a loved one. Coping with loss is never easy, and while everyone handles their grief differently, here are some actions to help move through grief.

  • Accept and express your feelings. Grief is natural. There is nothing wrong with the feelings that come along with grief, such as anger and frustration. It is healthy to recognize that you’re experiencing those feelings and to talk about them with trusted friends or family.
  • Take care of yourself. Experiencing grief is often exhausting. Make sure you’re sleeping well, drinking enough water, and eating nourishing food. When you have the energy to, do activities that bring you joy, whether it’s taking a walk somewhere scenic or reading a good book.
  • Recognize that grief is a complicated process. Grief is not a straight road. You may feel better for some time before feeling overwhelmed with sadness again. That’s okay and normal, even though it may not feel that way.
  • Talk to someone who can help. There are many kinds of therapy that can help you talk through your grief and learn how to process it. Your company’s Employee Assistance Program may provide a number of counseling sessions that you and your covered family members might be eligible for. Many medical plans have also mental health benefits that apply to therapy.

Grief: Coping with the loss of your loved one (
Coping With Grief | NIH News in Health

Cutting Rx Costs

2023 October, Benefit Spotlight September 21, 2023

Sometimes the prescriptions we need are flat-out expensive. The good news is there are prescription discount programs and coupons available for some medications.

How do prescription discount programs work? These discounts can’t be combined with your benefit plan’s coverage, so make sure to check the price against the cost of using your insurance’s prescription drug benefit. Something else to consider: If you choose to use a discount card and are therefore not tapping into your insurance’s prescription drug benefit, the cash amount you pay for the prescription may not count toward your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum under the benefit plan.

GoodRX is a web- and app-based platform that allows you to search for prescription drug coupons and compare pharmacy prices. The company claims a savings of up to 80% on generics. Optum Perks also provides coupons for medications and a searchable database for drug cost comparison at participating pharmacies near you. The Optum Perks member card, which can be used at more than 64,000 pharmacies, is free to use and requires no personal data.

Another discount option is the Amazon Prime RX Savings discount card, which is included with an Amazon Prime membership and is administered by InsideRX. It provides discounts of up to 80% for generics and up to 40% for brand-name medication at participating pharmacies.

Cost Plus Drug Company is a web-based pharmacy that claims to keep costs low by buying directly from the manufacturer. It currently only offers a certain selection of medications and accepts a handful of prescription insurance providers, but it may be worth checking the price difference between Cost Plus and your regular pharmacy.

Going Keto?

A recent trend in the dieting world is the ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short. The premise is that by consuming a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, you will force your body to burn fat it has stored for fuel instead of carbs – a process called ketosis. This sounds promising on the surface, but is going keto good for you?

On a practical level, keto diets are extremely restrictive, requiring you to eat fewer than 20-50 grams of carbohydrates a day (for comparison, a single banana has roughly 27 grams of carbohydrates). It’s also restrictive of protein, which is a key nutrient for maintaining your muscles. This means up to 90% of your daily calories have to come from fat. These restrictions can lead a number of side effects, including the following:

  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Brain fog and mood swings

There are not a lot of long-term studies done on the keto diet’s impact on a human body. Some studies suggest that people on the keto diet will lose weight in the short-term, but long-term, a keto diet is not more effective or lasting than a low-fat diet. (Other studies, however, have shown that the ketogenic diet is beneficial to some people with epilepsy.) If you’re looking to eat more nutritiously, consider talking to a dietitian or licensed nutritionist. They can help you create a balanced diet that’s best for what your body needs.

Should you try the keto diet? – Harvard Health
Is the Keto Diet Safe? What are the Risks? – UChicago Medicine

Understanding Racial Trauma

Uncategorized August 11, 2023

Racism in America is on many minds. Minorities are often treated differently, which can lead to racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS).

42% of U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace.

Racial trauma is the mental and emotional injury caused by encountering racial bias and ethnic discrimination. Experiencing such an encounter can lead to this trauma. If you’re not part of a minority group, it can be easy to overlook or downplay this experience. But racial trauma can have long-term detrimental psychological impacts on individuals and communities.

35% of Black workers believe racial or ethnic discrimination exists in their workplace, but only 7% of white workers believe the same.

What can I do? Say something. If you hear someone saying something harmful, speak up. Some examples of responses to racist jokes or comments are:

  • “That’s not funny.”
  • “Help me understand your thinking.”
  • “That’s not okay with me.”
  • “We don’t say things like that here.”
  • “What you just said is harmful.”
  • “I know you were just trying to make a joke, but here’s why it was offensive…”
  • “Is the person’s race relevant to this story?”
  • “As your friend, I feel obligated to let you know that remark was racist.”
  • “I didn’t want to single you out before, but that comment made me uncomfortable. Here’s why…”
  • “I disagree. You are stereotyping…”
  • “Do you have evidence to support that belief?”

On average, Black and Hispanic workers are paid less than white workers at almost every level of education.

It doesn’t have to be confrontational. Offer to chat about things further and share resources. Take comfort in knowing that calling people out is never easy or comfortable, but it’s the right thing to do. Standing up against racism and showing support can help individuals and groups of people. If you or someone you know is experiencing racial trauma, there are resources to help. And if you’ve ever mistakenly said something that could be seen as racist, normalize changing your opinion when presented with new information.

Boston College Racial Trauma Toolkit
Project LETS Race and Mental Health Resource
Asian Mental Health Project

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from,,and

Wellness Programs

Employer-sponsored medical benefits are provided to help you stay healthy. But some employers go a step further by implementing wellness programs.

Wellness programs provide various tools and incentives for you to keep an eye on your overall health. These incentives often take the form of discounts off your medical premiums (or even a surcharge), fitness trackers, or gym memberships. If your spouse is on your insurance, they may also be eligible.

Often times these programs will require an annual biometric screening that checks certain standard health factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, height, weight, and glucose levels. These are helpful in the short-term because they may reveal health issues that you can address with your doctor. These screenings are helpful long-term because they will provide your doctor a consistent medical history — if some of your benchmarks change suddenly from one year to the next, it may indicate a health problem. You can usually get these biometric screenings done at your doctor’s office, though some employers will offer onsite screening opportunities as well.

Many wellness programs also include health education modules and mental and financial wellbeing resources. Overall, wellness programs help you become better informed about your own health, which keeps you healthier and could save you money in the long run. Check your benefits information to see whether your employer has a wellness program and what its benefits are.

Easy Mood-Boosters

Sometimes when you’re having a bad day, it’s hard to boost your mood so you can move forward. Here are a handful of simple suggestions to get you started.

Go for a walk. Have a park nearby? Pop out for a 10-15 minute walk. This kind of gentle physical movement helps your body create hormones related to good moods. Research shows that being out in nature even for very short periods can and overall help your brain work better.

Take time to laugh. While laughter may not be the best medicine, it’s often a good one. In the short-term, it can improve your circulation and help relax your muscles, relieving physical symptoms of stress. Long-term, laughter may even improve your immune system and relieve pain. Watch a comedy, read a funny book, or chat with a friend.

Smell something good. There is research suggesting that smells associated with positive memories can make you feel better. Take a quick sniff of an essential oil you enjoy, put on scented lotion you like, or make an aromatic cup of peppermint or Earl Grey tea — just be mindful of those around you who might have sensitivities to odors.

Listen to music. Songs you enjoy can give you many benefits, such as reducing anxiety, improving focus, and relieving stress. (If you’re listening through headphones, make sure to keep an eye on the volume to protect your hearing.)

It’s important to note that these suggestions are meant to help you through an ordinary case of the blahs. If you find yourself feeling consistently down or stressed, you might want to talk to your doctor or to a mental health professional to see whether anything more serious is going on. If you are experiencing feelings or thoughts of harming yourself or others, call the crisis lifeline at 988.

Mood Boosters: 7 Strategies That Don’t Cost a Thing (

More Than Snoring

For many people, snoring is annoying. For some, though, it can be just one sign of a much more serious condition called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when you stop and start breathing during your sleep. This can happen due to issues with the muscles in your airway, or, less commonly, due to your brain not sending the proper signals to your breathing muscles.

In addition to snoring, there are many potential symptoms:

  • Breathing shallowly, gasping, or choking upon waking up
  • Restlessness or frequently waking up at night
  • Fatigue from poor sleep
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Dry mouth or sore throat on waking up
  • Sweating at night

Sleep apnea can cause serious health problems. High blood pressure, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are just a few potential complications. Some people are more at risk than others. People who smoke, use alcohol or sedatives, are older, or are overweight are at increased risk of developing sleep apnea.

If your doctor suspects you may have sleep apnea, they may do a physical exam or have you complete a sleep study. Depending on the severity and type of sleep apnea, treatments range from lifestyle changes such as losing weight or stopping smoking to getting a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask to help you breathe (and sleep) deep.

Sleep apnea – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
Sleep Apnea – What Is Sleep Apnea? | NHLBI, NIH

Splashing Around

Aerobic exercise, which is physical activity that increases your heart rate and use of oxygen, has many benefits.

It can strengthen your heart, improve blood flow, keep your arteries clear, and reduce the risks of many health conditions. Walking and running are the forms of aerobic exercise most people think of, but there’s another type that is just as good for you and easier on your joints – swimming.

Swimming is a full-body workout that involves your major muscle groups and your cardiovascular system. Because it doesn’t involve impact, as walking and especially running do, it is a good option for people with arthritis, certain disabilities, injuries, or other conditions that rule out high-impact exercise. (One study indicates swimming may even relieve joint pain and stiffness for people with arthritis, and another showed reduction of pain for people with multiple sclerosis.)

Swimming is also a great form of exercise for older adults who may be dealing with joint pain, as well as pregnant people. (Of course, it’s always recommended to check with your doctor before starting a new type of exercise, and if you have asthma, you may want to look for a salt pool instead of a traditional chlorine pool.)

If you’re looking for a pool, you probably have a few local options. Many YMCAs have pools with set times for lap swimming, as do some neighborhood pools and other gyms. Some employers partner with local gyms to offer discounted memberships, and Lifestyle Spending Accounts may also cover those fees.

Aerobic exercise: Top 10 reasons to get physical – Mayo Clinic
Health Benefits of Swimming | Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water | CDC

Top-Down Dental Care

It’s easy to think of a bright smile as the primary outcome of dental care, but there are many whole-body health benefits you can get from a regular visit to your dentist.

During these routine checkups, your dentist will examine not just your teeth, but also your gums and mouth as a whole. This exam will let them spot any oral problems such as cavities, teeth grinding, or gum disease and recommend treatment plans to address them.

Additionally, keeping your mouth healthy can boost your overall health. Our mouths are full of bacteria (mostly harmless), and keeping that bacteria under control by daily brushing and flossing helps reduce the odds of other conditions, such as certain cancers and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s commonly recommended to get a dental checkup every six months, but certain health conditions might necessitate more frequent visits. For example, diabetes is often linked to gum disease due to high blood sugar levels. Frequent consumption of alcohol and tobacco is linked to a higher rate of permanent tooth loss and oral disease. Genetic factors also matter – if there’s a history of oral disease in your family, you may want to get a checkup more frequently.

Most dental benefits will cover 1-2 preventive checkups per year, as well as some further services. Check your benefits information to see what’s covered. Additionally, you can use Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Account funds for dental services to keep your smile bright and body healthy.

Oral health: A window to your overall health – Mayo Clinic

How Often Should You Get a Dental Checkup? (