by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Having reached the half-way point of my Saturday morning bike ride, I stopped to stretch hammies that were screaming at me to slow down. Across the parking lot I noticed an elderly gentleman nonchalantly lifting a couple of bikes off the trunk rack of his late ’90s Buick sedan. Bent over, attempting to reach toes I’ve not touched with straight legs in 20 years, I heard the unmistakable sound of a kickstand coming down behind me. I stood up to hear “Beautiful day for a ride” and said hello to Gene, dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans, and the New Balance™ walking shoes you see on men of a certain age.   

Indeed, it was a gorgeous day, and for the next couple of minutes Gene and I exchanged pleasantries. 

“Did you ride here from Midland?” asked Gene. 

by Beth Shepard   Beth's profile on LinkedIn  

Reading Renders Remarkable Rewards: Better Health, Longer Life

An intriguing Yale University School of Public Health study has great news for book lovers: Adults over 50 who read books (the more, the better) live an average of almost 2 years longer than those who don’t; and reading books offers a distinct advantage over reading magazines and newspapers.

It’s no secret that reading stimulates the brain — cultivating thinking processes, increasing connectivity, and fostering creativity. It also can reduce stress, boost empathy, promote a sense of community, and might even help you sleep better.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Dave cleans our offices on Sunday mornings, which happens to be the same time I stop in for a couple hours to prepare for the week. He’s a fit 40-something who looks like he could run a sub-40 minute 10K. His Monday-Friday job is at a local tool and die manufacturer — a 3-shift operation with mostly union workers. 

The HR folks at Dave’s workplace have been trying various wellness programs in recent years with poor results. “I suggested the company pay for half of fitness center memberships, but instead they decided to pick up the whole cost. After a year, they dropped the benefit because people would sign up, but that was the last time they went to the gym. They had no skin in the game. So those of us that would actually use the benefit get nothing.” 

Dave went on: “Our annual step challenge is next month, and the same thing that happened in past years will happen again. People will sign up to earn the $50 gift card, then go back to using the elevator at the end of the month.” And… “We do an assessment every other year, and half the guys lie about their smoking, drinking, exercise because they think the information will be used against them to increase health insurance premiums and copays.” 

Unfortunately, Dave’s workplace wellness experience isn’t unusual. Well-meaning, yet misguided managers implement services intended to inspire behavior change but miss the mark by a wide margin at best, and actually make change harder at worst.