April 7, 2010

bene-fit Partners with APHA for National Public Health Week!

Guess what? It's National Public Health Week (April 5-11).

The bene-fit lifestyle includes staying accountable to our national health as a policy priority that affects us all.  I wanted to pass along the recommendations from the APHA (American Public Health Association), of which bene-fit is a strong supporter, to promote public health and prevention:

--Talk to your senators and Congresspeople about childhood obesity and school nutrition

--Encourage schools and workplaces to eliminate trans-fats and provide access to fruits, vegetables and whole grains

--Educate friends and coworkers about public health professions and preventative health goals

--Post positive and accurate health information via your Facebook, Twitter, and/or email accounts

--Support mandatory physical education for grades K-12

--Host a heart-healthy "snack sale" to raise money for health programming and share healthy recipes

--Get screened for preventable diseases and encourage family, friends, and peers to do the same

--Start a running or walking group in your household or workplace to encourage physical activity 

In uncertain economic and health-care climates like the one we are in now, it is more important than ever to be accountable for your own health and well-being.

You can make a difference with your own personal choices.  Set an example to bene-fit those around you by celebrating NPHW!

April 6, 2010

All for One; One for All

Recently I was invited to join a group running club, something I never saw myself doing.  Despite being dedicated to the overall bene-fit mission in my own life, I have always seen myself as more of a "lone runner" - committed to health and fitness in my own life, as an individual. 

Groups frightened me, or perhaps, intimidated me. 

What if other people don't want to run as far as I do, or what if they run too fast?  What if they all know each other and I feel like an outsider when I show up?  What if they find out I'm from L.A. and don't want a "temporary" member in their club?  What if I wear the wrong brand of shoes?

At the heart of it all lies the central fear/worry: what if I don't fit in?  At any point in your health and fitness journey, you may want to turn down an opportunity - a friend invites you to run the neighborhood 5K, your coworker asks you to tag along to the post-work Spin class - simply because you aren't sure what to expect.  Whether we admit it or not, sometimes groups can seem demotivating because they communicate a certain level of commitment, consistency, and accountability that we might not be ready to embrace.

In the end, I went to the run club.  I loved it.  There were runners at all levels, with all sorts of interests, and I found someone to talk to right away.  We get to see a different part of D.C. each week, making the outings both fun and highly anticipated, and I feel a sense of connection and camaraderie with the women (and sometimes men!) that I run with each week.  Whether we have a good one or a hard one, a rainy one or a sunny one, or a short one or a long one, we all do it together - and the group bene-fit is undeniable.

Coming soon, bene-fit will offer group-based initiatives for people looking to make real, lasting changes to their lifestyles.  Our groups will meet weekly and discuss health and wellness issues, focusing on diet and exercise as well as motivation and support, and help you break through those hurdles and detours that tend to derail your fitness goals on your own.  Truth is, groups work - so stay tuned for how bene-fit can help!