Lifespan wellness was the topic three Chadron State College Family and Consumer Science faculty members discussed Oct. 10 during the opening Graves Lecture of the semester. They presenters were Dr. Kim Madsen, professor, Dr. Josh Ellis, associate professor, and Dr. Yvonne Moody, professor.
Madsen said the FCS department entered into a collaborative partnership “Worksite Wellness,” with the Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) in 2015. The program is designed to help employers educate their employees about healthy eating and exercise practices.
“Their goals align with ours. Get people walking, moving, walking for lunch, using treadmills, and provide exercise support groups and cooking classes,” Madsen said. “We like to focus on prevention.”
As one of the first steps in the program, Madsen said a treadmill and exercise bicycle provided by PPHD have been placed in the Burkhiser Technology Complex’s agriculture computer lab for use by faculty, staff and students who want to improve their fitness, Madsen said.
Madsen said the department has started posting footprint signage listing the number of steps within and between buildings on campus. She said they hope to expand this mapping project to all buildings so members of the campus community are more aware of their activity levels.
Madsen also mentioned a new trails map available at the Chadron Chamber of Commerce and encouraged audience members to use and share it. She also reminded those in attendance about the paved pathways along the south side of campus.
“Challenge each other to walk more and take the initiative to be well,” said Madsen, noting that her colleagues embed wellness into their classrooms using deep breathing exercises, moving, brain breaks and brain gym activities.
During his portion of the program, Dr. Josh Ellis related his previous experience assessing worksite safety and fitness.
“Worksite wellness is important because we spend approximately 36 percent of our time at work,” Ellis said.
He explained the historical shift of worksite safety and wellness from the employees’ responsibility before 1930 to the current model where employers are more actively involved in supporting a healthy workforce. Employers are motivated by return on investment, specifically containment of employee health care costs and improvement of productivity, morale and retention.
To those interested in improving their physical activity and diet, Ellis suggesting starting with one element and then moving to another.
“There’s a 99 percent failure rate if you try to do it all at once. Create positive energy with small successes,” he said.
Dr. Yvonne Moody described eight dimensions of wellness: intellectual, social, emotional, vocational, economic, environmental, spiritual and financial.
Habits to help deal with the stress of daily include journaling, expressing gratitude, exposure to fresh air and light, meditation, aquatics, massage, yoga and tai chi, according to Moody. She encouraged audience members to read “The Blue Zones,” and “Thrive,” two books by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner that chronicle people who live long and happy lives.
Filling in for Erin Norman, who was unable to attend, Ellis said Norman encourages her students to move in every class and pursue social health by spending less time on phones and computers and more time face-to-face with others.