Our Lifestyle Panel looks at why some workplace wellness programs are failing, couples staying healthy together and what it takes to be fit over forty.

New research says workplace wellness programs don’t improve employees’ health

A key piece of living a healthy lifestyle is having support from the people around you, and that includes your employer. But new research from the Illinois Workplace Wellness Study found that workplace wellness programs don’t improve employees’ health, and they don’t lower health care costs for the employer.

Paul Plakas says programs need to be tailored to each individual in order to be effective, and that can be challenging for any employer. He suggests offering healthy food options is an easy way to be supportive. The more you create a healthy workplace culture, a supportive community, the more success you will find within a workplace.

The researchers say that some of the blame for poor results lies with people not taking advantage of the resources made available to them. Dr. Peter Nieman says we have to hold people accountable, and that financial incentives alone are not enough. And he’s not ready to write off workplace wellness programs altogether; this study is in its early stages and there are many success stories.

Couples balancing different healthy lifestyles

Choosing a healthy lifestyle has its challenges, in part because there are so many options! From counting calories to clean eating, vegetarianism to Weight Watchers to ketosis… the list is long and the programs all take effort. And it can be complicated further if you and your partner choose differently.

Dr. Peter Nieman and Paul Plakas suggest that couples can support each other but you need to make your priorities known. And it’s important to be respectful of your partner or roommates preferences as well. Compromising and meeting in the middle is possible, without sacrificing your own priorities.

People over 40 should prioritize protein and lifting weights for good health

New research from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that people who increased their protein and lifted weights regularly were considerably stronger, particularly as they age.

Robert Morton with the Exercise Metabolism Research Group says “Older individuals are less responsive to protein. So a given dose of protein stimulates growth less is older individuals. So the general thinking right now is that we should be providing more protein to older individuals.”

Dr. Peter Nieman is very impressed with this study, and he suggests the main message is that strength training is more important as we age. Paul Plakas says none of us are protein deficient, but you only need more of it if you are pushing your body and increasing your strength training week over week. He says you should make sure you get your protein from healthy, whole food choices, not from supplements.

Our Lifestyle Panel this week includes: Paul Plakas, personal trainer and fitness expert, and Dr. Peter Neiman, author and pediatrician with the Calgary Weight Management Centre.