January 26

Everybody. Everyday: A physical activity challenge

EverybodyEverydayExperts agree that three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic, and consistency is critical if you want to make it stick. So if you’re looking to be more physically active this year, the City is extending a challenge that will help you reach that goal, and reward you for sticking with it.

Everybody. Everyday.” is a new wellness incentive campaign that aims to inspire you to be active every day. As part of the Fountain of Health Wellness Program for the City of Kansas City, this six-week physical activity challenge begins Feb. 6, and is designed to help encourage you to establish a routine of intentionally scheduling daily activity into each week. Those who complete the challenge will not only benefit from better health, but will take home a completion prize. Sign up today to make your next habit a healthy one.

Fitness Source puts an end to excuses

FitnessSourceWhen it comes to exercise, everyone has an excuse for not hitting the gym, and Tara Jarvis, health promotion specialist for Fitness Source, has heard them all. Don’t have time? Too expensive? Inconvenient? Those excuses are no longer valid. With a complimentary one-week trial membership and deep discounts for city employees and their dependents, it’s going to be difficult to find a reason not to join a gym that is located right next door to your office.

Fitness Source, a Fountain of Health, is a full-service fitness facility serving the Kansas City, Mo., downtown community. It provides City of Kansas City employees easy access to innovative wellness programs and strategies aimed at improving their overall health, well-being and productivity. Stop by today, take a tour and let the expert staff show you how to get fit in 2012 and stay that way.

Still hung up on excuses? Jarvis easily discredits some of the most common reasons people use for not getting into shape.

Excuse: I don’t have time to exercise.
Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than none at all! When can you add 10 extra minutes to your day?

Are you a morning person? Drop by the gym before your day begins. A little workout will jumpstart your endorphins and get your day off to a great start.

What about that lunch hour? Instead of taking the time to drive or walk to lunch and spend money eating out, take your lunch break at Fitness Source. Working out over the lunch period is a wonderful way to break up your workday. This allows you to blow off steam and de-stress before heading back to tackle the rest of your workload. Also, deciding to take your lunch at the gym will force you to start packing your lunch to eat at your desk. Most of the time, a lunch made from home will be better for you than the quick eat-out decisions you’d make otherwise.

Beat rush hour after work by spending 30 minutes exercising instead of sitting in traffic frustrated. By the time you’re done, the roads will be all clear for your drive home. Evening workouts, even if it’s a stroll on the treadmill, are great to calm your mind and decompress from your workday. This will also allow you to expel excess energy from your day, leaving you nice and relaxed for your bedtime routine. Not sleeping well? Exercise might be your ticket to some serious Zzzzs.

Excuse: It’s too expensive to join a gym.
Being a City employee has never been so good. Fitness Source offers the biggest discounts to City employees. When it comes to contemplating spending the money to join a gym, think in terms of PROactive versus REactive. 

Being proactive about your health now can get you on the right track before any health complications arise in your life. Maintaining your blood pressure, cholesterol and activity through exercise with a gym membership investment will be way cheaper than a year full of medical copays.

You don’t want to use your hard-earned money reacting to a medical problem because you haven’t been exercising. Choose to spend your money on a gym membership; don’t let surgeries, procedures, deductibles and medical bills create a financial crisis for you later that could have easily be prevented by being proactive about your health. 

Excuse: I don’t know how to use the equipment in the gym.
Here’s where the experts come in. Fitness Source is staffed by Saint Luke’s Hospital with experts in the field of health, wellness and exercise. Each staff member has a degree in the field of fitness testing and exercise prescription, and is certified in group-fitness instruction. As a member at Fitness Source, you will have access to each staff member for free baseline measurements, fitness testing and a sit-down, goal-setting session. Staff will discuss personal goals with you and help create a plan to get you to the fitness level you strive for. Our staff will, at no charge, create for you a personalized exercise routine based on your goals and preferences, and then demonstrate each and every exercise and machine on your program.

Whether it’s a piece of cardio equipment, a free group exercise class, or a question about weight lifting, our staff will always be available to take you through everything, step by step. You will leave here being the expert of your own fitness routine.

Excuse: I’m just a beginner and people who work out in a gym are already in shape.
Fitness Source is in love with our downtown membership population. People working out here are normal, hardworking men and women of all shapes, sizes, colors and fitness levels. Everyone who walks through the doors of Fitness Source has the same goal in mind — to be healthy and fit for the long haul. Everyone we meet is at a different place in his or her fitness journey, and we all have to start at the beginning. No comparisons are made based on size or your physical ability. Staff will get to know you and help you create a fitness plan for where you are in this journey.

Also, we take pride in welcoming beginners in a non-intimidating manner. Any and all group exercise classes are taught at a beginner level to ensure you will be able to walk in, feel like you are family and be proud of your day’s accomplishments.

Excuse: I don’t have the right wardrobe.
No need to purchase top-of-the-line, name-brand workout attire. A clean pair of tennis shoes will take you far. In a rush and need a quick walk on the treadmill at lunch? Stop by in your work clothes, strap on some tennis shoes and get to it!

All types of exercise attire are accepted here, as long as is does not create an unsafe hazard to you on a machine. As long as there are proper shoes on your feet and a smile on your face, we would love to get fit with you. (Please be careful to not wear inappropriate clothing such as alcohol/tobacco logos, under-shirt tanks or open-toed shoes.)

Open gym
Fitness Source is open six days a week.
5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday
5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday
Closed Sunday

Fitness Source
320 E. 12th St. (12th and Oak streets)
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone: 816-513-1382
Fax: 816-513-1383

Pricing

User Enrollment fee Monthly fee
City*
employee/retiree
$30 $30
Spouse $50 $30
Dependent* $30 $20

Decoding diabetes

DecodingDiabetesIf you have diabetes, you’re not alone. Up to 20 percent of City of Kansas City employees have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Learning to live with it means taking an active role in managing this disease. Unmanaged or mismanaged diabetes can have devastating consequences, leading to heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, even amputations.

Managed actively, though, diabetes does not have to control you. In fact, proper management can help you avoid many of the long-term complications associated with diabetes. To help, the City’s Fountain of Health Wellness Program is offering an incentive program designed to teach you why blood sugar monitoring is so critical for diabetes management and how focused testing can help.

The class, called “Seeing is Believing,” will be offered for free at three locations in February. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you are encouraged to attend and bring a friend. A light meal will be served at each meeting and participants will earn a $25 gift card for participating, when they also complete at least one session with Healthy Companion Registered Nurse Jody Emma.

Topics for the class will include:

  • Why blood sugar monitoring is important
  • How focused testing can help you discover how what you do affects your blood sugar
  • How to use the ACCU-CHEK focused testing tools
  • How focused testing can improve your diabetes management

Even if you feel you have good control over your diabetes, Emma encourages you to attend the class. Often, people who have diabetes eventually fall into the trap of thinking that exercising and eating right are the only things they need to do to get it under control. Emma says this is not an effective management strategy for the disease.

“Monitoring your blood sugar regularly gives you the facts. In order to know how various foods, activities, medications, illness and even changing moods affect your blood sugar, you must test,” she says.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, blood monitoring can provide critical indicators for how well you are doing in an effort to minimize your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is the resulting diagnosis when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, explains Emma. Those who have pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and may have some problems from diabetes already.

“Symptoms of diabetes often appear gradually, and are many times attributed to other sources, such as not getting enough sleep, or being under stress,” Emma says. “The first symptoms include fatigue and excessive thirst, which leads to frequent urination due to the increase in fluid consumption.”  Additional early symptoms can include blurred vision, pain or numbness in the feet or hands, or mood swings and depression. Other signs include frequent infections, especially bladder infections and/or yeast infections in women, or cuts and bruises that take longer than normal to heal. Often the skin is very dry and itchy, and there may be noticeable skin color changes of the lower legs.

If you’re worried about whether you have diabetes, a routine annual physical could put your mind at ease. “A fasting glucose is part of the metabolic panel lab work that is done for your annual physical,” Emma says. “Your doctor will evaluate your number and determine if more frequent testing is advisable.”

Public Works, MSC training room,
5300 Municipal Ave.
Fitness Source,
Multipurpose room
Water Administration,
Auditorium
Tuesday, Feb. 7 Wednesday, Feb. 8 Thursday, Feb. 9
2-4 p.m. 4-6 p.m. 4-6 p.m.

Getting ahead of the game

GettingAheadOfTheGameIt may be cold now, but warmer weather and outdoor activities will be here before you know it. Shorten your springtime to-do list by getting a jump on scheduling your child’s sports physicals that could carry them through their summer activities and camps.

Pre-participation physicals are important because they can identify medical problems such as heart disease and severe asthma that might limit safe sports participation. Ideally, sports and camp health screenings should take place four to six weeks before activities begin. This way, there will be time to address any problems revealed in the assessment.

To schedule an appointment for a physical exam for your child at the Kansas City Health Care Trust Employee Clinic, call 816-513-6001. As usual, there is no copay and no deductible for this service if you and your family are enrolled in one of the City’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans.

During the physical, a nurse practitioner performs a head-to-toe assessment of your child, looking for any abnormalities that may need further investigation by a specialist before your child may participate in a sport or camp. In an addition to determining overall health, the nurse will concentrate on assessing any history of concussions, seizures or even recent sprains and fractures as part of the exam.

You should contact your camp or sports association for specific instructions and forms. Remember to bring the health-assessment form with you to the appointment, filling out your portion of the form prior to arrival.

What are you waiting for?

WhatAreYouWaitingForIf you’re sick, the emergency room is no place for you. Really, for common ailments or minor injuries, you’ll be farther down on their list of priorities, meaning you’ll be subject to longer wait times, and sitting around in the ER waiting sure won’t make you feel any better. With little or no wait, however, you can be treated for illnesses and minor injuries at the Kansas City Health Care Trust Employee Clinic. It’s the next best thing to a house call for city employees, retirees and their dependents. So really, what are you waiting for? Here are 10 reasons you should be using the Clinic.

10. Happy hours. The KC Employee Clinic is open six days a week, even on Saturdays.

Monday: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 – 6 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 – 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 – 7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

9. Convenient location. In the heart of downtown near Children’s Mercy Hospital and Hospital Hill, the Kansas City Health Care Trust Employee Clinic is located on the first floor of the Kansas City Health Department Building at:
2400 Troost, Suite 1000B
Kansas City, MO

Click here to map it and get directions.

8. It is on your route. Bus stops are located near the KC Employee Clinic at 24th and Troost, 25th and Campbell and on Charlotte, between 24th and 23rd streets.

7. The staff can treat what ails you. The staff can handle even urgent illnesses, including earache, sinus infections, rashes, bronchitis, eye infections, sore throats, chicken pox, athlete’s foot, fever for fewer than 72 hours, bladder infections and more. You can also be treated there for some injuries such as minor cuts and burns.

6. An ounce of prevention. The KC Employee Clinic makes it easy to keep up with preventive health care. You can visit the Clinic for screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, health evaluations, influenza A & B testing, PPD/tuberculosis testing), vaccines for infants, children and adults (Flu; GARDASIL series (HPV); Hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap)), well-baby, child and woman exams, etc.

5. Walk-ins welcome. If you don’t want to wait, an appointment is always your best bet; however, you don’t need one at the Clinic, especially if you require urgent care or are injured.

4. KC Confidential. The City of Kansas City is committed to your privacy and pledges that all interactions, services and medical records at the Kansas City Health Care Trust Employee Clinic will be held in strict confidence. Your records will be maintained by Take Care Health Employer Solutions and in accordance with their stringent and well-documented security standards, as well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). No one at the City will have access to your personal health records. Guaranteed.

3. Good times. The average wait time at the Clinic is only 15 minutes, compared to 60 or more minutes at the ER.

2. Cutting costs. Visiting the KC Employee Clinic will help ensure that your insurance premiums stay put. One reason insurers have to raise rates is because employees in the program sometimes rush to the emergency room when an office or clinic visit would suffice. Visiting the Clinic is free for you and free for your plan, helping keep costs down on both ends.

1. Free-dom. At the Clinic, there is no copay and no deductible for city employees, retirees or their dependents enrolled in one of the City Blue Cross health plans. You can be seen and treated at absolutely no cost to you.