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Friday, 11 December 2015

Employee Engagement Success Story

Cisco, a fortune 100 company, and a 100 best companies to work for in 2015, has the largest workforce in India, outside of US. Indian workforce is fairly young, and growing at the rapid pace.


With addition of new employees every quarter, effective employee engagement & bonding is an important area for Cisco HR Team.


Cisco initiated Step-a-thon event in 2015, to address this concern. Cisco believes in its power of networked technologies & human collaboration. Hence, Step-a-thon was designed on this theme to deliver employee engagement & wellness. GetActive - a connected wearable technology solution platform from 2mpower Health Management Services, was identified and then deployed to achieve this objective.

 

"GetActive is Simple, FUN & Scientific", says Samprita Majumdar, Benefits Specialist at Cisco, India.


Step-a-thon @Cisco was designed to be an online interactive gamification program. Focus was on three key aspects -
  1. Technology,
  2. Large # of employee participation from across the locations, and
  3. Rewards through competition.


The hypothesis was that the team dynamics, social component and instant feedback on performance would play a major role in people engagement & positive behavior change. Network technologies were exploited to get the biggest impact in the following manner:
  • Simple online data collection mechanism, just plug-in and upload
  • Social aspect – participants were watched by their peers online, every time
  • Team dynamics – participants would want their team to stay ahead
  • Competition & associated rewards



"We were amazed to see 98% employee participation (1,772 engaged employees), when we launched the program in January 2015. And more importantly, 65% of these employees demonstrated improvement in physical activity post 100 days of event", says Ranjana Keshavan, Lead Employee Benefits Program.

 


Program matrix & success resulted in recognition for Step-a-thon, as the best employee engagement program in Cisco Inc. And Step-a-thon 2.0 has already commenced, with more employee participation.

 

Cisco India success has encouraged Cisco APAC team to evaluate & replicate Step-a-thon for their respective countries.

 

Key deliverables from the program were – 72% employee engagement & bonding, 23% reduction in inactivity during the program and 82% participats increased physical activity above 5,000 STEPS.

 

Staying physically active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through simple technology. Join the GetActive movement & discover a healthier, happier you.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Barefoot Walking

More and more people globally are taking to bare foot walking & running. What was the norm in ancient India (either as a religious practice or as a way of living in rural India) is now becoming a modern way of healthy walking.


I first ran my barefoot marathon in Pondicherry in January 2013, inspired by author of “Born to Run.”


While I ran barefoot impulsively, without any gradual shift, I found a remarkable difference in this event, compared to my other runs. I was little slow in the beginning, as it was hurting to run without shoes. But very soon I learned how to put my foot gently on the ground, to avoid the impact of stones. I started using my core muscles more effectively in pushing my body forward. My ground contact was more to create a horizontal force to push me forward, and less to overcome the vertical force.

 

In the last 7-8km, I was feeling very light without shoes. Soles have got used to hard surface, and I picked-up my speed to finish in one of my best times.


Some of my experience on barefoot walking/running is shared here for your reading.
  1. It allows you to take light & natural stride in the body (this happens automatically through the feedback we receive from feet touching the ground).
  2. Much less impact & joint torque than in a shoe, hence definitely injury free experience.
  3. Many of our muscle groups have atrophied, and nerve endings have shunted, by wearing shoes. Bare foot reawakens these muscles & nerve endings. This improves balance and stimulates reflexology points.
  4. Running posture improves to help you increase your mobility and gives you more freedom.
  5. Improved blood flow to the feet (no tight shoes) & legs directly means less pain, warmer feet in winter & no varicose veins.
  6. And, lastly earthing or grounding process cleanses body of free radicals, which are primarily responsible for inflammation. If body is naturally cleansed from these excess free radicals (positively charged), we can effectively combat lifestyle diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis and diabetes.


I suggest that if we can start walking everyday for ONE hour barefoot, we can rejuvenate our soles, which are primarily responsible for our good health. However, you may also shift more gradually by using minimalist shoes (Vibram etc.), and then shifting to bare foot.

Staying physically active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through simple technology. Join the GetActive movement & discover a healthier, happier you.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Adding Five Years!

When I met Xchanging CEO Mr. Alok Sinha earlier in this year, he coined this statement to me – "Mohammed, I would like to add FIVE years to my people’s life. How GetActive can help?"


I knew that it is a powerful statement, which needs measurement and defined outcomes.


If I have to deliver on my commitment, I needed a well-defined program. I knew that I would have full support from senior management, while running such program. What I have to ensure is a program, which is scientific, simple and FUN.

 

Scientific data would help me quantify the benefits, hence get the buy-in from senior management and HR team.


Simple program would ensure that more # of employees would latch-on to it.


And FUN activities would create the buzz, sustain the momentum and spread the adoption.


Many scientific papers have shown co-relation between physical activity and increase in life expectancy. I am quoting here one study from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the National Cancer Institute, published in the journal PLoS Medicine. What’s particularly interesting to me in these findings were –.
"Irrespective of body type, sex, race, normal weight, overweight, or obese, everyone derived a benefit of regular physical activity. Normal weight people, who log about 150 minutes of activity per week (22 minutes every day), could add around 7.2 years to their lives."


GetActive program executed across various organizations have shown 212% improvement in physical activity during the program. And it tapers to 143%, 100 days post completion of program. GetActive team plans interesting events and competition. Some of these are team events; others are individual or goal based.


GetActive works on a simple principal of counting every step taken by individual. 3D accelerometer samples data in every millisecond, put a time stamp, and securely send the data on cloud, when device is connected with Internet enabled PC. STEP becomes the default currency for competition on GetActive platform. Employee earns currency through their STEP, participate in competitive team events, win goodies and contribute for CSR.


GetActive analytics model co-relates ACTIVITY, ENGAGEMENT and SLEEP to happiness & stress index. And happy workforce has a direct relation to higher productivity & lower attrition.


Staying active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through technology. Join the GetActive movement & ensure a healthier, happier workforce.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Preventive Care & Rewards

While we all know this age-old adage – Prevention is better than cure, we all have faltered in its implementation.


To enforce prevention, policy of carrot & stick works best. And our society has adopted this effectively to discipline its members for centuries.


In driving, we follow the discipline to escape the penalty. In auto insurance case, we drive carefully to enjoy no claim bonus credits, during policy renewal. At work, we perform to enjoy good rating and financial reward. During schooling, grading system and parent recognition drive most of us to study hard. And in sports, it is the fame, fan following and rich financial gain motivates players to excel in their field.

 

If this is true in majority of our social behavior, healthcare is no exception.


Surprisingly, preventive healthcare still lacks the stick & carrot approach. And the results are obvious. 74% population in this world is classified as sedentary by WHO, and 29% is overweight & obese. In urban India, central obesity is as high as 57% and lifestyle diseases affects 17% of our country.


Stanford University, along with Accenture had implemented STEPTACULAR, a reward based activity program to affect positive behavior change in participating employees.  And results were very encouraging, with 89% participation, and 64% employees showing enhanced activity levels, weight-loss and sustained behavior, 90 days post the program completion.


GetActive has done similar initiatives at large multi-national corporations. Every STEP is linked to GetActive currency. The response from employees has been encouraging. Rewards, coupled with competitive events have multiplier effect. GetActive program have Walkathon, Groupathon, Billion Steps Goal and 10,000 STEPS Challenge as competitive events. Apart from winning rewards during these events, employees earn GetActive currency, which allows every participant to redeem for goodies.


Based on these rewards and competitive events, GetActive program has high sustainability (46%), after 24 months of program initiation.


Staying active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through technology. Join the GetActive movement & ensure a healthier, happier workforce.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Irony of Medical Check-up

Today, it is a norm to go for a medical checkup every year. Corporate executives talk about this boldly and their companies are happily paying this bill. Hospitals, disease (health) insurance companies and doctors have promoted this concept to increase their revenue streams. Consumers have fallen for this trap as a means for preventive care.


The American Medical Association suggests that medical checkups or periodic health examinations to be performed every five years (for adults over 18) until age 50 and every three years thereafter. The requirements may be more frequent for those people taking prescription medications. However, it has to be done only on doctor’s recommendation.


Today, India Inc. performs its duty on employee wellbeing by incorporating two important programs. One of course is disease (health) insurance, and second is disease (health) screening.

 

Efforts on creating healthy employees and managing their wellbeing score are left on employees’ own initiatives. As management has no focus here, the budget allocation for this important activity is discretionary.


India’s gigantic workforce of 672 million people is gradually reaching the median age of thirty-five plus by 2020. As per WHO, workforce productivity in India is a big question mark. Poor health and frequent illness of this large population is pushing it towards a lethal modern day scourge of non-communicable diseases.


Hence, if India Inc. wants to enjoy the demographic dividends and its employees desire to benefit from economic boom, it is time to act on employee wellbeing program as an urgent issue.


Adequate physical activity has to become the core of people learning & development programs. Sedentary lifestyle is the basis for non-communicable diseases like obesity, cancer, hypertension, respiratory disorders & diabetes. Wellbeing programs should measure, analyze and improvise on adequate physical activity of employees. It should be linked to revenue targets as it has a direct impact on productivity and efficiency.


Staying active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through technology. Join the GetActive movement & ensure a healthier, happier workforce.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Fasting Benefits

Fasting is an integral part of many religions including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Many of us consider this as a religious ritual, unaware of its physiological impact on our health.


Fasting technically commences when the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass), a person is technically starving.


 

Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin. Fasting enhances this process. Undesirable chemicals (like DDT, BHA, Sodium Benzoate, Polysorbate-80 etc.) which body absorbs through environment or through consumption of various food items are stored in fat reserves of body. During fasting the body turns to fat reserves for energy. In the process it releases these chemicals from the fatty acids into the system, which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs.


During fasting energy is diverted away from the digestive system and towards the metabolism and immune system. Abnormal growths within the body, like tumors, cyst, fibroids etc. do not get the necessary support of the body's supplies and therefore are more susceptible to autolysis, body’s resource for energy. Production of protein for replacement of damaged cells occurs more efficiently. A higher efficiency in protein synthesis results in healthier cells, tissues and organs. Efficiency in hormone production significantly improves during fasting, hence releasing growth hormones and anti-aging hormones.


A study performed in 1930’s on earthworms demonstrated the extension of life due to fasting. The experiment isolated one worm and put that on a cycle of fasting and feeding. The isolated worm outlasted its relatives by 19 generations, while still maintaining its youthful physiological traits. The life-span extension of these worms was the equivalent of keeping a man alive for 600 to 700 years.


There are many reasons to consider fasting as a benefit to one's health. Globally, societies have come to view fasting as essential to Homo-sapiens survival, spiritually or physiologically.


Fasting & staying active is core to our good health. GetActive enables physical activity through technology. Join the GetActive movement & reap the benefits of good health.




Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Mind vs. Technology

India has over 1.25 billion population. As per the recent survey by global body on Preventive Care, more than 25% (65 Million) of Americans are consciously taking concrete action on their health in terms of physical activity & diet programs. However, this number is abysmally low for India at 0.05% (~0.625 Million).


Couple of decades back, we may have attributed this big chasm to America’s technology and financial advancement. Today, this is not true. India is equally up breast on technology adoption, and urban India (wellness is an urban phenomenon) is financially well off.


 

Then why the wearable and mobile wellness Apps has not made similar inroads, as Facebook & Whatsapp has done in this country?


If wearable can help reduce the healthcare GDP spend by few % points in Australia, and global health Insurance companies can open their wallet allowing clients to spend up to $100 on wearable products in US & Europe, why India has not warmed-up to this new trend?


I think the problem lies in our culture. As one of my friends says, “we talk salads, and eat samosas!”.


Unless we move from just health awareness bubble to taking concrete steps in implementing our thoughts, technology may not bring huge dividends. Today wearable are available in less than INR 1000. Many mobile companies may start bundling wearable free with mobile phones. But that will not change the outcome, unless we decide to take steps in implementing wellness regime like we do our religion.


Technology is just an enabler. Once you have made-up your mind, it assists you with DATA, support you with your social group and motivates you through healthy competition & peer pressure. However, it cannot control your mind, at least in today’s context.


You will have to leave your couch and abandon your samosas, if India wants to enjoy the demographic dividends in the next decade. Otherwise, a sick and lethargic population, however large it is, cannot move India forward.


GetActive is a humble attempt in that direction. Indians have clocked 6 Billion steps using GetActive. I want to see this number swell to 20 Trillion by 2020. Please join GetActive to add your STEP towards an active & a happy world.





Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Bitter Truth

India has gigantic workforce of 672 million people. With twelve million workers joining every year, country boast of world’s largest number of young employees.


Workforce productivity in India is a big question mark. Poor health, frequent illness and large population falling victim to lethal modern day scourge – non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have posed a serious threat today. And as India ages, this burden can become even heavier.


 

Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes form the bulk of NCDs.


In India, chilling 60% of death is attributed to NCDs. 40% of all hospital stays and 35% of all recorded outpatient visits are due to NCDs. Probability of death from NCDs during the most productive age i.e. 30-65 is as high as 26%.


India spends a meager 1.86% of GDP on healthcare, and bulk of that is spent on communicable diseases. Hence, the burden of managing the menace of NCDs falls on employer. Private & public sectors have to work in tandem with civil society, medical fraternity, health insurance companies and wellness organizations to tackle this emerging menace. India Inc. has too much at stake. It stands to lose staggering $4.5 trillion before 2030. This figure is 50% of their revenue.


Potential victims (you and me) have to participate actively in primary prevention, early screening process, and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, as promoted by our employer, society and public health authorities.


The last mile connectivity to win this battle over NCDs is solely dependent on people. We have to adopt this change to save our families, to prevent breakdown of our economy and finally to enjoy this beautiful life given by nature.


GetActive is a humble attempt in that direction. Join the GetActive program, a step towards an active & a happy world.





Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.
www.getactive.co | care@getactive.in

Data & content is taken from an article by Kenneth E. Thorpe, Chairman, Partnership to Fight NCDs.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Magic of Sweet Eating

Sweet or sugar is the biggest culprit of lifestyle diseases world over. 9% of world population in 2014 (700 million people) of 18+ years age is affected with this condition. Type II diabetes, which is purely due to unhealthy eating & sedentary lifestyle contributes 95% of this population.


WHO recommends 3 tablespoon of sugar per adult per day, which is roughly 50 grams. However, except for a handful of countries in this world, people consume an average of 100-125 grams, which is 6-8 tablespoon of sugar.


 

And this consumption pattern is in the upswing, leading to doubling this rate by 2030.


Hence, the WHO prediction that diabetes will be among the top five killer lifestyle diseases by year 2030 seems right. These are statistics, and you can find them all over the place.


The crux is “how to eat sweet intelligently?”


As soon as you eat sugar or sugar-laden food, it releases endorphins, which gives you a feel good factor. This sets the chain reaction, and encourages you to continue to eat more helpings of your sugar. This is a body response, and you have no control on that.


The best way to minimize your sugar intake is to start taking small helpings multiple times. And eat in very small quantity with your spoon, frequently. This way you are tricking your brain. You are obeying the command of your brain by taking multiple helpings. You are also eating frequently with your spoon, though in smaller helpings. Please try this next time, when you are cutting a cake or enjoying a buffet dinner. And, please stay active by metabolizing your sugar effectively with GetActive.


Join the GetActive program, a step towards an active & a happy world.





Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Activity Trackers

In the last two years, India has started the adoption of wearable technology for health & fitness. Number of people using some form of activity tracking devices has been small, in the order of half million users. When you look at the US market, which has been the pioneer in this space, the number may not be more than 7-8 million users.


So this is a fairly new phenomenon worldwide, and India has done well in warming up to this new technology. This is in line with Accenture survey of Jan-2014, predicting that Indians will be more inclined (80%) to adoption of wearables in the next five years, than US (at 65%).


 

Skeptics are wary of this new trend. And the main reason behind this skepticism is drop-off rate, which is as high as 80%, after the initial 4-6 months of usage.


The main purpose of activity tracker is to help modify your behavior, thereby inculcate the habit of walking. Here are the four stages, which you experience while using activity trackers, each lasting 6-8 weeks:


Quanti Phase: Self-quantification or measuring your DATA 24x7 motivates you and nudges you to stay on your toes. The reality is very different than what you have had imagined. Everyday you cross your self-imposed limit, and within 3-4 weeks reach an optimal level of your daily activity.


Social Phase: Once quantified and informed, you start sharing your DATA with your friends on social network. Crossing new milestones and boasting in your social circle, helps you to achieve higher limits of physical activity, which you have had never imagined.


Compete Phase: Some folks take the challenge very seriously, and strive to come within top ten in leader-board. Others try to better their position everyday, challenging their limits.


Plateau Phase: 55-65% of users continue at their optimal level of activity, some with trackers, and others without it. Remaining users either drop-off from being active, or achieve higher levels by participating in marathon events.


I see activity trackers as supporting wheels, while you are learning to inculcate this positive habit of being ACTIVE. So, please go ahead and adopt this new technology trend. It will help you meet your New Year resolutions, with ease & fun. Do not worry, if you find it in cupboard, after it has done the job.


Walking everyday is important. Join the GetActive program, a step towards an active & a happy world.






Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Yoga – Myths & Reality

We are living in a world of choices! Physical activity is no exception. One has to choose from outdoor/indoor sports, fitness clubs, walking/running/cycling, aerobics, yoga, trekking, martial arts, swimming etc. Each one of these activities gets introduced at different juncture in our life. I am not a proponent of any one of them, but surely a consumer of most of them.


I started practicing yoga routinely since last three decades. In this article, I am attempting to break some myths and help see the reality of this important discipline.



Myths:

  1. There are so many types of Yoga; I am not sure which is good for me?
  2. Yoga means breathing exercises i.e. Pranayamas.
  3. Yoga is helpful when you have chronic conditions.
  4. Yoga means meditation.
  5. Yoga is performed with expert teacher in a group classes.

Reality:
  1. Yoga is a set of asanas, mudras and kriyas designed for flexibility, strength, better oxygenation of tissues, rejuvenation of organs and mental relaxation. Hatha Yoga (powerful physical work) has many simple asanas, which can be started by a novice.
  2. Yoga gives emphasis on proper breathing pattern while performing any of the asanas. This prevents injury and enhances the benefits of Yoga.
  3. Like any other exercise, Yoga benefits most when you are healthy.
  4. Relaxation is a well-established medical technique to prevent anxiety. In Yoga, meditation is an important part to calm the mind & enhance physical healing.
  5. Yoga is best-performed early morning in quiet location, alone.


Every individual should include few asanas/kriyas/mudras in their daily routine, especially for rejuvenation of organs and mental relaxation. Here is my recommendation for a 30-min daily routine:

  • Suryanamaskara (for flexibility and cardiac training) – minimum 5 cycle (5 min);
  • Sarvangasana (for balancing endocrine system & stress relief) – minimum 1-2 min;
  • Kapalabhati (for cleansing and oxygenation) – minimum 3 min;
  • Shavasana (for deep relaxation) – minimum 5 min; and
  • 15-min of brisk walk covering 1,500-2,000 steps.


To unbundle the secret joy in you, stay ACTIVE. Walking & doing Yoga everyday is important. Join the GetActive program, a step towards an active & a happy world.






Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.

Monday, 12 January 2015

New Year 2015

From a newborn, we cannot take our eyes away. She is a source of positive energy, bundle of happiness and an ocean of possibilities. She dreams without fear. She explores without judgment.


When we come close to New Year, it gives us similar feeling. It is a same day everyday. But our outlook brightens. We greet people with renewed energy, we feel elated as if something great will happen to us, and we make promises & plan to live our dreams.



This happens every year to me. But then law of diminishing returns over-powers my feelings. My energy gets subdued, I wear a somber look, reality check crashes my dreams and I become a normal earthy judgmental folk.



Why this emotional sea-saw ride, just by a change in one digit of a year! Why can’t I make this happen when one digit of every month changes. And why not with a change in one digit of every day!



Every morning when I meet my father, who is 91 years old, he greets me with “XXXday Mubarak ho!” (Congratulations! Today is XXXday). It used to appear little funny to me. Over the years, I have almost developed immunity to his greetings. However, his vigor has never diminished.



I wish I could live everyday like a New Year day. And I wish all of us could live everyday in that fashion. It is just a matter of outlook; life is always bright and full of possibilities.



Wish you a very happy 2015 – day after day!



To unbundle this secret joy in you, stay ACTIVE. Walking & doing physical activity everyday is important. Join the GetActive program, a step towards an active & a happy world.






Contribution: Mohammed Hussain Naseem – CEO | mohammed@getactive.co
2mpower Health Management Services Private Ltd.