UALR employees say ‘yes’ to health and wellness

UALR employees receive free massages from the students at Touching America School of Massage in Maumelle during the university's employee wellness fair July 27 in Donaghey Student Center. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UALR Communications.

Six months ago, Dr. Amar Kanekar, an assistant professor of health education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, averaged about 20 minutes of exercise a day.

Today, he clocks in more than 80 minutes of exercise a day.

Kanekar was one of hundreds of UALR employees who attended the employee wellness fair July 27 in Donaghey Student Center.

“I got to do all the health screenings, and they show how much the exercise is helping,” he said.

Employees participated in free health screenings, including height, weight, body mass index, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and body composition.

Those with University of Arkansas System (UMR) insurance who completed a biometric screening and other requirements got the added bonus of qualifying for a $1,400 reduction in the maximum amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses for the 2017 health plan.

About 220 employees completed the biometric screening during the health fair.

Employees who complete the screening, an online health assessment, and take a tobacco/nicotine pledge and personal health plan pledge by Sept. 30 will qualify for the reduction.

A drawing for a $50 gift card was held every hour. Winners included Karen Palmer, Leisa Myles, Nancy Rea, Tammy Scaife, Leah Thorvilson, Laquinta Johnson, and Ellen Binford.

Employees also enjoyed free massages from the students at Touching America School of Massage in Maumelle. Representatives from the Employee Assistance Program, American Heart Association, and the UALR Office of Counseling Services, along with UMR health coaches, were on site.

Mandi Berry, a Heart Walk associate with the American Heart Association, urged UALR employees to stay heart healthy and to sign up for the 2017 Central Arkansas Heart Walk April 29, 2017, in North Little Rock.  

“We want people to stay healthy,” Berry said. “Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death and stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. The workplace is an excellent place to promote health and get the word out.”

Berry also encouraged employees to visit http://mylifecheck.heart.org for a personalized health assessment or to text “HBPAR” to 97779 to learn about blood pressure.

UALR Employee Wellness Coordinator Karl Lenser said the fair was “nonstop action.”

“The goal of the fair is for people to learn more about their health and their risk factors for chronic diseases,” Lenser said. “The turnout has been amazing. Many employees are getting their biometric screening done and also learning about what services are available to them through the Employee Wellness Program.

Related: UALR launches SummerTime Fitness Challenge

One of the secrets to Kanekar’s success has been participating in UALR’s employee wellness fitness challenges, which have motivated him to stay active. This summer, he is one of

Dr. Amar Kanekar
Dr. Amar Kanekar

hundreds of employees vying to become the reigning champion of the SummerTime Fitness Challenge, which tracks how many minutes individuals spend exercising per week.

“Exercise makes me feel very energetic and enthusiastic, and it helps my brain function better,” Kanekar said. “Overall, I feel very nice and rejuvenated.”

Kanekar has plans to stay active for as long as possible.

“I just want to keep doing this for the next 40 or 50 years, and there is no reason I can’t,” he said.

In the upper right photo, UALR employees receive free messages from the students at Touching America School of Massage in Maumelle during the university’s employee wellness fair July 27 in Donaghey Student Center. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UALR Communications.

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