February 1, 2012

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40 under Forty

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Healthy and Happy

Companies Reap the Benefits of a Healthier Workforce

Heather Stewart

February 1, 2012

            In fact, SelectHealth is interested in targeting people well before they ever become anyone’s employee. The company partners with more than 100 elementary schools through its “STEP Express” program. “We know that a lot of health habits get made when we’re younger—between fourth and sixth grade,” says Spencer Sutherland, spokesperson for SelectHealth.

            Through the “STEP Express” program, SelectHealth provides fitness assessments to fourth-graders, who then track their exercise for the next several weeks. Teachers are armed with lesson plans to help children learn about healthy living.

             “We want to promote healthy lifestyles within our community,” says Danielson. “We know that people who have healthier weight have lower health costs.”


Ready, Set…

The Fittest Execs Test

We went to TOSH (The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital) to put Utah’s execs to the ultimate fitness test. Here’s what they endured:

Body Composition

As we age one way to monitor our body’s health is by determining our distribution of body fat. While some body fat is biologically necessary for metabolism and health, too much body fat can have negative effects. One of the most practical assessments of body fat is through skinfold measurements, which with proper technique can correlate well with more extensive measures (hydrostatic weighing or DEXA).    

VO2 max

The VO2max is a measurement of how well the body utilizes and distributes oxygen to the working muscles in the body, while the individual is exercising (we tested the execs while they were cycling or running). VO2max is a great indicator of a person’s cardiovascular fitness.

Vertical Jump

Vertical jump scores are used to measure an individual’s power. The test is performed by calculating the difference between the maximum standing reach height and the maximum height reached at the peak of a vertical jump. Participants are instructed to jump from a standing position—no approach steps are taken. From the vertical jump score we are also able to determine an individual’s peak power, which is based off the vertical jump in inches and the individual’s body weight. Both scores are used for part of the competition.

Pro Agility

One way to determine an individual’s ability to change directions with speed and body control is to test them running through the pro agility. Three cones are placed on lines measured 5 yards apart. The participant straddles the middle line with one hand down in a three point stance. On the signal to start, the participant must run five yards to one side, touch the line, run 10 yards to the other side, touch the line, then finish by running through the start/finish line.

Push Ups

During the push-up test a person completes as many full push-ups as possible in a 60 second time period. Both males and females are to perform the test with their toes touching the ground. Completing this test is a great way to determine an individual’s upper body muscular endurance. 

30 Second Plyo Press Jumps

A 30 second plyo press jump test is a great way to measure anaerobic leg power.  Participants lie on a plyo press exercise machine (similar to a leg press) that is equipped with a force plate. For 30 seconds the athlete performs as many powerful jumps as possible with 120 percent of their body weight set on the weight stack.  The decline in power produced over the 30-seconds of the test indicates the level of fatigue experienced.

Sit and Reach Flexibility

The sit and reach is a general test of flexibility and specifically tests the lower back and hamstrings. The individual being tested sits with straight legs together. Reaching toward the toes, the participant stretches as far as possible without any bending at the knees.   Any measurement that does not reach the toes would indicate a negative score, to the toes is zero and beyond the toes is recorded as a positive score.


Fit to Lead  Utah’s Fittest Execs

From the lunchroom to the boardroom, these business leaders realize that today’s corporations must encourage healthy living among their employees, and they lead the way by talking the talk and walking the walk.


Amy Lukas 

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