Westchester Magazine Goes On Nuvita’s Live Younger Program
See what happens when five Westchester Magazine editors put a corporate wellness program to the test.
Lars Zahner / Shutterstock
Struggling already with your “eat-healthy-and-exercise” New Year’s resolution? We are, too. So we’re thinking back to summer, when ample daylight hours made it easy to go for a pre- or post-work jog, bike ride, or gym session. We also had an extra motivator: a trial run with a wellness program from Nuvita Corporate Wellness Solutions.
After meeting Alan Antin, the Tarrytown-based COO of Nuvita, at a local health technology conference, he agreed to let Westchester Magazine try out Nuvita, gratis. So, in July, four other editors and I began the 12-week Live Younger program (it is not a diet), which combines technology, health coaching, nutrition education, and motivation in an interactive solution that aims to make wellness personal and fun. (We’re not sure we’d go that far, but we did enjoy the experience.)
The Nuvita app for iPhone monitors numerous health variables to help to stay on track with your goals.
“Live Younger is a full lifestyle program that gives participants the encouragement and support they need to realize their health goals,” says Antin. “Everyone’s fitness levels and goals are different, so the program is customized to work for each individual user.” Our group illustrated that well: We range in age from early 30s to early 60s; and in fitness levels from “mostly sedentary” to “neurotically active.”
Here’s how it works: Live Younger’s four main components include cardio (each participant is given their own weekly goal, “X” number of minutes in their target heart-rate zone); nutrition (a suggested meal plan, complete with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks; participants must keep a food log); mobility (a set of exercises designed to improve strength and flexibility); and education (a series of health-related articles to read each week, plus quizzes). The program is executed through three main tools: a heart-rate monitor band plus Bluetooth mobile app or Garmin wristwatch to monitor cardio activity; and the MyNuvita portal, where you track and log your cardio stats, meal information, and mobility progress; access wellness articles; communicate with your virtual coach; and post to the Wellness Wall, an interactive area for cheering on (or ribbing) your fellow employees.
So, how did it go? With five participants, we were bound to have mixed reactions, but there were a few things we all agreed upon. The program’s combination of technology, virtual coaching, personalization, and friendly competition was its key sticking power; the meal tracking was cumbersome, but effective (hummus and carrot sticks began showing up regularly in our company fridge); the technology was cool but glitchy at times; and we all felt much healthier after the 12 weeks. One editor even went off her cholesterol medication, which she attributes largely to the diet and exercise changes she made through the program.
Now, six months later, some of our old, unhealthy ways are slinking back in, but the plan set a good foundation for kick-starting healthy living again at any time—which we plan to do again soon. Really.
Top Prize: Senior Editor John Turiano (right) was the official winner, with an 86-percent participation rate throughout the 12 weeks. “After just a few weeks of regular cardio and healthier eating, I felt better and realized I wasn’t as fit as I thought.” he says. “That kept me going—and the competition, too. I like to win.”
Cardio Star: Articles Editor Marisa LaScala, who sweated out a total 1,059 minutes in/above her target heart-rate zone. Favorite exercise? “Dancing at the Modest Mouse concert at The Capitol Theatre.”
Nutrition Star: Senior Writer Karen Odom netted an 80 percent participation rate for nutrition. Recommended healthy indulgence: “Dark Cacao L.O.V.E. Cup from Whole Foods. It's organic, raw, and contains 77 percent cacao.”
Calorie Killer: Features Editor Amy R. Partridge ran/kickboxed/bootcamped her way to burning 15,529 calories over 12 weeks. “Counting calories burned is way more fun than counting calories!”
Most Devoted: Senior Editor Kate Walsh brought her heart-rate monitor belt on a two-week road trip. “I used it while cycling in Lake Shore Park in Chicago, playing tennis in northern Michigan, and rollerblading in Ann Arbor,” she says. “The food log also helped me focus on eating more fresh-picked Traverse City cherries and less Mackinac Island fudge.”