AlaskaCare Wellness News | May 2013

AlaskaCare Wellness News

Issue # 9

May 2013

AlaskaCare Employee News from the Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits

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In This Issue

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Get Active in May!

Bicycle Commuter

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and we challenge you to get active! Throughout the month of May, try to include 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This could include walking the dog, riding your bike to work or playing outside with the kids. Regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life and reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend two hours and 30 minutes of aerobic activity each week and muscle strengthening activities two days a week.

Get moving by participating in Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 8 and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17.

No matter what shape you're in, together we can rise to the challenge to be more active during the month of May!

May Health Hero: Lori Yorba

Lori Yorba

I enjoy outdoor activities like running, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and skiing. In fact, I've been running during lunch hours with my running pals for over 15 years. While Alaska is an incredible place to enjoy outdoor fitness activities, like most people, many of my activities are indoors. I have been teaching fitness classes since 1980 – “Disco Inferno” was one of the songs on my playlist back then! I've been a certified group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise since 1995, with certifications in yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, Zumba and strength workouts. I really enjoy teaching fitness to people, seeing how much fun they have, and witnessing the benefits it brings them. I am currently studying for a personal trainer certification. I plan to continue helping people get and stay fit for many years to come.

Three years ago my body told me it was time to make some changes to my fitness activities. When I woke the morning of February 3, 2010, something was terribly wrong in my lower back. I had numbness down my right leg to my big toe. The pain was so severe I had to kneel on the floor to keep from fainting. That day I started a new journey. Several doctors, lots of research and medical procedures later, I decided I was going to find a way on my own to overcome the chronic pain carefully, without surgery. I am happy to say I have been successful. I am back to most activities and I simply avoid the ones triggering pain. I hope as people read this they will understand they can overcome an injury without invasive procedures and drugs. It does take time and patience to heal along with doing research to understand the source of the pain, what is causing it and how to treat it.

The day I got the email telling me I was nominated Health Hero for the month of May, I had just returned from teaching a cardio dance class during my lunch hour at a local fitness club. I gave the class a homework assignment I would like to share: Go home, put on your favorite dance music and start dancing. Have fun with it and find your groove to move! 

Rest, relaxation and a good night’s sleep are just as important as exercise and good nutrition. It’s okay to take a break and let one's body rest and regenerate. Remember to switch it up to keep things fresh and to avoid strain from too much repetition. Make sure to mix cardio, strength and flexibility into a fitness routine. And above all, remember the magic pill is motion!

Complete a Health Hero nomination form to recognize someone in your office.

Wellness Challenge: Fit in Your Fiber

Fruits and Vegetables

Fiber is an important but easily overlooked part of a healthy diet. This month, learn how to get the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber into your diet every day. You might be surprised how easy it is to do!

Fiber is important because it may reduce risks for certain health problems, and foods rich in fiber are often low in calories and fat. They also fill you up faster and longer helping reduce cravings for more food. It can also help with digestion and weight maintenance.

Some good sources of fiber include beans, whole grains, nuts, potatoes (with the skin), berries, and vegetables. More information about and about health benefits and sources of fiber can be found on the Wellness Challenge page.

Learn to add more fiber to your diet in the May monthly challenge. Just print the challenge log [PDF]. At the end of the month send the complete form to Mike DiFilippo, the Wellness Coordinator for HealthSmart.

Upcoming Wellness Trainings

Navigating the Grocery Store Webinar, Details

  • May 7, 12 p.m. 
  • May 9, 1 p.m. 

Safe and Healthy Online Dating

Develop a Fitness Routine to Lose Weight

Mountain Biking

Weight management is a common health goal. But how you lose weight is just as important as the actual weight loss. Fad diets and weight-loss pills often lead to the weight being put back on again. To keep the weight off, focus on fitness. 

 To get fit and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day
  • Find a fitness buddy to support one another
  • Invite friends to participate in active outdoor activities
  • Find an activity you love and commit to it

Staying active and keeping your body fit go hand-in-hand. This lifestyle change is not a quick-fix weight loss technique, so don’t give up if you don’t start to lose weight immediately. If it has been a while since you worked out, remember to start slowly and consult your doctor. For additional support, the AlaskaCare Employee Wellness plan offers One-on-One Personal Wellness Coaching

If you are struggling with developing healthy habits, consider contacting your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Coaching and treatment are effective and counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support your efforts and provide confidential assistance at no cost to you. Or use the self-help tools online under “Exercise & Active Living” in the Healthyroads™ section. 

Healthy Recipe: Alaska Halibut with Tangy Fruit Salsa

Halibut with Fruit Salsa

Provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.


Tangy Fruit Salsa:

  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped or 1/2 tbsp. dried chives
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest 
  • 2 tsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Alaska halibut steaks or fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen
  • 2 tbsp. olive, canola, peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt


Prepare salsa: Combine lemon juice and honey in medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss together gently. Mixture can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Prepare halibut: Preheat broiler/oven or grill to medium-high heat (450ºF). 

Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska halibut under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Brush both sides of halibut with oil. Place on a spray-coated broiling pan or well-oiled grill, 5 to 6 inches from heat, and cook about 5 minutes. Turn halibut over and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Cook an additional 7 to 10 minutes for frozen fillets or 4 to 6 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.

Remove halibut to individual serving plates and top with spoonfuls of salsa. 

Makes 4 servings.

Estimated Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • 291 Calories
  • 10g Fat
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • 31% Calories from Fat
  • 30g Protein
  • 19g Carbohydrate
  • 1g Fiber
  • 413mg Sodium
  • 89mg Calcium
  • 670mg Omega-3 Fatty Acids
AlaskaCare Wellness  •
Phone: (907) 465-4460  •  Fax: (907) 465-3086  •  TDD: (907) 465-2805

This electronic newsletter and services described within applies only to State of Alaska AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members and their dependents.