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Sprout announces additional funding and plans for growth

Sprout extends partnerships to usher in a new era of workplace health and wellness. (CNW Group/Sprout)

TELUS and Techstars extend partnerships to usher in a new era of workplace health

TORONTOAug. 4, 2016 /CNW/ – Leading Canadian wellness company, Sprout is proud to announce additional funding from two key influencers in the healthcare technology movement: TELUS, Canada’s largest health IT company, and Techstars, through its ventures arm. With these continued partnerships, Sprout plans to usher in a new era of workplace health, expanding its exceptional user experience, data analytics and ecosystem of partners, which will in turn promote wellness across corporate cultures internationally.

These partnerships evolved from Nike+’s first accelerator program powered by Techstars, where Sprout was one of 10 growing tech companies chosen to participate in an immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator.

“We focus our partnerships around companies that are both building great businesses and contributing to the pace of digital innovations on a large scale,” says Mark Solon, Managing Partner at Techstars. “Beyond their growth during the accelerator, Sprout continues to exceed expectations with its imaginative, forward-looking offering that has a proven impact on workforce wellness and productivity.”

TELUS too has seen the continued alignment between their own efforts to boost workforce wellness through wearable devices and Sprout’s growing contribution to social health technology.

“At TELUS, we’re committed to helping Canadians make positive lifestyle choices, and are excited to advance our partnership with Sprout so together, we continue to strengthen the emphasis on health and wellness and improve long-term results,” says Rich Osborn, Managing Partner of TELUS Ventures.

Sprout’s offering is twofold. First, Sprout provides technology based tools engineered to motivate employees to get active in the way they choose. Second, Sprout provides leaders with the ability to measure the positive impact of wellness on their business. In addition to a growing suite of tools that includes physical activity tracking, nutrition, mental health, and biometrics, the platform integrates with leading fitness trackers. But this is only the beginning.

“TELUS and Techstars are both invaluable influencers of wellness technology. TELUS is making huge strides in generating awareness about the benefits of preventative health and Techstars continues to support developments in wearable wellness,” said Martha Switzer, co-founder of Sprout. “Through these partnerships, we hope to advance our platform even further so we can create a wellness movement across corporate cultures, for happier, healthier people and happier, healthier companies.”

About SPROUT
Sprout is the leading Wellness Engagement Platform, used by progressive companies to improve the health of their employees and their business. Sprout creates a work culture that enables individuals to lead happier, healthier lives, while empowering employers to effectively manage and measure wellness outcomes. More information is available at www.sproutatwork.com.

 

For further information: Martha Switzer, Co-Founder and CMO, T: 604-365-4112, m.switzer@sproutatwork.com

15 Ways to Bring the Olympics Home this Summer!

15 Ways to Bring the Olympics Home this Summer!

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The 2016 Summer Games are almost here! This athletic tradition has brought together the world for hundreds of years, uniting nations with their shared passion for sport.

Just as countries come together to rival for gold, support their teams and admire other countries’ performances, so can you by bringing the Olympics home this summer! Whether you’re hanging out with the family on a summer weekend in August, going on a date or getting together with friends, there are a number of ways that you can incorporate some Olympic fun into your plans.

Don’t just watch the Olympics – be an Olympian! We’ve come up with 15 activities to get you started.

1. Go for a new personal best: Walk around your neighbourhood and set your route. Now time yourself doing 1 lap of your route. This is your baseline. Keep timing yourself and by the end of the summer score your personal best!

2. School’s out, so it’s time to kick it old-school, Olympic-style!  Create your own tournament: hopscotch, skipping, four-square, water balloon toss, hula-hooping; so much fun, the kids won’t even think about recess.

3. Golf is back in the Olympics this year for the first time in 112 years. Head out to a local golf course, driving range or mini-putt and go fore it! Or, if golf isn’t your game, try croquet.  Ready to make it more competitive?  Try the Dead-Ball-Option or Poison.

4. Got a hot date? Make it an active one by going for a bike ride – maybe you can even rent a bicycle-built-for-two! Finish the bike ride with a picnic to add some romantic flair.

5. Let everyone go for gold!  Create your own treasure hunt (you can draw pictures for your littlest participants), and let the fun begin.  Elevate your play beyond simple hide and seek, by factoring in a fitness challenge. Ten jumping jacks to unlock the next piece of the puzzle; balancing on one leg for 30 seconds gets an extra clue. The best part? The whole team arrives at the finish line together!

6. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have enough players to create your own Olympic basketball team.  Grab a ball and a buddy, set up a challenge, and get ready for 21, HORSE, Around the World or Knock Out.

7. Summer and tennis go together like sunshine and fun.  Playing with little ones?  Enjoy a game of mini-tennis. Do you have a crew on your hands?  How about a round of Stinky School Bus?  Courts are at a premium?  Hit the balls against the wall of your neighbourhood school.  

8. Heading on vacation this summer? Spending lots of time down by the lake or at the beach? Turn your daily swim into a synchronized swimming competition. Pair-up and choreograph your best poses and strokes and go for style points!

9. Athletes may need to train and perform regardless of weather, but when Mother Nature isn’t co-operating, here are tips for taking your little Olympians inside.  Relay games down a hallway burn off energy and get everyone cheering.  Who can push a ping-pong ball with their nose the fastest?  Fill a cup using a teaspoon?  Pass the ball over and under?  And of course, bonus points for coming up with the most inventive team cheer!  

10. Jump, Flip, Twist, FUN! Gymnastics has been a part of the Olympics since 1896 and is known as a foundation sport. The core skills you acquire from gymnastics allow you to excel in almost every other sport. Check out your local Gymnastics facility for drop-in options for the kids or adult classes to get in on the action! Or do your own core activities on the floor while watching the Games on TV.

11. Heading to the beach? Bring a volleyball and showcase your serves, bumps and spikes with a game of beach volleyball! Or better yet, join a summer intramural team and commit to playing once a week!

12. Up at the cottage without much athletic equipment? Don’t fret! Pick an island or spot on the lake to swim to and make it your goal to swim there each day. To increase those competitive juices, time yourself the first time and try to beat that time a little bit every day! Or tread water and add a couple of minutes everyday.

13. Need to get from A to B while up at the lake? Ditch the motorboat and take the canoe, rowboat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Work that upper body while also transporting yourself; you will feel extra accomplished at the end of the ride!

14. Having trouble balancing a social life while also staying active? Suggest hitting up the local tennis court or soccer field the next time you and your friends are planning a get together—combining friend time and physical activity will make you feel like you really can do it all!

15. Water Polo was the first Olympic team sport and was a men-only competition for the first 100 years—get your women together to make up for lost time and organize an ‘Olympic’ water polo team for the summer!  This fast-paced, exciting game will be sure to get your heart pumping!

Will you bring some Olympic games home this summer? What other sports-inspired activities can you do with the family?

How (And Why!) To Eat Like an Olympian at Work

How (And Why!) To Eat Like an Olympian at Work

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The Rio 2016 Summer Games are just around the corner. As momentum and excitement builds leading up to the games, there is one thing that Olympians are taking more seriously than ever: their diets. What we consume and how we eat has a profound impact on our physical and mental wellness. The adage, “You are what you eat!” carries weight (pun intended), as athletes across the globe ensure their nutritional habits are fueling their bodies for high performance.

Just as athletes carefully consider the innate link between diets and performance, so should employees in every workforce. What employees eat is directly related to their focus, productivity, stress levels and overall health.
Take a look at these dietary tips from nutritionists, which apply to Olympians and employees alike!

  • Have a breakfast of champions
    It’s long been known that breakfast is a critical – if not the most important – meal of the day. Skipping breakfast is often attributed to low energy and glucose levels, poor focus, high stress levels and irritability. When it comes to high performance, Olympic athletes can’t afford to skip breakfast and, if you want to improve your productivity at work, neither can you!

    Montreal-based Naulleau, a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist for the Canadian Olympic Committee, suggests that athletes start their day with toast, almond butter and bananas. She explains that the greater population also benefits from protein, and should consider eggs and cheese in the morning.

    Looking for a recipe? Try this Egg White Frittata breakfast for a low carb, high protein meal.
  • Sip what you cannot eat
    Smoothies are an excellent way to pack in a plethora of nutritional goodies that you can’t always incorporate into your regular meals. Protein pieces like chia and nuts, coupled with carbs like wheat germ are an excellent mix of antioxidants. Particularly after a workout, a cold smoothie can reduce inflammation – a term usually associated with arthritis, chronic pain and acid reflux.

    Inflammation is your body’s reaction to stress. As an employee, stress at work can lead to a number of health issues, reducing your productivity and ability to fully function. Try infusing your day with a smoothie break instead of a coffee break.

    Nicole Barnhart, goalie for the women’s soccer team, recommends this smoothie recipe:  16-ounce smoothie made with banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, pomegranate juice, coconut, milk, almond milk, flax seed, whey protein, Trader Joe’s peanut butter, and Vega Sport energy powder.
  • Prioritize H2O
    Need a reason to drink water? Here are five: water boosts energy, lowers stress, tones muscles, keeps you regular and nourishes your skin. A glass of water is the best sidekick for every Olympian (and employee!). By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, and that is why we are encouraged to drink a lot more water than we’re used to throughout the day.

    Athletes should be consuming .5 to 1 ounce of H2O per pound of body weight every day,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, who regularly consults with Olympic contenders and pros.

    Many athletes encourage the idea of taking smaller drinks more frequently to prevent feeling bloated. Employees can practice this habit too by keeping a very large jug of water beside them during the day and ensuring the water is gone before they leave when work has wrapped up.

What other nutritional tips can athletes and the workforce both incorporate into their diets?

3 Olympic-Themed Wellness Challenges for your Employees

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Faster, Higher, Stronger: it’s no secret that Olympians are some of the most focused and driven professionals in the world. Their dedication, persistence and love of the sport not only invites elite competition, but also produces a number of physical and mental health benefits.

With the Rio 2016 Summer Games approaching, we’ve noted a few Olympic-themed wellness challenges that HR and executives can share with their workforce next month. Check out these ideas, the wellness benefits involved and learn how you can execute Olympic-themed challenges for your workforce this summer.

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Snacks in the Workplace: Get rid of these ASAP!

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Snacking is a very common habit among us all. Whether we’re sad, stressed, bored – or just plain hungry! – snacks seem to give us the fix we need to push through the day. Many workplaces offer snack options to their employees to help maintain happiness and energy levels. Though they’re provided with the best of intentions, unfortunately, many snack options in the workplace don’t cut it when it comes to health and wellness.

Here are six snacks found in many workplaces that need to be replaced! Learn what’s bad about these snack options and what alternatives you can provide the workforce with.

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Running: Learn it, Live it, Love it – Resources & Guides

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Running is an incredible form of exercise. Done right, running can strengthen your joints, improve your heart, increase your energy levels and ability to focus and reduce stress. In some cases, running has saved people’s lives, like for this man here (warning: you’ll need a box of tissues for this one).

For those that run, they generally advocate for the activity and its goodness. For those that don’t run, many ask this question: why is it so hard to run?

Running can be a very difficult activity to pick up, and because of this, people are quick to quit and try something different (or do nothing). Running is a challenge, especially at the beginning when people are finding their bearings and learning what to do … and what not to do. Tough on joints, running can be hard on the body, particularly when you are building up your strength at the beginning. Moreover, the amount of mental focus required can make the activity even more difficult for your mind than it is for your body.

If you want to give running another go, here are some aids and resources that can help set you up for success from the get-go.

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HR Programming: 4 Health Awareness Initiatives Happening this Month

 

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For the busy HR department, wellness programming can be a challenge. Knowing just where to start – and understanding what will engage your employees – can sometimes lead to programs that fall flat. A great way to create wellness programming that resonates with the workplace is by leveraging health awareness initiatives by month. There are a number of websites and resources that share calendar breakdowns of what wellness areas are a focus across the country and the globe.

Here are four (of many!) health initiatives in June that you can use to drive wellness programming internally this month. Learn more about the cause and read our suggestions for how you can incorporate these into a wellness program for your employees.

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Sprout Wellness Solutions provides engagement platform and mobile app for VIVA workplace health and wellness program

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La Capitale celebrates the 10th anniversary of its VIVA workplace health and wellness program by adding an online wellness platform 

Quebec City, May 18, 2016La Capitale Financial Group is proudly celebrating the 10th anniversary of its VIVA health and wellness program, designed for companies of all sizes, by adding an online wellness platform. This online wellness engagement platform and mobile app is provided by the Canadian company, Sprout Wellness Solutions. “Sprout’s technological know-how coupled with VIVA’s wellness features allows companies to benefit from a simple, efficient and effective turnkey formula,” said Annie Giguère, Director of Innovation, Business Solutions and Marketing at La Capitale.

A win-win situation for employers and employees

VIVA has earned its stripes over the last 10 years. Companies that introduced the program have reaped the rewards. Employees are more engaged and happy, have improved their lifestyle habits and have a better work-life balance. Enhanced company brand, increased productivity, as well as lower absenteeism and lower health costs are the other benefits of the program.

“We have drawn inspiration from the community notion of social media for upgrading our health and wellness program,” explained Annie Giguère. “With VIVA, users now have access to an online health and wellness engagement platform and a mobile application that includes personalized activities and measuring tools as well as gamification concepts such as collecting points or badges. The platform contributes to strengthening employees’ engagement, while also maintaining and improving their health and wellness. It also supports participants’ spontaneous wellness initiatives while offering them a tool to track their personal health and wellness activities,” concluded Ms. Giguère.

Measuring tools 

  • Rate of platform registration
  • Usage (the proportion of users who have used their platform account in the last month or week).
  • Rate of participation in an activity or a challenge
  • Rate of participant registration in various interest groups
  • The health subjects that most interest users
  • Users’ health goals

Some examples of VIVA activities 

  • Online wellness engagement platform
  • Heart health clinic with nurses
  • Sports clinics
  • Presentations (wellness, work-life balance, parent-child relationships)
  • Healthy meal cooking demonstrations and tastings
  • Health and wellness challenges
  • Monthly bulletins.

About La Capitale
Founded in 1940, La Capitale Insurance and Financial Group has a strong presence across Quebec and throughout Canada. With over 2,690 employees and guided by the values of mutualism on which it was founded, La Capitale works with clients to build, protect and value what they feel counts for their financial security. It offers insurance products and financial services to the general public as well as to Quebec public service employees. With assets of $5.8 billion, La Capitale occupies a choice position among leading insurers in Canada.

About the VIVA Workplace Health and Wellness Program
For the last 10 years, VIVA has offered a turnkey program that promotes the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits through motivating workplace activities. More than 10,000 Canadian employees have benefited from the numerous advantages of the VIVA workplace health and wellness program. More information is available at viva.lacapitale.com/en.

About Sprout Wellness Solutions

Sprout is the leading Wellness Engagement Platform, used by progressive companies to help improve the health of their employees and their business. Sprout helps to create a work culture that enables individuals to lead happier, healthier lives.

HEALTH HACKS: 11 Easy lifestyle changes to dramatically improve your health

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When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, we all have the best intentions. Going for a run after work, drinking more water and cutting back unhealthy calories sounds simple. For any of us who have tried to commit: we know it takes more than wishful thinking. Improving your lifestyle involves action – whether it’s sharing your goal with a colleague, tracking your progress or setting realistic goals to get you started.

If you’re ready to make a lifestyle change, but aren’t sure where to begin, here are 11 health hacks you can start implementing today to improve your health.

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Four things you do at work every day that are terrible for your health

Work is a place where we can achieve milestones, grow professionally, accomplish great things and meet wonderful people along the way. At the same time, pressing deadlines, overwhelming workloads and challenging situations can be very stressful for anyone, leading to both physical and mental health issues.

Health and work are intrinsically connected, and how you manage your health habits at home should be the same for how you manage them at work. Here are four unhealthy habits that many people practice every day at work, without even realizing it. Learn what’s in your control and how you can better manage your health at work!

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