5 pieces: Exercise, busyness, pill bottles, plan Bs, and winning moneyArticle added by Benefits Pro on February 15, 2017
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BY CAROLINE MARWITZ

Articles on exercise, pill bottle tops, retirement planning, and others caught our eye this week. (Photo: iStock)

I collect articles that catch my eye, squirreling them away in folders on my desktop. They’re usually related to work –health, wellness, benefits, retirement – but didn’t make it into a longer format. Here’s a sampling as we slide deeper into February:

Have stairwell, will climb: The stairwell in your office building could be your next cold-weather (or hot-weather) fitness center. Researchers at McMaster University studied people doing short bouts of intense stair-climbing. "Short" means taking no more than 10 minutes (including a warm-up, a cool down, and a recovery period). Participants ran the stairs three times a week for six weeks, and it worked -- they improved their cardiovascular fitness. Exercise for Anyone, Anytime: Researchers Find Brief, Intense Stair Climbing is a Practical Way to Boost Fitness -- Newswise

Busyness as status symbol: Forget the luxury car or the expensive clothes -- now the new status marker is how busy you are. Researchers at the Columbia Business School studied how Americans rate the social status of a person who has a full (or even overloaded) work schedule versus a person with a lot of leisure time. People who worked long hours were ranked as having a higher social status than those fun-loving types enjoying life. The researchers noted that “by telling others that we are busy and working all the time, we are implicitly suggesting that we are sought after, which enhances our perceived status.” Whether being crazy-busy is good for the body and soul is another matter. Why Americans Are So Impressed By Busyness -- Harvard Business Review

Opioid overdoses: We were shocked to hear of a friend’s girlfriend who came home after hip surgery, went to sleep that night, and didn’t wake up. The autopsy concluded opioid overdose. Her sister was caring for her and may have gotten mixed up about the medication doses and times. Shortly afterwards, I saw a press release from TimerCap about a product that aims to address the opioid crisis. In essence it’s a stopwatch on a pill bottle cap that starts counting from the time the bottle was last closed until it’s reopened. Timing is everything, isn’t it.

A plan B for retirement: Some fortunate people have everything planned out -- even their retirement. I’ll listen to them brag about their pension for a few minutes while I think about my waif of a 401(k). But invariably, they don't have a plan B. This could mean keeping work skills up to date (even though you don't expect to work), nurturing your health (rather than taking it for granted), creating and maintaining a financial plan so you always know your numbers. But maybe the most important concept here is just to HAVE a plan B. Yes, even for pension-braggers. 5 practical steps for creating a retirement backup plan -- MoneyWatch, CBS News

What if you won the lottery? I don’t know why I stumbled on this article on BenefitsPRO, when I've been working here for several years and never saw it before. Maybe it's a sign I should go buy a lottery ticket? Though almost four years old, it’s still useful, because, hey, everyone should know what to do if they came into some money. It could happen. After all, “impossible” is just a word someone made up. Did you just win $590 million? -- BenefitsPRO

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