With the constant changes in health care reform, it’s essential to know the basics.

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Health Care 101 Guide:

A healthy life starts with healthy habits. Learn more about how habits are formed.
Think Outside the Gym
When it comes to exercise, think outside the box - or at least outside the gym!
Keep Moving
Look no further than your daily routine to burn more calories.
DIY Workouts
You don’t need a gym to exercise!
Feel the Caloric Burn
Look no further than your daily activities for ways to burn a few more calories.
DIY Workouts
Whatever is keeping you from working out can be easily overcome!

No time?
Start with 10 minute chunks of time exercising. Every little bit counts!

Not sure where to start?
Pick something you like doing. Dancing, walking, riding a bike are all activities that are fun and can help you become more active little by little.

No motivation?
Plan your workouts with a friend or your significant other - you’ll both benefit in the long run!

Not ready to commit to a gym membership or personal trainer? Here are a few options for workouts you can try at home:

Search YouTube, Netflix, or any store that carries DVDs for guided workout videos youíll enjoy, based on intensity, type of music, and workout method.

Workout Apps
If you use a smart phone, visit your app store for guided workouts that show you proper form and repetitions for your body and fitness level.

Workout Magazines
Workout magazines are chock full of exercise plans and specific exercises you can try at home that require little to no equipment.Working out doesnít just have to happen in a gym. The important thing is to find a time, place, and method that excites you and fits your lifestyle.

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Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults,
Indoor Workout Ideas,
Feel the Caloric Burn
Looking to find new ways to burn calories? Try spending a little extra time on these everyday activities and you’ll find that burning calories is just an added bonus!

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20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, Discovery Health
Snack Well
Looking to find new ways to burn calories? Try spending a little extra time on these everyday activities and you’ll find that burning calories is just an added bonus!
Metabolism Calculator
When measuring your metabolism, there are two important numbers to know.

Metabolic Rate: This is the number of calories you burn while resting. You can figure it out using your height, weight, and age. Because of differences in metabolism, there are different formulas for men and for women. Enter your height and weight below to see how many calories you burn on average each day with little to no activity.

If you're female, your metabolic rate is equal to

If you’re male, your metabolic rate is equal to

Caloric Needs: Based on your metabolic rate, you can determine how many calories per day you should consume in order to maintain your current weight. This can be done multiplying the metabolic rate number by a number determined by your activity level.

Activity Level
Inactive: little or no exercise, multiply BMR by 1.2
Lightly Active: light exercise or sports 1-3 days/week, multiply BMR by 1.375
Moderately Active: moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days/week, multiply BMR by 1.55
Very Active: hard exercise or sports 6-7 days/week, multiply BMR by 1.725
Extremely Active: very hard daily exercise or sports; or physical job; or 2X day training, multiply BMR by 1.9

Increasing your activity level will boost your metabolic rate.

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Food for Thought
A healthier lifestyle requires a few changes, starting with your diet. It’s no secret that cholesterol can be affected by what you eat – here are a few foods that can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level.

Fiber: High-fiber foods help keep your LDL (or bad) cholesterol down. Try to make oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, apples, or pears part of your daily diet.

Fish: Eating fish at least twice a week can help lower high blood pressure. Look for fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like mackerel, herring, salmon, halibut, and albacore tuna.

Nuts: A handful of nuts every day can help reduce blood cholesterol. Opt for unsalted, plain almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, or pistachios (but be weary not to eat too many, as they are also high in calories).

Olive Oil: Substituting olive oil for butter can do wonders for your heart. Extra virgin olive oil contains a special mix of antioxidants that can lower the bad cholesterol and leave the good cholesterol untouched. Don’t eat more than 2 tablespoons a day, as olive oil is also high in calories.

Plant sterols: Sterols and stanols are substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol. Sterol and stanol fortified foods are becoming more widely available -- and just 2 grams of sterols per day can help reduce bad cholesterol by more than 10%. Look for margarine, orange juice, and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols.

Don’t forget to combine these diet changes with exercise and other healthy choices, like quitting smoking, to see the greatest impact on your health.
Cholesterol: Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers, Mayo Clinic
HDL Cholesterol: Hot to Boost Your Good Cholesterol, Mayo Clinic
The Bottom Line: Choose foods with health fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat, Harvard School of Public Health
Good and Bad Foods for Cholesterol,

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BMI Calculator
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a fairly reliable indicator of what percentage of your body is fat and is calculated using your height and weight. Enter your height and weight below, then refer to the chart to see where you fall.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5'5" (65")
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)^2] x 703 = 24.96

Understanding BMI
Below 18.5
30.0 and Above
Weight Status

When checking which category you fall into, it’s important to remember that very muscular individuals often fall into the overweight category when they are not overly fat. BMI may also place individuals who have lost muscle into the healthy weight category. Measuring BMI for very short people or pregnant women is not appropriate.

Because it is believed that excessive abdominal fat is more health threatening than hip or thigh fat, the National Institute of Health asks physicians to measure patients' waistlines, which you can also do to track your weight loss progress.

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Clamp Test Yourself
The most accurate way to determine your body fat measurement is to use a skin-fold caliper or clamp test. Some fitness centers and doctors offices offer the clamp test, but you can also perform it yourself.

Step 1: Purchase skin-fold calipers (in millimeter measurements), which are available at most sporting goods stores.

Step 2: Enlist a friend to help you pinch and measure your skin in various places.

The back of the arm. Clamp the calipers around the skin. Release the handle of the calipers and measure the fat by reading the numbers on the calipers. Record the number for your triceps.

1 inch above the hip bone. Clamp the calipers around the skin and read the numbers from the caliper. Record the number for your hip. The side of the belly button. Place two fingers next to the belly button. With the other hand, pinch a diagonal fold of skin. Place the calipers on the skin fold and read the numbers from the calipers. Record the number for your abdomen.

The middle portion of your thigh. Midway is between the crease in the groin and the top of the knee. At the halfway point, pinch the skin in a diagonal fold. Place the calipers on the skin fold and read the numbers. Record the number for your thighs.

Repeat the measurements to ensure accuracy.

Step 3: Calculate the sum by adding the measurements from all sites and enter the numbers into the following formula for men and women:

Men Body-fat Percentage = 0.29288(sum of measurements) - 0.0005(sum of measurements)2 + 0.15845(age) - 5.76377

Women Body-fat Percentage = 0.29669(sum of measurements) - 0.00043(sum of measurements)2 + 0.02963(age) + 1.4072

To determine fat weight and lean weight, use the following formulas:

Fat Weight = Body Fat % x Scale Weight
Lean Body Mass = Scale Weight - Fat Weight

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How to Measure Body Fat Percentages,
Cool, Calm, and Collected
Stress is unavoidable, and the effects it can have on our wellbeing make it a danger to our health that we often don’t take as seriously as we should. Fortunately, there are several ways to beat stress. Try these stress reducing techniques:

Physical Activity: The endorphins that flow through your body during exercise are a great relief to that stressful feeling.

Meditation: Clearing the mind offers calm and balance. Guided meditations and visualizations can be found on YouTube or iTunes, and can be practiced anywhere.

Laughter: Laughter really is the best medicine – for stress. Its relaxing effect on the body can counteract the strain brought on by stress.

Sleep: Do not underestimate the importance of a good night sleep! If stress is keeping you up at night, try to create a relaxing bedtime routine – listen to calming music, put your cell phone away, and go to bed at the same time every night.

Journal Writing: Diaries aren’t just for teenage girls. When feelings of anxiety get overwhelming, it helps to have an outlet. Simply let your thoughts flow onto the paper – or computer screen – and you’ll likely feel the effects almost immediately.

Music: Music is a great mental distraction, whether you are listening to it or playing it. Find your favorite artist and crank up the volume!

Therapy: If your stress level is too much to manage, seek professional help. Counselors and therapists are trained to help people cope with stress and anxiety.

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Stress Relivers: Top 10 picks to tame stress, Mayo Clinic
Home is Where the Calm Is
Your home should be a restful retreat from the world. Unfortunately, with the abundance of responsibilities and problems that can arise, home can create just as many stresses in your life as work.

Try the following methods to make your home a little less stressful:

De-clutter: When you put things back in their places immediately after using them, the task of cleaning up will feel less daunting. Try to make a habit of putting something away right after you use it.

Start small: Rather than let big tasks build up, try doing a little at a time. Wash your laundry as soon as the hamper is full, rather than waiting for it to overflow.

Lighten up: Open shades and blinds to let natural light shine in as much as possible. Studies have shone that this has a positive effect on health and can relieve stress.

Freshen up: Keeping fresh flowers and plants in your home can help brighten up the space and they have been shown to brighten mood, too.

Organize: Avoid paper pile-ups by going through the mail every day, sorting it, and tossing what you don’t need.

Find your place: Pick a room in your home where you can relax by reading a book, listening to music, or doing something else that calms you. Don’t bring work or other stresses into this space and try to spend at least 20 minutes here each day.

If you start your day in a stress-free home, you are more likely to have a stress-free day.

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10 Small Changes to De-Stress Your Home, Huffington Post
De-Stress Your Desk
Work wasn’t nicknamed “the daily grind” because it’s always fun. In fact, work is one of the biggest stressors we face in our daily lives.

Here are a few ways to make your 9-to-5 less stressful:

Start early: If you leave home 30 minutes earlier, you will feel less rushed. Studies have shown that the less rushed you feel in the morning, the less stressed you’ll feel all day.

Bring snacks: When your blood sugar level drops, you will feel more irritable. If you keep some of your favorite snacks on hand (like protein bars or nuts), you will be able to refuel as often as needed and maintain a positive mood.

Take 10: Try to find ten minutes in your day to tackle your stresses head on. Spend time in thought or try to work through what is worrying you by identifying the cause, the reason it worries you, and the worst-case scenario.

Don’t overdose on email: Set specific times for reading and responding to emails. Use a rule of three: if you’ve exchanged more than three emails about the same topic, pick up the phone for clarification and clearer communication.

Stretch: Sitting at desk all day is not great for the body. Try lifting your legs and stretching them for 30 seconds. Stretch your arms as well to help with blood flow, which can alleviate stress.

Socialize: When work begins to feel monotonous, it can be helpful to be friendly with your colleagues. Remember – they are people, too, likely facing the same challenges. A weekly lunch or social activity can help improve relationships and overall stress levels.

Work can be overwhelming and stressful so remember to make de-stressing a priority.

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10 Ways to De-Stress Your Work Day, Readers Digest
The Power of Habit
Living a healthy life starts with forming healthy habits, or behaviors that occur automatically. Think about the first time you drove to work from home – can you even remember it? Your daily commute is so engrained in your habits that you don’t ever think about it. Your brain goes into autopilot for habit-forming activities like these.

In order to form new habits (or break old ones), it’s important to understand how habits work. Habits form in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia in a three-part pattern called a habit loop:

The Cue
This puts the brain into automatic for the behavior to occur. For example, getting in the car in the morning triggers the brain to automatically remember (and begin) the commute.

The Routine This corresponds to the commute itself, which most likely comes as second nature.

The Reward This closes the loop by helping your brain remember the behavior. Arriving to work without obstacles is an example.

As involuntary as habits are, it is never too late to make, break, or change them. Once you recognize the cues and rewards for your habits, it becomes easier to alter them. Try forming a new habit, like exercising, by using the habit loop to your advantage.

The Cue
Running shoes left by the bed

The Routine
A morning jog

The Reward
A healthy breakfast, endorphin rush, and sense of accomplishment

All you have to do is get started.

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The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
Habits, How They Form and How to Break Them, National Public Radio
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About Us
Empowering individuals with the tools to improve their health is a priority for AvMed Health Plans , which is why they are excited to support Wake Up to Good Health.

AvMed serves Floridians with a superior network of doctors, specialists and hospitals and award-winning service. For more than 40 years, AvMed has been Florida-based and Florida-focused providing personalized service and quality health benefits for individuals and businesses. is the website that helps you focus on what you need to do now to start becoming healthier: small changes, BIG impact.

That is why we focus on four topics: exercising regularly, eating healthier, reducing stress, and knowing your numbers.

For each of these topics we present simple choices, like packing a healthy lunch, adding core exercises to your routine, or simplifying your days.  You can choose which changes appeal the most and start from there.  This site also includes tools like body mass and metabolism calculators, so you can track your progress starting now. 

While it’s always important to take care of our health, it’s also important to have the right healthcare coverage.  Download the free Health Insurance 101 Guide on this page from the experts at AvMed to take the first step.  Test your own knowledge with the Quiz and be entered into our weekly prize drawing for a Nike+ Fuel Band.
Nike+ Fuel Band Contest

1. Eligibility: Wake Up to Good Health – Nike+ Fuel Band Contest (the “Contest”) is open only to legal residents of the state of Florida, who are 18 years of age or older and located in the U.S. at the time of entry. Employees, contractors, independent agents, directors and officers of AvMed Health Plans, 9400 S. Dadeland Blvd. Miami, FL 33156, Compass Partners LLC, 561 SW 168th Ter, Weston, FL 33326 and their respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, distributors, licensees and the advertising, fulfillment, judging and promotion agencies involved in the development and administration of this Contest and each of their officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, “Contest Parties”), and their immediate family members (parent, child, sibling and spouse of each) and those living in the same households of each are not eligible. Void elsewhere and where prohibited by law. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

2. Contest Period: The Wake Up to Good Health – Nike+ Fuel Band Contest (“Contest”) will begin on February 11, 2013 at 6 A.M. and end on Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 6 P.M. ET (“Contest Period”). All times in the Contest refer to Eastern Time (“ET”).

3. How to Enter: During the Contest Period, go to (“Website”) and click on the link to take the Quiz. Follow the on-screen directions to complete the Quiz. Visitors who complete the quiz with a score or 70% of higher will be prompted to complete the entry form (“Online Entry”). Entrants must complete all required information. LIMIT ONE (1) ONLINE ENTRY PER PERSON.

4. Prize Drawing: On or about the following dates, a random drawing from among eligible Online Entries received during the previous month of the Contest Period will be conducted:

March 11, 2013
April 11, 2013
May 11, 2013
June 11, 2013
July 11, 2013
August 11, 2013

5. Prizes, Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) & Odds: One (1) winner will be selected on each of the Prize Drawing dates. Winner will receive one (1) Nike+ Fuel Band, ARV $159.99. No substitution, cash redemption or transfer of prizes is permitted except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. If a prize, or any portion thereof, cannot be awarded for any reason, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All federal, state and local taxes, and all other costs associated with acceptance or use of the prizes, are the sole responsibility of the winner. Arrangements for delivery of prizes will be performed after winner validation. LIMIT ONE (1) PRIZE PER PERSON/EMAIL ADDRESS/HOUSEHOLD. Odds of winning any prize depend on the number of entries received. At the Sponsor’s discretion, unclaimed prizes may not be awarded.

6. General Rules: All federal, state and local laws apply. Winners will be notified by email, mail or telephone. Potential winners may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release of Liability and a Publicity Release within ten (10) days of attempted delivery or prize will be forfeited. The return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable or failure to respond to notices or return any documents in a timely manner may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be chosen. By participating, participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Contest Parties from and against any and all liability or damages associated with this Contest or acceptance, use or misuse of any prize received in this Contest. Contest Parties are not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer or administration of the Contest. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for the Sponsor and its agencies to use winners’ names and likenesses for purposes of advertising and publicity without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. By participating in this Contest, participants agree to be bound by the Official Rules and decisions of the Contest Parties, which shall be final in all matters relating to the Contest. Contest Parties are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, stolen, illegible, inaccurate, damaged, incomplete, non-delivered or postage-due mail; or for printing, distribution or production errors or for technical, hardware, software, or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications caused by the user or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this Contest, or by any human, or other error, which may occur in this Contest. If, in the Contest Parties’ opinion, there is any suspected or actual evidence of tampering with any portion of the Contest or Website or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Contest, the Contest Parties reserves the right to void suspect entries and/or modify and/or terminate the Contest and/or conduct a random drawing to award the prizes using all known eligible non-suspect entries received. The Contest Parties reserves the right to disqualify any individual who tampers with the Contest Parties or Website or acts in a disruptive manner. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an entry, entries will be declared made by the person's name submitted at time of entry.

7. Choice of Law and Jurisdiction: This Contest is offered only in the United States and is governed by the laws of the State of Florida. By entering, entrants irrevocably consent to the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the State of Florida for any action, suit or proceeding arising out of or relating to this Contest.

8. Waiver: By participating in this Contest, participant waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages, attorneys’ fees or any damages other than actual out-of-pocket costs incurred to participate.

9. Winners’ List: To receive a copy of the Winners’ List for this Contest (available after August 11, 2013) send an email (no later than September 1, 2013) to with the subject line: "Winners List Request, Wake Up to Good Health – Nike+ Fuel Band Contest"

10. Sponsor: The Contest is sponsored by AvMed Health Plans, 9400 S. Dadeland Blvd. Miami, FL 33156

11. Judging Agency: The Contest is administered and judged by Compass Partners LLC, 561 SW 168 Ter, Weston, FL 33326.