Wake Up and Workout – Why Morning Exercise is Better for You

When is the best time to work out? Some people prefer the morning, as the gyms are quieter, and they can start the day off energized; some say the afternoon is best so they can burn off steam from a demanding workday. According to scientists, the morning is the best time to work out. You’ll need to do some of your own research to figure out which option is best for you. Here we’ll learn why morning workouts are (generally) better, their possible downsides, and how to really make the most of them.

Reasons why morning workouts are best

Once you get past the sometimes-daunting thought of waking up early, you realize there are more advantages than disadvantages when working out at this time.

  • Fewer distractions – earlier workouts usually mean fewer people to interact with, so you don’t have to deal with crowds. Focusing on the task is easier, so you don’t get distracted!
  • You put yourself in a good mood for the rest of the day – when you exercise, you release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals your body releases while experiencing stress or pain, aiding in overall well-being.
  • You give yourself more energy – once you get over the general grogginess that can come from starting to wake up earlier, your adrenaline starts flowing, causing you to become more alert and energized.
  • You better your cardiovascular health – a study concluded that between 8 and 11 AM is the best time to work out to better your cardiovascular health. In this study, working out at 11 AM had the greatest positive effect on a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared to activity at different times. Overall, people who exercised at 11 AM were 16 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 17 percent less likely to have a first stroke of any kind.
  • Cooler weather – if exercising outside, you can beat the heat by working out in the morning. Sometimes the temperature can jump 30 degrees in hotter areas in a matter of hours. Exercising outside in high temperatures can be dangerous, so a morning workout is considered safer.
  • You improve your sleep cycle – research finds that morning workouts shift your circadian rhythm, so your body is naturally more alert in the morning and more tired in the evening.
Downsides to morning workouts

While morning workouts have many upsides, it’s important to note that they also have disadvantages. Weigh these options when considering the best time of day for your workout.

  • It takes more time to get started – when you wake up, you’re low on energy, have a lower core body temperature, and have a slower heart rate. These factors mean you need to take more time to warm up to exercise safely.
  • You might interrupt your sleep cycle – while morning workouts can improve your sleep, it depends on the person. You might throw off your sleep cycle, resulting in fatigue and sleep inertia or grogginess. You can calculate your sleep cycle to determine your best exercise times.
How to get the most out of a morning workout

If morning workouts are the best option for you, they can be optimized in a few ways. If you’re already struggling with exercising earlier, why not make the most of it?

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast – since you have lower energy in the morning, make sure you eat before a workout. Try foods such as whole-grain cereals or bread, a banana, and yogurt. Look for foods that will fill you up but not weigh you down. The double-edged sword is that you need to wait after you’ve eaten before you exercise- it’s recommended that you wait one to two hours after you eat a meal to exercise or 30 to 60 minutes after you eat a snack.
  • Keep a schedule – one of the best ways to make something a habit is to maintain a schedule around it. Wake up at the same time and exercise at the same time. Do this at whatever frequency you wish but keep to that schedule.
  • Stretch – your body is just waking up, so don’t push it. Take at least five minutes to do basic stretches that warm up your body to prevent injury.

Although they may be harder to break into, morning workouts give you more bang for your buck. It’s essential, however, to choose which time of day is best for you. Weighing in factors like your diet and sleep cycle can help you decide on the right course of action.

Five Large Contributions Women Made in Healthcare

Did you know that today women make up 77.6 percent of the total healthcare workforce in the US? This field may have a strong female presence now, but it wasn’t always this way. In honor of National Women’s Day, we want to introduce you to five women whose contributions changed the face of the medical field. Each of these women in healthcare and science broke down barriers to champion equality, education, and the advancement of women in the workforce during a time when it was extremely unpopular to do so. Here are five contributions women made in healthcare that hugely impacted our world.

Alice Evans‘ Contribution Led to Safer Milk

The discovery of the bacterium responsible for undulant fever led to the practice of pasteurizing milk in the 1930s. We owe this to microbiologist Alice Evans. With no doctorate or medical degree to her name, she made waves in her community when microbiology was in its early stages. Because of her discovery, she became the first female president of the Society of American Bacteriologists.

Florence Seibert’s Contribution led to the First Tuberculosis Test

Biochemist Florence Seibert was responsible for this ground-breaking advancement. Tuberculosis (also known as consumption) had killed one in seven people that lived by the 19th century. This testing is still the standard today, and confirmed Tuberculosis is easily treated in almost all cases with a mix of antibiotics administered over six months. Even after retirement, she continued to research on a volunteer basis and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at age 90.

Dame Cicely Saunders’ Contribution was the Founding of Hospice

Although hospice-like care is believed to have been established in the 11th century during the Crusades, the modern-day hospice system has only existed since the 1960s. In 1963, British physician Dame Cicely Saunders gave a talk at Yale University about her ideas of specialized care for the dying. She worked with terminally ill patients in London for several years but didn’t open the first hospice ‘St. Christopher’s’ until 1967. Inspired by Seibert’s Yale visit, Dr. Florence Wald, Dean of the Yale School of Nursing, opened the first US hospice in Branford, Connecticut, in 1974. As of 2023, the US has 1,805 hospices and palliative care centers in the US. The centers are vital to end-of-life care and are instrumental in making a challenging situation for patients and their families easier.

Gertrude Elion’s Contribution Led to the Possibility of Organ Transplants

At age 15, Gertrude Elion witnessed her grandfather die painfully from stomach cancer. It was then she set out to pursue her life’s mission of alleviating suffering from medical conditions. Her greatest discovery came when she developed azathioprine, also known as Imuran. This discovery makes organ transplants possible; a procedure performed 3,636 times in the US in the past year. Elion’s work also pioneered a new era of antiviral therapy that opened the doors to the first drug discovered to treat AIDS. An illness that has killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide since the start of its epidemic.

Marie Curie’s Contribution was the Discovery of Radium and Polonium and Their Use in Cancer Treatments

Marie Curie is arguably one of the most famous women in scientific history. Still, many don’t know the specifics of her story. She and her husband, Pierre Curie, discovered radium and polonium and coined the term “radioactive.” Because of this work, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in France. She and her husband provided radium for the first treatment known as “brachytherapy” in 1901. Shortly after, the famous Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center started the groundbreaking therapy in 1903. During World War I, she hid her radium research to create, with her daughter, hundreds of standing x-ray facilities in France to assist wounded soldiers on the frontlines. To this day, Curie is the only woman to have received two Nobel Prizes. Her contributions to cancer treatment are still used today, helping the estimated 1.9 million people diagnosed with cancer in the US in 2022 alone.

We are honored to celebrate these women in healthcare and science, their contributions, and the doors they opened for future generations. To learn about more women in healthcare that have helped pave the way, read our previous blog celebrating International Women’s Day!

Why Annual Physicals Are a Vital Preventative Care Element

With the new year already underway, are you thinking about your health? A Statista survey revealed that people are more likely to be health conscious around this time of the year, with “living healthier” being the number one resolution from 2022. If you plan to prioritize your health in 2023, consider involving your primary care physician. Getting a physical is a great way to help kick-start the new year. Annual physicals are also a vital part of preventative care and keeping tabs on your health, as many illnesses can go unnoticed. According to the CDC, six in ten adults in the US have a chronic disease, which are the leading causes of death and disability in the nation. During a physical, your doctor can run a few tests to rule out chronic illnesses or diseases that could cost you a lot of time and money if left untreated.

Top five questions to ask your doctor at a yearly check-up

Now that you’re planning an annual physical, will you ask the right questions? Your primary care physician will do most of the heavy lifting, but it’s essential that you also take charge in asking about your health. We talked with Healthcare2U’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Rodriguez, about the top five questions you should ask your doctor at your yearly check-up, here are his recommendations:

  1. Am I up to date on adult immunizations?
  2. What are my vital signs, and are they normal?
  3. Are my prescriptions still relevant?
  4. Is there anything I could do to better my health?
  5. Do I have any family medical history that puts me at risk for illnesses?

Bear in mind- these are just general questions that everyone should be asking. If you have preexisting conditions or are currently dealing with a medical issue during your check-up, you’ll want to ask specific questions related to your current health. However, the last thing you should do is self-diagnose; let a doctor handle your diagnosis.

How Healthcare2U’s DPC membership is a vital part of preventative care 

If you want an annual physical, you’ll probably need to use insurance. With varying insurance costs and steep out of pocket co-pays, it’s easy to see why so many people can’t access these yearly check-ups, as it can be difficult to afford such a high monthly payment. However, if you’re a member of Healthcare2U, there is an alternative option to primary care access that helps you receive the care you need.

Healthcare2U’s DPC membership focuses on prevention and caters to each member, so you have an ally in managing your health.

Healthcare2U’s Direct Primary Care (DPC) membership caters to you through affordable and easy-to-access primary medical care. Healthcare2U provides unlimited in-office primary and urgent care visits, 24/7/365 bilingual Virtual DPC, and chronic disease management for 13 disease states. Membership also includes an annual physical with four labs: (1) complete metabolic panel (CMP), (2) complete blood count (CBC), (3) thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and (4) lipid panel. By getting these annual tests, you’ll know more about your health and be able to make a plan with your doctor if you need further care.

Keep in mind, should these tests detect the beginning stages of a chronic disease* you’ll receive unlimited doctor visits for treating and managing that illness for just $10 per visit. Combined with our bilingual Patient Advocacy Line (PAL) and Virtual DPC, every member receives the guidance and care they need when they need it. Healthcare2U’s DPC membership focuses on prevention and caters to each member, so you have an ally in managing your health.

For more information on how the DPCplus membership can play a vital role in your preventative care, contact us or read more about our membership.


*Healthcare2U’s membership includes the detection, treatment and management of 13 chronic disease states within manageable ranges. Contact us to learn more.

City of Newark Sees Significant Savings by Integrating Healthcare2U into Medical Plan

By incorporating Healthcare2U’s Direct Primary Care within the City of Newark’s Aetna medical plan, Foundation Risk Partners generated significant savings for the city while enriching healthcare options.

March 7, 2023 (Newark, NJ) – After receiving a 21 percent rate increase for their health insurance premiums, the City of Newark sought a solution to contain healthcare spending. In response, Eagle Rock Management Group, a Foundation Risk Partners (FRP) Company, integrated The City of Newark’s Aetna medical plan with Healthcare2U. This partnership reduced the city’s aggregate stop loss numbers by 3 percent.

Healthcare2U’s Direct Primary Care (DPC) membership provides a defined set of primary care services that do not generate insurance claims against a medical plan. This claims deflection results in significant premium savings for employers year-over-year.

“With inflation and increased pension and employee benefit contributions, saving money was more important than ever,” says Joseph DiVincenzo, President of Eagle Rock Management Group. “We needed a solution to provide valuable care that did not hit the underlying self-funded medical plan. Because of its cost-containment nature, Direct Primary Care through Healthcare2U was that solution. If employers are deflecting these non-emergency claims, they are saving money.”

Healthcare2U’s membership prioritizes patient advocacy and member education to direct employees through the proper utilization of medical care. Their bilingual Patient Advocacy Line does this by guiding members through their health plan, and even assists with scheduling. Healthcare2U’s unlimited benefits include in-office acute visits for primary and urgent care, annual physicals with four labs, early-stage chronic disease management, and 24/7 Virtual DPC. The membership is nationwide and available for organizations of all sizes.

About Healthcare2U

Healthcare2U is a membership-based, hybrid direct primary care (DPC) organization that ensures employers of all sizes and structures have nationwide access to affordable, consistent, and quality primary care over 40% below the average cost of traditional DPC practices operating in the market today. Through our proprietary Private Physician Network (PPN)™, Healthcare2U promotes healthy living by detecting, treating, and managing acute and chronic conditions before the onset of serious illness. Healthcare2U is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is available nationwide. For more information, visit www.healthc2u.com.

Find Healthcare2U on LinkedIn and follow Healthcare2U’s blog to keep up with company developments, news, and informative articles.

©2023 Healthcare2U, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Healthcare2U and the Healthcare2U logo are trademarks of Healthcare2U, LLC in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced are those of their respective owners.

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Investing in Employee Benefits Education is Beneficial to Both Employees and Employers

Benefits education and direct primary care not only lower costs for self-funded groups but can result in a healthier workforce, more thoughtful benefits utilization, and improved retention. When employers actively encourage their employees to prioritize their health, they also foster a culture based on healthy living. This encouragement can result in better health outcomes for their employees and motivation to take ownership of their health.

By understanding their benefits and how to access them, employees are more likely to utilize them correctly. For example, an employee who doesn’t understand their coverage may delay medical care, resulting in an expensive serious illness. To empower employees, brokers can add navigation and advocacy services to a self-funded plan to guide employees through their coverages and memberships to help them select the proper care. The combination of benefits education and navigation services can lead to thoughtful utilization and prevention of unnecessary urgent care and emergency room visits, which in turn shields the claims reserve from unnecessary claims.

In addition to lower health costs, well-executed employee health programs can boost recruitment and retention efforts. A MetLife study found that 51 percent of employees who feel that their health is holistically considered were more likely to stay at their current organizations for at least one more year and would recommend their current company as a good place to work.

Free self-funded health plan infographic download image

Further enhance cost savings with direct primary care

Employees are empowered to make meaningful lifestyle changes by providing health and benefits education, which creates a domino effect that positively impacts costs, morale, recruitment, and retention. These results are enhanced when combined with additional services focused on preventative care, early detection, and chronic disease management — like direct primary care. Employees with unlimited access to primary care for an affordable monthly membership fee are more likely to establish care with a primary care physician. This affordable access encourages employees to take an active role in their health and manage preventable conditions before they manifest into something more serious. Employers also benefit from this arrangement, as their claims reserve is protected from the services provided within the DPC ecosystem.

A hybrid DPC solution that benefits all

With Healthcare2U’s DPC membership, members have unlimited nationwide access to affordable primary and urgent care, virtually or in-office, unlimited treatment and management of chronic diseases, and round-the-clock telehealth. Navigation and advocacy are also built into the membership, ensuring that members always have a bilingual certified medical professional to guide them through their benefits, care options, and appointments. This combination of benefits diverts primary, urgent, and early-stage chronic care away from the self-funded plan, allowing employers to reserve those funds for more costly claims. Employers also save on their stop-loss insurance.

Healthcare2U can be implemented in organizations of all sizes and structures at any time during the plan year. If you’d like more information about helping self-funded clients implement a direct primary care solution, contact Healthcare2U today.

Health Benefits Education and Direct Primary Care Can Lower Costs for Self-Funded Groups

Self-funded plans are a great way to offer customizable benefits that employees want and need while lowering healthcare costs. Most brokers agree that self-funding is in the best interest of their larger clients’ long-term strategies. However, 52 percent said their fully insured clients remain fully insured because of the perception there is too much risk in self-funding. This perceived risk stems from misunderstanding the self-funded strategy and stop-loss protection.

Free self-funded health plan infographic download image

A well-run self-funded health plan — that operates at the most efficient level and maximizes cost savings — requires buy-in from executive leadership, who understand the importance of expense management, employee education, continuous communication, and a preventive health strategy. By using claims data to create a unique benefits plan and educating employee populations about their personal health and employer-sponsored coverage, employers can shield the self-funded plan from costly claims and result in better health outcomes for their workforce.

The cost of preventable health conditions on a self-funded plan

As we continue to see healthcare costs increase, employers are relying on benefit advisors to help manage their expenses. Before deciding on a cost containment strategy for clients, it’s essential to understand the cost of preventable health conditions and employee claims data.

Preventable chronic conditions are a significant contributor to the costs of health insurance premiums and employee medical claims. Four of the costliest health conditions (and one-third of all deaths) are related to heart disease and stroke. These conditions cost our healthcare system $216 billion annually and cause $147 billion in lost productivity on the job. However, these conditions don’t materialize overnight and often result from years of poor health.

Since most costly health conditions are preventable, brokers should pair self-funded plans with preventative care services. One of the significant advantages of self-funded plans is that employers have the claims data to make informed decisions and the flexibility to combine and remove services that address the unique needs of their employees. However, preventative care and chronic disease related claims can slowly chip away at claims reserves, leaving little for more significant claims or enough to roll over into the following year. Including a product like Direct Primary Care (DPC), which provides unlimited primary care visits for a flat monthly fee, can help shield reserves from an entire category of claims by absorbing the costs of routine preventative care. This type of membership can also help employees who are dealing with a chronic disease by providing affordable visits and encouraging them to actively manage their health. By deflecting claims for preventative care and chronic disease management, plan costs are significantly lowered.

Disconnect in benefit offerings and understanding 

Brokers can help their clients create a perfect benefits plan. Still, the plan won’t deliver the desired results if the employees don’t understand the benefits terminology, how to access and utilize their benefits, or how their benefits impact their health.

survey conducted by LIMRA found that 53 percent of employees felt that their employer didn’t communicate their medical benefits well. This lack of understanding can result in the underutilization or misuse of benefits and frustration from employees. Brokers should encourage their clients to continuously communicate their benefit offerings throughout the year, using several channels to reach all employees. Communications should cater to each employee cohort and highlight what matters most to them. Usage examples can also help employees determine which benefits to use for specific situations.

In addition to benefits education, employees need to understand how their benefits impact their overall health, present and future. Multiple studies have confirmed that regular primary care visits result in better health over the long term, but few people go to regular visits. OnlineDoctor.com found that 1/3 of Americans avoid regular doctor appointments, citing insurance coverage and costs as a primary reason. Employers can address this issue by highlighting the costs of commonly used benefits and incentivizing employees to visit their Primary Care Provider (PCP). Beyond the doctor’s office, educational materials regarding chronic conditions and prevention should also be included in regular communications throughout the year, such as a monthly email campaign to employees.

In our next blog post, we will briefly discuss how employee benefits education is beneficial and critical to a self-funded health plan. Read further here.