The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise, Adventure

Group of people kayaking with the words Outdoor Exercise written across

The World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, each week. But it can be tough. Between your job and your kids, it’s hard to find time to do the things you want to do, let alone something you don’t particularly want to do, like exercise.

“The best advice is to keep in mind that any amount of activity is better than none and it’s important to select exercise that is consistent with your goals,” says Brian Parr, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.

Let’s face it; not everyone enjoys the gym. Maybe it’s time to “think outside the barbell,” says Dr. Marc Tinsley. “One of the main problems is that people associate exercise with a gym or equipment. Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal; it’s about having enough energy to do your activities of daily living safely and effectively.” In other words, make exercise fun!

It is so important to find a physical activity that you want to do – that you look forward to. Otherwise, you will find it incredibly hard to stick to your exercise routine. Our suggestion: take it outside!

“Sports such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, racket and ball sports and numerous other physical activities give you more choices for enjoyable exercise, which is likely to keep you motivated,” says Tina Pashley of LIVESTRONG.

It’s really all about finding what works best for Y-O-U. If you enjoy hiking, go for a hike. If you like kayaking, go kayaking. And if you prefer sports, find a league near you. There are no limitations to how you exercise. The only important thing is that you get up and get active at least 150 minutes every week.

“Outdoor exercise can be adapted to anyone’s level of fitness,” advises Tina Vindum, the author of Tina Vindum’s Outdoor Fitness: Step Out of the Gym into the Best Shape of Your Life and the first outdoor fitness instructor accredited by the American Council on Exercise.

Terrapin Adventures can help! Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course (ropes course) with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants of all fitness levels. We also offer several guided tours and outdoor activities, such as biking, backpacking, kayaking, and geocaching, just to name a few.

Find Your Next Adventure!

“Time spent in outdoor recreation leads to a range of benefits, from reduced obesity rates to strengthened family ties,” according to Robert Manning, professor of recreation management at the University of Vermont. And, quite frankly, it’s more enjoyable.

In a number of studies, participants were asked to go for two walks of the same time or distance — one inside on a treadmill or around a track, and the other outdoors. In virtually all instances, the participants reported higher levels of satisfaction when exercising outdoors.

“If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then it is a good thing,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of California, San Diego. After all, “despite the fitness industry boom, we are not seeing changes in national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer.”

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Pashley, Tina. “Physical, Social, Emotional & Intellectual Benefits of Outdoor Recreation.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 26 May 2015. Web. 12 May 2017.
  2. Writer, Leaf Group. “Physical, Social, Emotional & Intellectual Benefits of Outdoor Recreation.” Back. Azcentral.com, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 May 2017.
  3. Iliades, Chris . “The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise.” EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 09 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 May 2017.
  4. Reynolds, Gretchen. “The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 May 2017.

Building Team Unity in 5 Easy Steps

Team UnityA team without unity, without cohesion, isn’t really much of a team, is it? As an employer trying to build a strong workforce or a coach trying to build a strong team, UNITY should be the first item on your checklist. “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved,” says American poet Mattie Stepanek.

So the question becomes how do you build team unity and foster a sense of belonging amongst a group of individuals that may have little in common outside of the fact that they are members of the same team?

How to Build Team Unity in 5 Easy Steps

“Clearly, building meaningful relationships in the office can have a positive impact on job satisfaction and, as a result, success,” says Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany.

The average American adult employed full time works 47 hours per week, according to a Gallup poll, and four in 10 workers put in over 50 hours each week. So, it’s important to like what you do and who you work with. According to the Gallup Organization, workers who identify coworkers as friends (or even best friends) are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more likely to be satisfied and productive.

Fortunately, building team unity just takes a little work…

Step 1) Clearly Define Goals

As Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.”  It is important that every member of the team knows and understands the company’s goals. Without a clearly-defined finish line and plan to reach that finish line, everyone will ultimately run in different directions.

Step 2) Clearly Define Roles

As the old saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” This is just as true in the workplace or on the field as it is in the kitchen. Without clearly defined roles, productivity comes to a standstill. Too many leaders – too many voices – slow the process, lead to missed deadlines, unproductive behavior, errors, and ultimately failure.

Step 3) Establish Trust

Scottish author and poet George MacDonald once said “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

Trust is essential to an effective relationship, an effective team, and an effective business. We must trust our co-workers, our teammates. We must trust that they will do their jobs. We must trust that they will pull their own weight and add value to the team. But building trust is not always easy. As theologian Isaac Watts once said, “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” Trust must be earned, and this can take some time.

Step 4) Encourage Open Communication

“We’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success,” writes study author Alex “Sandy” Pentland, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory. The ability to communicate clearly is critical, and yet it is something that many companies take for granted. In fact, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

“The general consensus of the executives was that effective communication skills are more important now than ever before for business success,” say researchers James Bennet and Robert Olney, “and these skills will continue to be a critical component of the information society.”

Step 5) Practice

Teamwork – unity – takes practice. And, sometimes, it is best to get out of the office to improve in-office productivity. This is where Terrapin Adventures comes in. We will give your employees a crash course in teamwork. Our team team building activities allow people to play different roles within the team to work out solutions to certain challenges. Each of our team building exercises is fun but challenging, designed to make your employees stop, think, communicate, adjust their plan of action on the fly, and ultimately fail once or twice before succeeding. Get in touch with a Guest Relations Specialist today and ask about how we can help you plan your team building event.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “THE IMPORTANCE OF UNITY IN TEAM SUCCESS.” Addocura. N.p., 4 Nov. 2015. Web.
  2. Glaze, Sean. “Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity.” Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity. Association for Talent Development, 30 July 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
  3. Pentland, Alex “Sandy”, and Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone. “The New Science of Building Great Teams.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., 15 July 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.
  4. Bennett, J. C., and R. J. Olney. “Executive Priorities for Effective Communication in an Information Society.” Journal of Business Communication 23.2 (1986): 13-22. Web.
  5. Lavoie, Andre. “How to Build Meaningful Relationships in the Workplace.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 01 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

The Benefits of Climbing & Why Children Love It

Climbing Children

It should come as no surprise (especially to parents) that children love to climb. Whether it is on the playground, up a tree, over the furniture, or on top of their siblings, children can often be found climbing. But why? What motivates them to climb and is there any benefit?

The WHY of Climbing

Girl Climbing Rock WallAccording to Dr. Joe Frost, acknowledged as the contemporary father of play advocacy, children climb for many reasons:

  • Development: “All healthy children are born to climb,” says Dr. Frost. It’s in their nature. Climbing behavior follows normal developmental processes. “Soon after birth, children employ built in natural instincts to seek, see, explore, touch, and move objects and build mental and physical capabilities leading to initial climbing skills.”
  • Fun: “Children climb for fun,” says Dr. Frost. They climb to explore, to compete, to tap into their imagination and play make-believe, to chase their friends, and so much more. Simply put, climbing is fun!
  • Adrenaline: Young children love to push the boundaries of what they should do and climbing is another way for them to experience a “sense of danger,” says Dr. Frost. “Healthy development requires that children have many opportunities to take risks.”
  • Learning: Children often climb to explore and gain new perspectives. “Children are wired to learn and learning by climbing carries benefits in skill development, health, fitness, and injury prevention,” says Dr. Frost.

The BENEFITS of Climbing

Boy Climbing Rock Wall Kid CourseAside from being a natural step in the developmental process, climbing also has several other benefits. The most obvious is Exercise. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), children should receive at least one hour of physical activity every day:

  • Toddlers:  30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play.
  • Preschoolers: 60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play.
  • School-Age: One hour broken up into bouts of 15 minutes or more.

“Physical activity and sports [like climbing] are generally promoted for their positive effect on children’s physical health,” says Dr. Amika Singh. However, this is just the begining. Additional benefits include:

  • Reduces Stress: Exercise, like climbing, “has been shown to reduce stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps balance our brain’s response to stress,” writes Huffington Post reporter Abigail Wise.
  • Life Lessons: “From a mental standpoint, climbing is an amazing teacher, instilling focus, balance, determination and a whole … host of valuable life skills,” says Cedar Wright, team climber with The North Face. Climbing is also a great way to build confidence and improve self esteem.
  • Problem Solving: Climbing is a great way for children to improve their natural problem solving skills. Every climb, ever ascent, is a new problem that must be addressed head on. How do I get from Point A to Point B without falling? What is the most efficient way to get to the top?
  • Mental Health: “There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes, including health-related quality of life and better mood states,” says Dr. Singh, as well as “enhancement of brain function and cognition, thereby positively influencing academic performance.”

The WHERE of Climbing

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures has a ropes course specifically designed for children ages 5-10 – our  Terrapin Explorer kids’ course. With 22 different fun elements, the Terrapin Explorer lets kids walk, balance, swing, zip, and crawl as they get the physical activity they need.

Schedule Your Adventure!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Frost, Joe L. “Why Children Climb.” Play and Playground Magazine 1 July 2013: n. pag. Print.
  2. Singh, Amika. “Physical Activity and Performance at School.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 166.1 (2012): 49. Web.
  3. Wise, Abigail. “How Rock Climbing Does Your Mind — And Body — Good.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 30 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.

3 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Motivate Employees

“The business world is in the midst of a sea change,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community.

Here are a three simple ways to motivate your employees and keep them motivated.

1) Show Your Employees You Care

This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised just how many employees feel undervalued. Overall, more than one in five (21 percent) working Americans said they do not feel valued by their employers. This could be due to a number of factors:

  1. Little to no opportunities for involvement in decision making
  2. Poor work/life balance
  3. Lack of flexible work arrangements
  4. Poor monetary compensation

Meanwhile, research from the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that showing your employees that they are appreciated is a simple way to boost productivity. According to the study, “Almost all employees (93 percent) who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work” and 88 percent reported feeling engaged.

2) De-Stress via Exercise

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America’s (ADAA) 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, employees say stress and anxiety most often impact:

  • workplace performance (56 percent)
  • relationship with coworkers and peers (51 percent)
  • quality of work (50 percent)
  • relationships with superiors (43 percent)

According to researchers Tracy Hecht and Kathleen Boies, the stress relief solution you’ve been looking for could be exercise. According to the pair, “sports, recreation, and fitness programs lead to less somatic complaints and higher life satisfaction,” as well as “lower absenteeism and higher job satisfaction.”

ExerciseA day out of the office could be a great way to motivate your employees and show them you care. “Working in an office can be a very sedentary job, so it’s especially important to your overall sense of health and happiness to take a few minutes during your workday to get up and move a little,” says Jason Bergund, founding director of Dancetherapy. So, consider rewarding your employees with a day (or half day) at Terrapin Adventures. Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features a zip line, high ropes challenge course, climbing tower, the Giant Swing, and the Terrapin Flyer – a 40 ft. controlled descent..

“It takes about four hours to do all the adventures on site,” says Baker.  We can customize a program to fit most groups’ time and budget requirements.

Walk-ins are welcome, but guests are strongly encouraged you to call ahead or reserve their time online, especially large groups. Simply call 301-725-1313 or click http://bit.ly/19k3rHL to get started. If you have any questions, email info@terrapinadventures.com.

In 2010, researcher Jenny Phan measured the benefits of challenge course activities among 120 subjects and found that these activities “impacted the participants at an emotional and social level,” and most participants saw a noticeable increase in their “emotional and social skills.” Of the 120 participants, 79 stated that the activities had some type of an impact on their ability to overcome fear, 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem, 104 trust, 97 confidence, 83 empathy, 75 ease of stress, and 94 noted a positive outlook on life after their afternoon on the challenge course.

“It is clear that challenge course experiences are beneficial tools for participants” and can impact “a variety of educational and psychological constructs,” write researchers Gillis and Speelman.

3) Team Building: Structured Group “Play” Works Wonders

“Team developmental interventions are key mechanisms that may be used to facilitate team effectiveness,” writes Raymond Noe in Employee Training and Development.

Team Building

Team building is one of the most commonly applied group development interventions in organizations today, according to the scientific study “Does Team Building Work?” But what everyone wants to know is why? Why is team building so popular? And, most importantly, does team building help motivate employees? This was the questions that researchers Deborah Diazgranados, Cameron Klein, Eduardo Salas, Huy Le, C. Burke, Rebecca Lyons, and Gerald Goodwin sought to answer. They did this by looking at four specific team building components: goal setting, interpersonal relations, problem solving, and role clarification.

“Results (based on 60 correlations) suggest that team building has a positive moderate effect across all team outcomes,” write Diazgranados et al.

Schedule Your Team Building Session Today!

However, without practice, the lessons learned during one afternoon of team building will be quickly lost. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. This is just as true in the office as it is on the basketball court, football field, soccer pitch, or hockey rink. “Team building, without some follow-up mechanism, is often a waste of time and energy,” says researchers William J. Rothwell, Roland Sullivan, and Gary N. McLean – which is why researcher John N. Peragine claims, “Follow-up is the most important step in any team building exercise.”

Just like in sports, one practice is not enough to enact lasting change. Even the great Michael Jordan works tirelessly to perfect his game.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

- Michael Jordan

“There is a relationship between the follow-up actions taken and perception of team building success,” writes researchers H.S. Kriek and P. Venter. As researchers William J. Rothwell, Roland Sullivan, and Gary N. McLean explain, “Much of the research on team building suggests that teams that do a one-time team building session but fail to create any follow-up activities to reinforce what they’ve learned quickly regress to their previous behaviors.” This is why Terrapin Adventures recommends a follow-up session every three to six months. These follow-up sessions are also an excellent opportunity to expand up those previous lessons and take your team to the next level. It takes time to enact positive, long-lasting change.

Works Cited

  1. Ciotti, Gregory. “10 Insights on Building, Motivating and Managing an Exceptional Team.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 10 June 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.
  2. Bethune, Sophie, and Luana Bossolo. “APA Survey Finds Feeling Valued at Work Linked to Well-Being and Performance.” American Psychological Association, 8 Mar. 2012. Web.
  3. Kriek, H. S., and P. Venter. “The Perceived Success of Teambuilding Interventions in South African Organisations.” Southern African Business Review 13.1 (2009).
  4. Noe, R. A. (2002). Employee training and development (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  5. “10 Tips for Staying Happy at Work.” Interview by Jason Bergund. Monster. Web.

Things to Do in Howard County for the Outdoor Adventurer

ropes-imageHoward County officially became the 21st of Maryland’s 23 counties in 1851. Today, the county is touted as the “perfect combination of historic and hip.” There is something for everyone, from the foodie to the tourist to the outdoor adventurer. Howard County truly has it all.

“As a lifelong resident, I have always known that Howard County is a great place to live, work and visit,” says Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Executive. “Howard County is known for great schools, an award-winning library system, a world class arts scene, and many varied parks and cultural opportunities. We have much to offer, from the growing, urban center of Columbia to the beautiful vistas of farms and open space in the county’s western reaches.”

Outdoor Fun and Adventure Awaits in Howard County

In Howard County you can escape the hustle and bustle of the big city without wandering too far from comfortable amenities, delicious dining, and an active nightlife.

“If you’re a nature enthusiast, journey through the many paths around the County, experience the paddle boats or trails at Centennial Park, or discover the extensive educational programming and marvels housed at our Robinson Nature Center,” says Dr. Calvin Ball, Howard County Council. “I’m confident you’ll find treasures that peak your interest to take back home with you and create lasting memories during your stay that will last a lifetime.”

With over 30,000 acres of parkland, over 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, or running, Howard County is the perfect place for a little outdoor adventure! Below are just a few examples.

Explore the Outdoors at Patapsco Valley State Park

geocachingHoward County is home to Maryland’s first state park – the Patapsco Valley State Park, a park nationally known for its trail opportunities and scenery. The park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and eight developed recreational areas, and more than 200 miles of trails. Additional recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups.

Patapsco Valley State Park welcomes over one million visitors each and every year.

And this is just one of the many parks throughout the county. In fact, Howard County is home to more than 50 regional, community, and neighborhood parks in total! Click Here to view them all. These parks contain sports facilities, recreation areas for picnics, scenic outdoor trails for hiking and exploring, and nearly all public parks have playground areas. Howard County parks also play host to a number of local, regional and national events, including the Columbia Triathlon, Iron Girl Triathlon, Cherrybration, Wine in the Woods (which drew a crowd of over 25,000 this past year), Sunset Serenades, and numerous sports tournaments.

Take a Riding Lesson at the Columbia Horse Center

Established in 1972, the Columbia Horse Center is a complete equestrian facility offering lessons for children and adults, lease and boarding programs, showing opportunities, horse sales, camps, clinics and more.

Every Saturday, the Columbia Horse Center offers an Introductory Lesson and/or Evaluation at 1:00.

Visit Terrapin Adventures for Some High-Flying Fun

zip-line-imageAdventure starts here! Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is touted by The Baltimore Sun as one of the “100 Best Places to Take the Kids” in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., or Virginia. The Terrapin Challenge kids course “is just plain outdoor fun to challenge youngsters,” says Matt Baker, Chief Adventure Officer at Terrapin Adventures. “Children can gain confidence, get exercise and soar through the air.” Of course, there is plenty for adults as well, including a zip line, high ropes challenge course, climbing tower, the Giant Swing, and the Terrapin Flyer – a 40 ft. freefall.

“It takes four hours to do all the adventures on site,” says Baker.

And then, of course, there are the offsite adventures, which include kayak tours, mountain biking, tubing, caving, backpacking, parties, team building and so much more.

TA-kayaking

Walk-ins are welcome, but guests are strongly encouraged you to call ahead or reserve their time online, especially for the offsite programs. Simply call 301-725-1313 or click http://bit.ly/19k3rHL to get started. If you have any questions, email info@terrapinadventures.com.

Welcome to Howard County!

Team Building Builds Strong Relationships

Team Building RelationshipsAmerican poet Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

The average American adult employed full time works 47 hours per week, according to a Gallup poll, and four in 10 workers put in over 50 hours each week. So, it’s important to like what you do and who you work with. According to the Gallup Organization, workers who identify coworkers as friends (or even best friends) are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more likely to be satisfied and productive.

“Clearly, building meaningful relationships in the office can have a positive impact on job satisfaction and, as a result, success,” says Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany.

Human beings are naturally social creatures that crave friendship and positive interactions. But these relationships must be forged and nurtured. The question is how?

How to Build Strong Relationships

Below, we have outlined the three key building blocks of any good relationship – trust, communication, and collaboration.

Relationship PyramidTrust

Scottish author and poet George MacDonald once said “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

It all starts with trust. If you do not trust the person next to you, what kind of relationship is that really? Without trust you have nothing. Trust is essential to an effective relationship, an effective team, and an effective business. We must trust our co-workers, our teammates. We must trust that they will do their jobs. We must trust that they will pull their own weight and add value to the team. Unfortunately, building trust is not always easy. As theologian Isaac Watts once said, “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” Trust must be earned. And until we have a solid foundation of trust, we can never truly build a meaningful relationship.

Communication

“The general consensus of the executives was that effective communication skills are more important now than ever before for business success,” say researchers James Bennet and Robert Olney, “and these skills will continue to be a critical component of the information society.” In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” But on a much more personal level, communication is what fuels individual relationships. This is just as true in business as it is in our personal lives. Open and honest communication is important.

Collaboration

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Collaboration as the ability “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.” In other words, collaboration is teamwork. It’s the final product of any good relationship. Collaboration is a good working relationship in action!

According to the Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, a qualitative, ethnographic, global research study of collaboration at Cisco, an American multinational technology company, “Working together and having multifaceted perspectives trumps working alone and often leads to idea propagation.”

As one participant in the study put it, “Collaboration is the bundling of experiences. Sharing the expertise and being able to leverage the experience of many people gives you diversity, and different views. It sums up to more than if you do it on your own.”

According to “18 Statistics About Company Culture You Can’t Afford To Ignore,”companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

Relationships are not formed overnight. They are not formed by sheer will. They take actual work. What he was referring to is experiential learning. Humans learn better by doing. In 1938, John Dewey wrote that “there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.” So instead of lecturing your employees on the value of good working relationships, get out of the office and show them the benefits of teamwork. This is where team building comes into play.

“Instead of struggling through team-building activities, people who want to form meaningful relationships in the office take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about their colleagues,” says Lavoie.

How Team Building Builds Trust & Good Working Relationships

Team building seeks to first build trust among your team members. A 2010 study conducted by research Jenny Phan tested this notion with a particular emphasis on challenge courses. Phan evaluated and tested the benefits of these activities on 120 subjects – 104 stated that the activities had some type of an impact on their ability to TRUST their fellow participants, 79 believed challenge course activities helped them overcome fear, 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem, 97 confidence, 83 empathy, 75 ease of stress, and 94 noted a positive outlook on life after their afternoon on the challenge course.

“From the data, it shows that placing the participants in challenging situations does increase their trust level with themselves and others,” says Phan.

Once trust is established, team building attempts to establish open and effective communication, and finally collaboration. According to Phan, challenge courses and team building activities “impacted the participants at an emotional and social level,” and most participants saw a noticeable increase in their “emotional and social skills.”

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

“Building strong interpersonal relationships within your team creates a work environment that is more conducive to working together and getting things done,” writes Joel Garfinkle.

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized team building programs (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Presented in a fun and creative way, team building exercises challenge your group to step out of their comfort zones and encourage them to work together to solve certain tasks. These simple exercises help break down communication barriers and foster trust, which will, in turn, help promote teamwork and collaboration.

After each team building exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Lavoie, Andre. “How to Build Meaningful Relationships in the Workplace.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 01 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
  2. “THE IMPORTANCE OF UNITY IN TEAM SUCCESS.” Addocura. N.p., 4 Nov. 2015. Web.
  3. Glaze, Sean. “Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity.” Two Main Ingredients That Create Team Unity. Association for Talent Development, 30 July 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
  4. Bennett, J. C., and R. J. Olney. “Executive Priorities for Effective Communication in an Information Society.” Journal of Business Communication 23.2 (1986): 13-22. Web.
  5. Omuya, Jacqueline M., David M. Kungu, Leonard S. Mulongo, and Dedan O. Ong’anya. “Effects of Team Building on the Performance of Employees in Organizations towards the Realization of Millennium Development Goals: A Survey of Selected Banks in Eldoret Town.”International Journal of Current Research. Web.
  6. Phan, Jenny. “The Impact of Therapeutic Recreation through Ropes Courses and Teambuilding Activities.” Diss. 2011. Abstract. Print.
  7. “Building Great Work Relationships: Making Work Enjoyable and Productive.” From MindTools.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
  8. Garfinkle, Joel. “6 Strategies to Building a Stronger Team.” Garfinkle Executive Coaching. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

The Weekend Warrior: How American Workers Cram a Week’s Worth of Exercise into Two Days

Weekend WarriorThe average American adult employed full time works 47 hours per week, according to a Gallup poll, and four in 10 workers put in over 50 hours each week. As you can imagine, this does not leave a lot of time for exercise, leaving many workers to try and cram seven days of physical activity into the weekend.

“The best advice is to keep in mind that any amount of activity is better than none and it’s important to select exercise that is consistent with your goals,” says Brian Parr, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. “And, if you can’t make time to exercise during the week, you can get at least some of the benefits by being a weekend warrior.”

What’s the RIGHT Amount of Exercise?

The World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, each week. However, “Quality may be more important than quantity,” says Gary O’Donovan, a research associate at Loughborough University in England.

Weekend WarriorO’Donovan and his colleagues found that no matter how often people exercised in a week or for how long, the health benefits were similar as long as they met the certain activity guidelines – good news for Weekend Warriors.

“Even if you only have time to do something once a week, this study would suggest it’s still worth doing,” says Dr. Daniel Rader, preventive cardiology chief at the University of Pennsylvania. After all, “You are not going to fidget or stand your way to health,” adds O’Donovan. The important thing is to get up and get moving when you have the time – even if that is only for a few hours on the weekends.

“My take home message is that the greatest risk reduction and the greatest gain for the individual and for public health is if those who are physically inactive take up some activity,” says Ulf Ekelund at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo.

Making Exercise Fun!

“One of the main problems is that people associate exercise with a gym or equipment,” says Dr. Marc Tinsley. “I tell people to think ‘outside the barbell.’ Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal; it’s about having enough energy to do your activities of daily living safely and effectively.”

The challenge course, also commonly referred to as a ropes course, is a great way to exercise without even realizing you’re exercising.

Weekend Warrior“The elements produce powerful memories and provoke deep thoughts and emotions, while challenging physical abilities,” write Brent D. Wolfe and Diane M. Samdahl.

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants. But what makes our ropes course truly unique is our continuous belay system. You only have to secure your safety line once for each level, letting you focus on your next challenge with confidence.

Terrapin Adventures also lets guests…

Fly through the air on our 330 ft. zip line!

Jump from 40 ft. off our Drop Zone element! You all experience free fall until the brake kicks in controlling your descent after the initial 6 ft.

Experience a swing on steroids on our Giant Swing with 2Gs of adrenaline!

Try all 12 routes of the Climbing Tower including down headfirst through the rainbow serpent!

Younger guests can try the integrated Terrapin Explorer with 20  different traverses and a 20 ft. rock wall

Book Now!

All adventures are led by our expertly trained Aerial Adventure Guides and Facilitators who will be there for you every step of the way.  Everything you need including harness and helmet is provided.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “Maybe that workout can wait till the weekend?” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  2. “Turns out Americans work really hard…but some want to work harder.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  3. “Weekend exercise alone ‘has significant health benefits’” BBC News. BBC, 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  4. CBS/AP. “Do “weekend warriors” reap the full benefits of exercise?” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  5. Sample, Ian. “Weekend workouts can benefit health as much as regular exercise, say researchers.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Leaders Are Not Born; They Are Made on the Challenge Course

Leaders Challenge CourseThere is a common saying that goes “Leaders are born, not made.” You’re probably heard it before, but we are hear to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. There is no special genetic code that makes a great leader. It takes time. It takes commitment. And most importantly, it takes practice.

The challenge course can help.

Leaders Are Not Born

“Most folks who start out with a modicum of innate leadership capability can actually become very good, even great leaders,” says Forbes contributing writer Erika Andersen.

Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell agrees – leaders are made, not born. Successful leaders know how to communicate their mission to their subordinates and ensure they have the right tools and training to get the job done.

“Leadership is all about people…and getting the most out of people,” says Powell.

But the question is how do you first get the most out of yourself? How do you first become a good leader?

“In the same way that naturally occurring events create changes for an organization, an organization has the ability to create a team building event that contributes to a culture of dynamic leaders who naturally adapt and respond to change,” writes researcher Katherine T. Whitnah.

Leaders Are Made on the Challenge Course

“Leadership is not a personality style; it is a learned set of skills attained through development opportunities that are integrated to a lifestyle of learning,” says Whitnah.

Becoming a great leader means working to become a great leader. And the only way to do this is to put yourself in positions where you are forced to act, you are forced to make tough decisions, you are forced to lead. As American psychologist, philosopher, and educational reformer John Dewey once famously said, “there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.” This is the basis of the challenge course (ropes course) experience.

“Data support[s] the notion that participation in a four-hour challenge course significantly increases the participants’ levels of leadership and work efficacy,” write researchers Theresa Odello, Eddie Hill, and Edwin Gómez. The team measured leadership and work efficacy levels pre-challenge course, immediately post challenge course, and six weeks after.

“Results were significant” and longlasting, say the researchers.

Learn to be a Better Leader

“There is no one-size fits all approach, answer key or formula to leadership,” says Activate Your Talent founder Katie Christy. This is why Terrapin Adventures, conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, creates customized team building programs (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) designed to meet the individual needs of organizations. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills. Let us help you grow as a leader!

“In many [team building] activities, a leader is needed to step forward to assist the group in reaching a common goal,” write Odello et al.

On a challenge course, leaders look to take a diverse group of individuals and channel their creativity and energy to a common goal. Leaders stimulate problem solving and provide opportunities for staff to support the group in different roles so that the team performs better.

“Individuals who took on leadership roles during the course had noticeable increases in their leadership efficacy scores,” write Odello et al.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

After each team building exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

“We appreciate the opportunity for this adventure. Throughout the full experience, your facilitators were professional and supportive. They allowed us to be creative and fun our own way. At the end of the day, the importance of leadership, openness, trust, and creativity among the team shined through.”

John Cave, Director Supplier Management, Boeing

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “Effective leaders made, not born, Colin Powell says.” Stanford Report. Stanford University, 30 Nov. 2005. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
  2. Whitnah, Katherine T. A Phenomenological Inquiry: In the Context of Organizational Development, How Does Experiential Team Building in the Form of a High ROPES Course, Contribute to Positive Leadership Development, and How Can It Be Improved? Adler Graduate School. Web.
  3. Odello, Theresa, Eddie Hill, Suny Cortland, and Edwin Gomez. “Challenge Course Effectiveness: The Impact on Leadership Efficacy and Work Efficacy among College Students.” Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research 1.1 (2008): 18-22. Web.

The Physical and Physiological Effects of Stress on American Workers

Stress WorkersA certain amount of stress and anxiety in the workplace is normal – it’s unavoidable. However, persistent and/or excessive stress and anxiety can interfere with everyday functioning, as well as employee health. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America’s (ADAA) 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, 72 percent of people with daily stress admit that it interferes with their lives at least moderately. In the workplace, specifically, employees say stress and anxiety most often impact:

  • workplace performance (56 percent)
  • relationship with coworkers and peers (51 percent)
  • quality of work (50 percent)
  • relationships with superiors (43 percent)

83 percent of men and 72 percent for women admit that workplace stress carries over into their personal lives as well.

The Effects of Stress

On the Brain

When a person becomes stressed, their brain undergoes both chemical and physical changes. During periods of high stress, certain chemicals begin to rise in the brain, chiefly  dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This causes “fight-or-flight” hormones, like adrenalin, to be released by the adrenal glands, resulting in certain physiological effects – rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Stress can make it difficult to focus, make decisions, and recall information, while chronic stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks.

In 2007, 24.3 million adults (10.9%) in the United States suffered from some type of serious psychological distress (SPD), according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On the Body

One of the most common physical reactions to stress is the tensing of the muscles, which can lead to tension headaches, migraines, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Stress can also wreak havoc on the digestive system, directly affecting which nutrients your intestines absorb and influences how quickly food moves through your body. This can cause nausea, pain, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, acid reflux or diarrhea. Chronic stress can also lead to overeating and weight gain.

Chronic stress has also been linked to significant health risks, such as stomach ulcers, asthma, stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and even cancer.

Dealing with Stress the Best Way We Know How – On the Challenge Course!

According to researchers Tracy Hecht and Kathleen Boies, the stress relief solution you’ve been looking for could be simple: exercise. According to the pair, “sports, recreation, and fitness programs lead to less somatic complaints and higher life satisfaction,” as well as “lower absenteeism and higher job satisfaction.” Meanwhile, researchers Douglas Kleiber, Susan Hutchinson, and Richard Williams found that leisure activities play four important factors in overcoming negative life events:

  1. Leisure activities can help distract participants from negative life events.
  2. Leisure activities can provide temporary reliefby generating optimism.
  3. Leisure activities can provide a sense of control and normalcy.
  4. Leisure activities can bring motivation of attaining new goals and looking forward to the future.

In 2010, researcher Jenny Phan tested this notion with an emphasis on challenge courses and team building activities, testing the benefits of these activities on 120 subjects. The results revealed that challenge courses and team building activities “impacted the participants at an emotional and social level,” and most participants saw a noticeable increase in their “emotional and social skills.” Of the 120 participants, 79 stated that the activities had some type of an impact on their ability to overcome fear, 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem, 104 trust, 97 confidence, 83 empathy, 75 ease of stress, and 94 noted a positive outlook on life after their afternoon on the challenge course.

“It is clear that challenge course experiences are beneficial tools for participants” and can impact “a variety of educational and psychological constructs,” write researchers Gillis and Speelman.

Reward Your Employees with a Day on the Challenge Course

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three fun-filled levels, taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! We employ a continuous belay system, and all aerial adventures are led by our uniquely trained guides who are all about making sure you stay safe while having a great time.

Reservations are suggested for all adventures to make sure you won’t have to wait too long.  

Schedule Your Adventure Today!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Dr. Isaac EliazJune 8, 2011 3:30 PM. “Why Stress Management Is So Important for Your Health.” Mindbodygreen. N.p., 08 June 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
  2. “Highlights: Workplace Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
  3. Rohnke, Karl, Catherine M. Tait, Jim B. Wall, and Jim B. Wall. The Complete Ropes Course Manual. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub., 1997. Print.
  4. Gillis, Lee H., and Elizabeth Speelman. “Are Challenge (Ropes) Courses an Effective Tool? A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Experiential Education 31.2 (2008): 111-35. Web.
  5. Haras, K., Bunting, C., & Witt, P. (2005). Linking outcomes with ropes course program design and delivery. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 23(2), 36.
  6. Hecht and Boies (2009). Structure and correlates of spillover from nonwork to work: An examination of nonwork activities, well-being, and work outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(4), 414-426. Retrieved on October 14, 2009 from Ebsco Host.
  7. Phan, Jenny. “The Impact of Therapeutic Recreation through Ropes Courses and Teambuilding Activities.” Diss. 2011. Abstract. Print.
  8. Kleiber, Douglas A., Susan L. Hutchinson, and Richard Williams. “Leisure as a Resource in Transcending Negative Life Events: Self-Protection, Self-Restoration, and Personal Transformation.” Leisure Sciences 24.2 (2002): 219-35. Web.

Simple Tips to Motivate Your Employees

Motivate EmployeesAccording to the Business Dictionary, motivation can be defined as “Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.” That much is pretty straight forward. What is difficult for employers is figuring out how to motivate their employees.

How to Motivate Your Team

“In about 85 percent of companies, our research finds, employees’ morale sharply declines after their first six months—and continues to deteriorate for years afterward,” writes researchers David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer. This data is based on surveys of more than 1.2 million employees conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence at 52 primarily Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004.

So, how do you ensure your employees stay engaged and works remains at a high level? How do you keep your employees motivated? Here are a few tips:

Walk a Mile in Your Employees’ Shoes

As an employer, it is important to look at things from the employee’s perspective and realize that they are most likely not in the same place you are, whether professionally, financially, or even personally. It is important to be able to empathize with your employees. According to a 2012 study published in the Academy of Management Journal, leader humility is associated with positive outcomes. Humble leaders have more learning-oriented teams, more engaged employees, and lower turnover rates.

Communication is Important

An Ohio State University study found that “feelings of being in on things” was the seventh most important factor in motivating employees. Open and honest communication across all business levels is critically important. In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” Conversely, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

Set Goals & Define Success

It all starts by setting attainable goals – expectations.

“Once a team is created and its composition is established, the next team leadership function is to define the team’s mission,” write researchers Frederick P. Morgeson, D. Scott DeRue, and Elizabeth P. Karam. “This involves determining and communicating the organization’s performance expectations for the team in such a way that they are broken down into tangible, comprehensible pieces.”

And when team members actively participate in the goal setting process, the team is more committed to team goals, achieving greater efficiency and overall performance, suggest researchers.

Show Appreciation

Overall, more than one in five (21 percent) working Americans said they do not feel valued by their employers. However, research from the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that showing your employees that they are appreciated is a simple way to boost productivity. According to the study, “Almost all employees (93 percent) who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88 percent reported feeling engaged. This compares to just 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of those who said they do not feel valued.”

There are several ways to show appreciation. It could be as simple as recognizing a job well done, or it could come in the form of monetary bonuses. It could mean the potential for professional growth and work advancement, or even a more flexible work schedule (work-life balance). It is really up to you and finding a method of appreciation that resonates with your employees.

Relieve Stress

Two out of five (41 percent) employees report feeling tense or stressed out during the workday, according to the APA. The most common causes for work-related stress include:

  1. Low salaries (46 percent)
  2. Lack of opportunities for growth or advancement (41 percent)
  3. Too heavy a workload (41 percent)
  4. Long hours (37 percent)
  5. Unclear job expectations (35 percent)

In order to combat work-related stress and ensure your employees are happy and motivated to perform their best work, it is up to you to “create a healthy culture where employees and the organization can thrive,” says the APA.

“The business world is in the midst of a sea change,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community.”

Furthermore, forward-thinking employers are “taking steps to create a positive organizational culture where employees feel valued and, in turn, help drive bottom-line results,” adds Ballard.

Get Out of the Office

Ballard identified five motivational activities shown to be successful time and time again. These are: volunteering, physical activity, field trips, professional development, and shared meals. Now, we can think of a single activity that hits on almost all of those points. Can you guess what we are talking about? Team building, of course!

“An entire industry has grown around corporate team-building programs, from ropes courses, wilderness programs, and paintball to ice breakers, trust exercises, and coaching sessions based on questionable personality tests,” says Ballard.

A day at Terrapin Adventures is a great way to get out of the office, get some exercise, and do something meaningful that will not only show your employees that you care, but also help motivate them to work harder and, thus, boosting productivity. It’s what we like to call a win-win!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized team building program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our team building programs are designed to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with, challenging groups to break down communication barriers and work together to grow as a team.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

After each exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “APA Survey Finds Feeling Valued at Work Linked to Well-Being and Performance.” American Psychological Association. N.p., 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  2. Harper, Jessica. “The 5 Best Bonding Outings for Co-Workers.” U.S. News & World Report. N.p., 23 Aug. 2012. Web.
  3. Sirota, David, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer. “Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation.” HBS Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School, 10 Apr. 2006. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  4. Morgeson, F. P., D. S. Derue, and E. P. Karam. “Leadership in Teams: A Functional Approach to Understanding Leadership Structures and Processes.” Journal of Management 36.1 (2009): 5-39. Web.
  5. Lindner, James. “Understanding Employee Motivation.” Journal of Extension 36.3 (1998): n. pag. Web.