Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Tackling Workplace Fitness at Lunchtime

This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

workout at work, lunchtime yogaDo you find it difficult to make exercise part of your daily routine? You may be surprised at just how easy it is to squeeze in bouts of activity. Lunchtime is one such opportunity. Not only will you torch a few calories, you’ll tackle your afternoon tasks with a clear mind and increased energy levels.

Hit the Corporate Fitness Center

Consider visiting a local or corporate fitness center to complete your own workout or take a class. Just be sure to increase the intensity (think circuit training) to compensate for the fact that you may be performing a shorter workout than normal. Leaving your office for a walk or a run is also an appealing option to many people. Don’t want to do it alone? Organize a walking group! On days like these, it’s probably a good idea to bring your lunch from home to ensure you have enough time to eat.

Exercise in Your Office

No time to get away from your home or office? Mix bodyweight strength-training exercises such as pushups, squats, lunges, and sit-ups with cardiovascular exercises like marching, jumping jacks, stationary jogging, or jumping rope. Small hand weights or resistance bands can be tucked away in a drawer for a workout at a moment’s notice.

Just Get Moving at Lunch

At the very least, get up and get moving on your lunch break. At work, walk a few flights of stairs or do some laps around the building. If you need to purchase your lunch, skip the company cafeteria and walk to a restaurant (a healthy one!) that’s farther away.

Topics: exercise at work worksite wellness corporate fitness centers exercies at your desk

Olympic Inspiration - Mind and Body Matter

This blog was written by Bethany Garrity. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

There’s a good chance on this Monday morning that you have a little bit of an Olympic hangover after opening weekend of the 2012 games in London.  Yes, sports fans, they have arrived!  After all the qualifiers, prelims, and other drama (security debacle anyone?), the torch has been passed and the highly anticipated amateur sporting event has begun.

Did you watch the opening ceremonies?  Was it what you expected?

Our blog is full of articles that talk about ways to stay well, tips for getting in more exercise, ideas for getting the most out of our staff in your corporate fitness center or retirement community fitness center, etc.  And if you're reading regularly, you've probably read the recommendation that adults get 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week.

Did you know that, depending on the sport, many Olympians train anywhere from 3-5 hours per day with typically only one day of rest?  Eighteen to 30 hours per week!  That really puts my struggle to get a 30 minute run into perspective!

I heard a story recently about the history of the games, and, it turns out that the Greeks originally intended the games to focus on more than just body.  They believed that the mind was an important part of the games.  So there used to be (wait for it) poetry competitions as part of the games!  Who knew?!

Why, you ask, is poetry no longer part of this globally loved tradition?  Ironically, globalization of the games made it harder for translation of submitted poems to be effective, and,  according to Olympics organizers, quality was also an issue.  Poetry fell out of the games in the 1948 Olympics. 

We've returned to London for the 30th Olympiad, and I'm on the edge of my seat for what great stories will surface about the amateur athletes around the globe who've come together in London in pursue of the gold.  In the Olympic spirit, I’ve left my own poem below about the games.  (I’m more of an athlete than I am a poet…thank goodness!) Olympic Torch resized 600

Roses are red
Violets…hooray!
It’s time for the Olympics
Go USA!

If you’re moved by the ceremony, the athleticism, the purity of the games, take a stab at your own Olympic-sized poem in the comment section below. If poetry isn't your thing, play our Olympic trivia challenge on our Facebook page.  

Topics: Be inspired senior wellness programs fitness corporate fitness centers Olympics

Corporate Fitness Center Turns 20 Years Old!

This blog was written by Bethany Garrity. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of joining one of our long-time staff members at his corporate client’s fitness center for their 20th anniversary.  In the last 20 years, that location has relocated once, and evolved significantly; the offerings have changed as trends in the fitness industry have changed. 

Step aerobics has been replaced by indoor cycling offerings, and Zumba fills a spot once held by more “old school” group class formats.  They’ve gone through several treadmills, and other types of equipment.  (Though they still have a few original cardio pieces that are kickin’ it!)

Perhaps most importantly, we’re proud to say that the manager of the facility has NOT changed…and his members love him for it.  NIFS knows how important personal relationships are to successful corporate health initiatives, and Scott has helped more than his share of associates make positive lifestyle changes over the last several years. 

SW old  SW new 

The 20th anniversary celebration was marked with fun carnival-type games (great for ANY fitness level!), fun prizes (necessary for any celebration!), and brand new selectorized strength equipment from Cybex.  They've been a great partner for us with great equipment, and solid service.

Corporate Fitness Games Cybex strength

NIFS is proud to be a long standing provider of fitness center management services for this client, and we’re grateful to Scott for his long service to his members.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program exercise corporate fitness Wellness in the Workplace worksite wellness employee wellness corporate fitness centers business fitness solutions

NIFS Nutrition News: Take It Off, Keep It Off!

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

NIFS, nutrition, portion controlI love what I do. Seeing people succeed with their weight-loss goals is one of the most rewarding feelings as a dietitian. However, it can also be very challenging when I see clients revert back to old habits and struggle to keep off the weight that they worked so hard to remove.

After checking out some research of highly successful dieters, I have found the best things that can be done to keep off the weight for good:

  • Keep a food journal. Individuals who keep food logs tend to eat 40 percent less because they are writing it down. Also, a recent study found women who kept a food journal lost 6 pounds more than those who didn’t. Some excellent online food tracker sites include My Daily Plate and Choose My Plate. Free apps for your smartphone that are highly rated include My Fitness Pal and Lose It.
  • Practice portion control. As a society we are terrible at eyeballing portions! The secret to success is consistently measuring food items to make sure you are eating the same amount you are journaling. The simplest way to do this is to use measuring utensils to dish out your meals and to associate common items to certain portions. For example, a serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards, a baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, a half-cup of pasta is the size of a tennis ball, and a teaspoon of oil is the size of one dice.
  • Don’t skip meals. Lots of people think if they skip a meal they will be decreasing the total calories they are taking in for the day. In reality, the opposite usually happens. When someone skips a meal they typically end up overeating at a different time of day to compensate for missing out on the food that their body needed. Also, whenever you skip a meal it makes your metabolism work at a slower rate and, therefore, makes it harder to lose weight. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is the best way to stay on track!

The more you follow these rules, the higher chance of success you will have in keeping off the weight. For more information or to set up an individualized nutrition appointment, contact me at [email protected].

Topics: overweight employees nutrition weight loss weight management NIFS weight control healthy habits

Stay Fit on Weekends Away from the Corporate Fitness Center

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

hiking, active weekendAs corporate health/fitness specialists, we see our clients giving it their all in the gym Monday through Friday. Then, something called the weekend happens.

Generally speaking, most people take a break from exercising in their corporate fitness center on the weekends. While it can be a good idea to devote two days to recovering from a week of hard workouts and busy work schedules, weekends also present several opportunities for unhealthy eating. Talk about a double whammy!

Keep Up Your Exercise Momentum

Remind your corporate wellness clients that while they should rightfully enjoy their weekends, they should also practice moderation, so that when Monday morning rolls around, they don’t feel like their fitness levels are back at square one. For those with weight-loss goals, in particular, the lack of exercise Saturday through Sunday combined with the increase of calories can do enough damage to negate all the calorie burning done Monday through Friday. 

Watch Your Sodium Intake

Aside from the high-fat and high-sugar foods and beverages that are consumed on weekends, this article from the Men's Health blog points out that sodium is also the culprit of weekend weight gain. Pizza, nachos, candy, sodas, and other junk food or restaurant selections often include loads of sodium, causing bloating and water retention that reflects on the scale.

Tips for Staying Fit on the Weekends

Here are tips to keep the weekends guilt-free and the scale happy:

  • Rather than indulge in everything, pick one to three of your favorite “splurge” foods to eat during the weekend (in reasonable portions), while keeping the rest of the diet in check.
  • Use Saturday and Sunday for recreational activities with family members or friends, such as gardening, softball, or hiking.
  • If you do plan on exercising on the weekend, do it first thing on Saturday morning before excuses or other plans ruin good intentions.
Topics: exercise nutrition weight management corporate fitness centers sodium

New Habits, a Lifetime of Results at NIFS's Slim It to Win It

This blog was written by Lori Griffin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

NIFS, Slim it to Win it“Exercise is boring…,” “I don’t have the time…,” or “I don’t know where to start” are words many have used as excuses at some point or another in regard to a fitness routine or lifestyle change. With the emergence of Slim It to Win It in 2011, NIFS sought to squash not one, but all three of those excuses. With the guidance of health and fitness professionals two hours a week, members teamed up to conquer fun, limit-pushing workouts.

After experiencing personal successes the first year, members anxiously awaited the return of Slim It to Win It, and the second run of the program proved to be life-changing once again. Slim It is a chance for people to step outside their comfort zones and into a new way of life. With a total weight loss of 635 pounds and 1.6 percent body fat lost on average, coaches and participants alike celebrated forming new exercise habits and breaking old eating habits.

Slim It Helps Participants Achieve New Fitness Levels

While the empirical evidence demonstrates the physical success, it is the individual stories that explain the true victories. Participants accomplished fitness feats they never thought possible. From kicking their walking pace up to a jog to finally tackling a box jump, participants used the team atmosphere as fuel in their quest to shed some weight.

Nutrition and Healthy Eating Benefits

Not only did Slim It provide stellar exercise sessions, the program also spurred participants toward healthier eating habits. One participant in particular completely shifted his mindset regarding food. Rather than look for convenience at the last minute during lunch breaks, he learned to plan ahead for healthier, more satisfying options. Another member lost 26 pounds in the 10 weeks and attests to a true change in her body composition. “I am wearing jeans I have not worn in months! Not only did the numbers on the scale change, but I can really see a difference in myself.”

The Fun of Working Out as a Group

In addition to encouraging participants to challenge their fitness boundaries and reset their food mentalities, the program also instills a unique camaraderie among team members. Members exchanged numbers and worked out together outside of the team time. Even as the program ends each year, participants still connect to keep up their fitness.

With Slim It, people discover the fun in working out as a group. For example, coaches encouraged participants to log into a calorie-tracking website and when teammates noticed it had been awhile since someone had tracked his or her food intake, teammates made it a point to razz the individual a bit to get back on track. Each year with Slim It, “teammates” quickly turns into strong friendships rooted in a common lifestyle.

A Lifetime of Fitness Results

At the start of Slim It to Win It, 155 people began a 10-week program that took each of them to a new health and fitness level. With the challenging and encouraging group atmosphere, participants conquered their weight-loss goals. Coaches worked to instill new habits so that weight-loss goals were not only achieved, but also maintained. 

One member comments as to why he chose NIFS’s Slim It program two years in a row: “I’ve been able to maintain the weight loss. In the past the weight would reappear.” Combining raw statistics and personal success stories, it is safe to say Slim It to Win It creates a lifetime of results for NIFS members.

Topics: nutrition weight loss weight management motivation NIFS fitness fitness success Fitness Center

Chronic Sitting Is Bad for Employee Health

This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

bad posture, chronic sittingHaving a desk job likely means you spend more than half of your day—half of your whole day, not just your workday—NOT moving. We all know physical activity has a positive impact on health, but the ill-effects of inactivity are often overlooked.

Too Much Sitting Results in Heart Attacks, Pain

There is a direct, positive relationship between inactivity and disease, meaning the more inactive you are, the more likely you are to be affected by disease. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has revealed that people who sit most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks than their active counterparts.

If you spend the majority of your day sitting, chances are you have some muscular imbalances, weakness, and aches and pains. Muscular imbalances can lead to pain and injury, which in turn can lead to further inactivity. Poor posture while sitting can lead to tight chest and shoulder muscles, as well as tight, weakened hip flexors, low-back muscles, rear-shoulder muscles, front-neck muscles, glutes, and abdominal muscles.

It's Never Too Late to Start Being More Active

Think about your aches and pains. Do any of them line up with those listed above? If so, consider your activity level. Are you meeting the exercise recommendations set forth by the ACSM? If not, adding more movement to your day could remedy the problem.

If you're not meeting the ACSM’s recommendations for physical activity, there is some good news: It is never too late to start incorporating physical activity into your life. Get up and get moving today!

Topics: heart disease pain relief staying active

Facts on Fiber: Good for Weight Loss and More

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

facts on fiber, oatmealOther than supposedly helping you go the bathroom, do you know the importance of adding fiber to your diet? Our bodies can’t digest it, so why eat it?

Benefits of Getting More Fiber

Fiber is actually considered a carbohydrate. It has many health benefits, and helps to regulate digestion. It also helps you to feel full longer, which could help you cut back on total daily calories, helping you to lose weight. When you lose a few extra pounds, you also decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart attack; you also lower cholesterol levels and decrease joint pain. Adding fiber to your diet can also help to lower the risk of several forms of cancer.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

Shoot for getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, which most of us are not even close to getting. And here's a very important side note: Add fiber to your diet slowly, over two to three weeks. If you add too much too fast, you may have stomach issues! Also, drink plenty of water when taking in more fiber to help keep things moving through your system.

How to Get More Fiber

Are you wondering how to add more fiber to your diet? Here are some tips:

  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat.
  • Add more whole-wheat products into your diet.
  • Eat popcorn instead of potato chips.
  • Snack on fruit instead of candy.
  • Keep some nuts at your desk or in your car for when you need something to hold you over.
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Try more recipes with beans and lentils.
  • Purchase unprocessed foods.
Topics: diabetes nutrition weight loss heart disease cholesterol weight management disease prevention