Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Free Workout Friday: Weight-Loss Circuit

Free Workout Friday

It’s Good Friday! That means two more days until we find ourselves seated around the Easter dinner table, snacking on chocolate eggs, and getting second helpings of ham.

It’s important to remember that even though physical activity is important to overall health and weight-loss or maintenance, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. A person may be able to burn roughly 300 calories for a 3-mile run or 30 minutes on the elliptical, but it is very easy to consume 300 calories in just a handful of candy, a large soda, or a coffee drink with added flavors and whipped cream.

As you try your best to maintain healthy eating patterns around the holiday, try this weight-loss circuit to help shed calories before (and after) the big feast. Alternating cardio exercises with higher-impact or combination strength moves will keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout, thus burning more calories!

Complete 45 seconds of each exercise, allowing 15 seconds of recovery time in between each exercise. Try not to rest for more than the allotted 15 seconds in order to keep the heart rate up. Repeat the circuit 3 times through for a jam-packed 24-minute workout! Watch our short video for exercise demonstrations!

  1. Butt kicks
  2. Squat, bicep curl, shoulder press
  3. Line jumps
  4. Rolling medicine ball push-ups
  5. High knees
  6. Side lunge with upright row (switch sides halfway through)
  7. Plank jacks
  8. Plié squat with overhead medicine ball swing

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Topics: weight loss weight management Free Workout Friday cardio calories strength training high-intensity workouts

How to Burn off Easter Candy Calories

burning off candy caloriesIt's that time for another season of candy!  Actually, none of these candies would be considered healthy, but some of them are definitely better than others. Plus, with all things, it is important to keep in mind the importance of moderation, even when digging through your Easter basket. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular Easter candy choices and what you would have to do in order to burn them off.*

2 Dark Chocolate-Covered Peeps: 110 calories
How to burn it off: Walking for 30 minutes at 3 mph

4 Peeps: 128 calories
How to burn it off: Low-impact aerobics for 25 minutes

35 jelly beans: 140 calories
How to burn it off: Raking the lawn for 30 minutes

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories
How to burn it off: Jumping jacks for 20 minutes

10 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 158 calories
How to burn it off: Ballroom dancing for 30 minutes

1 Cadbury Creme Egg: 150 calories
How to burn it off: Golfing while walking and pulling clubs for 30 minutes

7-oz. solid chocolate bunny: 1,100 calories
How to burn it off: Playing full-court basketball for 2 hours

6-oz. hollow chocolate bunny: 858 calories
How to burn it off: Running at a 10 min/mile pace for 90 minutes

*Calculations based on a 150-pound person.

Enjoy some of these once-a-year treats, but be aware that they should be included in an overall balanced diet. Try to make these goodies last much longer than just Easter Sunday!

When it comes to the kids, feel free to add some non-candy treats to your child’s Easter basket this year, such as a jump rope, plastic eggs filled with change, or a stuffed bunny. Make these items the focal point of the basket instead of the candy.

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Topics: exercise nutrition calories sugar healthy habits

Pick Your Arthritis Battles: How Exercise Can Help

Arthritis. When you exercise, it hurts. When you don’t exercise, it hurts. This widespread issue is affecting people of all different ages and driving these arthritis sufferers right to the couch. It just hurts no matter what, so what should you do? Pick your battles.

I understand that it’s painful and can leave you hesitant to do anything to potentially worsen the ache, but doing nothing at all will certainly not help. In fact, it will make it worse. You cannot let arthritis get in the way of your quality of life. 

I’ve spoken with people everywhere along the spectrum, from those in slight pain and avoiding any activity to those who are bone on bone but keep moving along. I am in no way recommending the “no pain, no gain” rule, but I am encouraging you to get active in order to increase the longevity of your joints.

For Arthritis, It’s Better to Stay Active than to “Baby” Your Joints

Your joints will love you so much more if you choose moving over “babying.” Don’t believe me? Check this out: Exercise strengthens the muscles surrounding that arthritic joint, which can reduce pain and improve the joint’s mechanics. It also compresses and releases cartilage, which brings oxygen to the joints.

So, now you’re looking at not only decreased pain and postponing surgery, but you’re also improving your overall health. Plus, if surgery is required, you will drastically speed your recovery. Is this starting to sound like a win-win?

Top 4 Exercise Types for Arthritis

Now you’re wondering, “But what exercises can I do?” There’s a plethora, but before I give you my list, I will tell you the most important factor: alignment, alignment, alignment! Please check with your senior fitness specialist to make sure you’re in a proper alignment while performing exercises. This helps minimize strain on the joints and will make a world of difference! After I correct my own clients’ alignment, they look at me like I’m a miracle worker. (Spoiler alert: I am not.)

dealing with arthritisNow, on to my list of the top 4 arthritis-friendly exercise modes:

  • Low-impact cardio: These heart-happy exercises are easy on the joints and will burn a lot of calories. Popular machines for this include ellipticals, bicycles, and rowing machines.
  • Aquatic exercise: Not a great swimmer? No problem! There’s a lot more that you can do in the water. It’s also very kind to your joints. The buoyancy reduces stress on the joints and spine, and provides resistance without equipment.
  • Yoga: Yoga is an excellent way to strengthen and lengthen the body. Both are essential in improving alignment, which is critical in taking the strain and stress off of your joints. Try out a class before you pop in a DVD at home. That way, the instructor can see your position and guide you if needed.
  • Tai chi: This traditional style of Chinese martial arts includes slow, controlled movements, which put little force on the joints, to improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Like yoga, try a class first to get some feedback from an instructor.

Learn more about arthritis and how to alleviate the symptoms by searching articles at Discovery Health and Lifescript.

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Topics: exercise swimming cardio arthritis joint health senior fitness yoga

Free Workout Friday: March Madness Workout

Free Workout FridayYou don’t have to be a collegiate athlete to join in the fun of NCAA’s March Madness! The tournament is now in full swing. You may be glued to the TV and swept up in “bracketology,” but you can use the half-time breaks to sneak in a quick workout!

Cardio is important for basketball or any sport that involves constant running up and down a court or field. Quick reaction time is also important for basketball players so that they can capitalize on rebounds and open holes in the opposing team’s defense. As for strength training, developing power in the legs for jumping is crucial as well as building upper-body strength for long passes and three-point shots.

The following exercises are similar to those that basketball athletes use to help them train for the big game. But they are a fun challenge for anyone! View the video below for exercise demonstrations.

  1. Basketball single-leg squat
  2. Basketball push-ups
  3. Basketball lunges (side to right and crossover to left)
  4. Medicine ball squat throws
  5. Medicine ball slams

The NCAA Men’s Final Four takes place in Atlanta this year, with the championship game on April 8. The Women’s Final Four will happen in New Orleans, with their final game taking place on April 9. For more information about March Madness, click here!

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Topics: Free Workout Friday fitness cardio strength training

Top 5 Reasons Your Residents Don’t Engage in Wellness

In my work with continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) across the U.S., I’ve seen resident wellness programs and services come in all shapes and sizes. These days, it seems all senior living communities advertise some kind of wellness opportunity for their residents. Clearly, communities are getting the message about how important resident well-being really is for both the resident and the business.

Resources like the National Whole Person Wellness survey that can guide and inform both strategic and tactical decisions for a community wellness initiative are becoming more commonly available. Similarly, the swell around opportunities like the International Council on Active Aging’s focus on Active Aging Week have sparked creative programming for older adults to engage in vibrant living.

For all of the fantastic diversity in wellness programming, resources, and opportunities available in senior living settings, there seems to be a consistent theme for many providers. They pull together initiatives only to have the same core group of residents participate. Simply put, there is a lack of robust resident engagement in the programs put forward by resident life coordinators.

It’s not an all-inclusive list, but what I’ve offered below represents some of the most common challenges I have seen in communities where NIFS provides staffing services or where I’ve offered wellness program consulting. If you find yourself nodding your head in affirmation as you read, it might be time to take a fresh look at what you’re offering and how you’re providing it.

Reason 1: You failed to leverage community champions as a promotional avenue.

Trying a new group fitness class, sampling from a new healthy menu, or participating in a new wellness initiative can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. There’s nothing like a personal invitation from a neighbor or trusted friend to help nudge you toward trying something new.

If you’re not working with your top resident participants to capitalize on their success as a tool for inviting new residents to engage, you’re missing out. Personal invitation, testimonials, and other individual connection can be very successful tools for attracting other, less active residents toward wellness programming.

  • Capture testimonials in resident newsletters and on community bulletin boards/CCTV.
  • Talk to specific residents prior to launching a new initiative and ask them to invite their friends to join them. Tell them why you think their personal invitation is so important. Perhaps suggest specific residents they could connect with for the activity.
  • Build a “refer a friend” component into your next activity challenge.

Reason 2: Power grabs and silos are overshadowing what’s really possible at your community.

Oh my goodness and for the love of Mike, please stop with the power grabs when it comes to activity programming in the community. No one wins when the activity director, the physical therapy group, and the fitness manager are vying for control of programs, spaces, and resident loyalty.

When community staff learn to play well together in the same programs and services sandbox, the community will benefit.

  • Activities staff should be eager to learn from their fitness director how to fold more exercise and other healthy messages into their standard programming. For what it’s worth, if you’ve done your homework and gotten the right person to direct your fitness center, then he or she is likely also qualified to provide expertise related to whole-person wellness.
  • The fitness director and the therapy department should be eagerly working together on a cross-referral program that supports appropriate therapy for residents in need and fitness program participation to maintain the positive work completed in therapy.

Reason 3: You forgot to ask the residents what they want to learn about and how they want to grow.

Communities are practiced at surveying residents, but those surveys typically encompass overall living at the community. Rarely are communities engaged in surveying residents about what their wellness interests and expectations are. Even rarer are custom focus groups where much can be learned about resident perspectives on current and future healthful-living offerings.

Reason 4: Volunteerism by residents is overlooked as a strategy to get more done with less staff.

Let’s face it : community financial resources are typically limited, and no one wants to charge residents more to expand services. So, you’re probably stuck with the staff resources you currently have. If that’s the case, consider tapping into occupational wellness by engaging resident volunteers to own some of the community wellness initiatives.

  • Walking groups, small-group Bible study, craft or hobby groups, and promotion and health-focused book clubs can all be resident driven.
  • You may be able to engage tech-savvy residents to support program data collection and analysis. Who could help you convert the manual attendance records into your software or spreadsheet for later analysis?

Reason 5: Data is king. If you don’t have data, you won’t know what’s working.

If I had a nickel for every time I talked to community professionals who told me they weren’t tracking attendance in their programs, I’d be set for early retirement. Folks, you need to start gathering data on your initiatives. It doesn’t have to be hard and the numbers don’t have to be confusing. But if you keep burying your head in the sand on numbers because you’re “not good with numbers,” you will forever be left with initiatives that are about as effective as slapping spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.

  • Start small with participation numbers. Take attendance in your group fitness classes to learn which residents are coming and how often. Have residents self-report participation in the next healthy food tasting event, etc.
  • Refer to #4 for some support on how to use participation numbers to track trends over time.
  • Work with your marketing staff to find out what kinds of numbers they need to market your community’s wellness program, and then determine how to capture that data for them.

 What will you do next?

I’m not a fan of change for the sake of change alone. Still, sometimes change (or evolution, if you will) is necessary to elevate your offerings for the good of your community.

If you’re looking for a little help in evolving your community wellness strategy, visit our consulting page. If you busted right through the challenges above for top-notch service, share your best practices here!

 

 Are you ready to do wellness better? Learn more about wellness consulting.

Topics: senior center solutions senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center engagement senior fitness

My Story... Residents Benefit from NIFS Top Notch Fitness Program

My Story, NIFS Members SpeakAccording to a recent survey by the International Council on Active Aging, “Although 78% of retirement communities and senior centers have on-site fitness facilities, the survey found that most ICAA members feel their staff lacks the appropriate skill set to deliver safe, relevant and effective exercise programs to an active aging population.” Given this statistic, NIFS is proud to share this resident testimonial praising our onsite fitness manager Reggie Porter and the fitness program at Park Springs in Stone Mountain, Georgia. NIFS is pleased to bring such well qualified personnel to the members of Park Springs and all of our active aging communities across the US.  

Read their blog: Members Benefit from Park Springs Top Notch Fitness Program

Click me

 

Free Workout Friday: Upper and Lower Body Combo Exercises

Free Workout FridayOnce you have learned basic strength moves separately and have mastered the form for each, consider trying a workout where you combine both a lower and upper body strength exercise into one. Combo exercises have many benefits, such as burning more calories and increasing your physical and mental coordination. They also allow you to pack more into a certain amount of time, making your workout thorough and efficient. On busy days, this can be a good way to squeeze your normal 40 minute workout into 20!

There are many ways you can combine separate, basic strength moves into a combo exercise: upper body paired with lower body, lower body plus core, two arm exercises combined, etc. Even combinations of more than two are possible, for example a squat with a bicep curl into a shoulder press. Get creative, as long as you are using proper form for all exercises. Here are five upper body/lower body combos to try today:

1. Squat w/ tree-hugger - placing a band behind your back (or ancor if possible), sit back into a squat while bringing your extended arms out in front of you as if you were hugging a tree.

2. Deadlift w/ upright row - maintain a straight back while performing the deadlift, as you return to standing position, perform an upright row leading with your elbows.

3. Step-up w/ bicep curl - stepping up onto a box or bench while performing a bicep curl, maintain proper form keeping knee in line with the ankle.

4. Backwards lunge w/ front raise - as you step back into a lunge simultaneously perform a front shoulder raise with manageable weight, strive to maintain proper form.

5. Shoulder press w/ leg extension - can be performed sitting or standing, if standing you will balance on one leg lifting the opposite knee. You will perform a shoulder press while simultaneously extending the lifted leg at the knee and lowering.

Take a 10 minute break today and work through these exercises for worksite wellness.  Be sure to complete exercises on both sides where applicable.

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Topics: employee health healthy workforce exercise corporate fitness employee wellness Free Workout Friday fitness corporate fitness centers Fitness Center exercies at your desk

How to Develop Successful Group Fitness Classes in Senior Living

active aging group fitnessJust as it is important to establish appropriate hiring criteria for Group Fitness Instructors (GFIs) at Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), its equally important to routinely evaluate the performance of GFIs and the group fitness offerings to residents.

The challenge to this evaluation is to establish the community personnel qualified to complete these evaluations. If your community has a qualified fitness professional, it’s a no-brainer that this individual can ensure that GFIs have the appropriate qualifications and can regularly evaluate their instruction. If your community does not have a qualified fitness professional, it can be a challenge to find the right personnel to fill this role. In either case, steps should be taken to ensure the safety of participating residents.

Evaluating the Senior Fitness Instructor

Evaluating an instructor can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Simply observing the class and taking notes on the questions in the following list can be a decent starting point, although a traditional graded model rating the instructor’s performance is ideal. Rating his or her performance is a real challenge for a layperson who doesn’t know what to look for. Even these questions might be too much of a stretch. This may lend significant weight to a community’s decision to hire a qualified fitness professional to oversee its fitness center and group exercise program. If community personnel can’t observe the following qualities in an existing instructor, how can they feel qualified to hire a new GFI? This may be placing your community personnel in a difficult position and not holding your community’s fitness offerings to a high enough standard.

  1. Are they providing a proper warm-up and cool-down for participants?
  2. Are they providing modifications to exercises to better challenge residents who are more advanced or to provide a safe exercise for residents who need an option at a lesser intensity?
  3. Are residents able to follow the cueing the instructor provides? Is the instructor providing additional cueing for residents to correct their form throughout the class?
  4. Is the instructor receptive to the needs of the class (for example, when it’s time to take a break, transition to seated exercises, get a drink of water, etc.)?
  5. Do the participants appear engaged and challenged by what they are doing, or do they need additional stimulation in the class?

Evaluating the Group Fitness Class Offerings

While it’s important to make sure the instructors are meeting resident needs, it’s also important to regularly evaluate the class formats and schedule for your group fitness program. Classes often evolve as participants progress and provide their feedback to instructors on their likes and dislikes. This gradual evolution may result in a completely different type of class from what it was at its inception. Review your current schedule at least once a year and consider the following:

  1. Are there class options for residents of all ability levels spanning from the lower-functioning participants to residents who may need a challenge from a higher-intensity class? (As existing classes evolve and residents progress, make sure that a moderate-level class that welcomes beginners actually hasn’t become too advanced.)
  2. Is there structure provided to the way classes are scheduled? For example, strength and conditioning classes should not be held on back-to-back days, and folding all of the group fitness offerings into a Tuesday-Thursday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule will not promote maximum resident engagement.
  3. Do you have cardio, strength training, balance training, flexibility training, and spiritual elements within your class schedule?

Using these questions as a starting point will help you evaluate your group fitness instructors and programs to ensure that they are offering the best experience to your residents.

Quick Tip to Strengthen Your Community Exercise Program

 

 

Topics: group exercise senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness

Balance Programs: Are You Meeting Your Residents’ Needs?

Many communities offer balance training to their residents simply as a component of a group fitness class on the activities schedule. I’m here to tell you that is not enough! Residents need an opportunity for group classes solely dedicated to balance training, as well as balance assessments, equipment, and workouts in their community fitness centers.

Comprehensive balance training programming is often an early success when NIFS begins staffing a fitness center at retirement communities. We’ve been able to engage many residents in the fitness program who previously wouldn’t buy into other modes of physical activity, but they are chomping at the bit to participate in balance training opportunities that can decrease their risk of falls and improve their confidence. Doing so is sometimes a “gateway activity” to help residents recognize their abilities. After building that initial confidence, they experiment with a NuStep or a chair aerobics class. We’ve all got to start somewhere!

NIFS’ Balance Challenge ProgramNIFS Balance Challenge

To promote existing balance training programs at our CCRCs, NIFS will hold its inaugural Balance Challenge in March. The Balance Challenge program encompasses different elements of our regularly offered balance training programs and services as well as a few new opportunities for residents. Participants will track their activity on a scorecard and will be required to participate in group classes, educational lectures, assessments, fitness center workouts, obstacle courses, and much more to complete the Challenge. The program is designed with activity options for residents of varying ability levels so it can be marketed to someone new to the fitness program looking to get into a routine, or for seasoned participants to further hone their skills.

All participants in the Challenge will complete a Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale test as well as a pre- and post-program survey in which they will rate their current balance skills and confidence levels. In future programs, we hope to see that our participants are maintaining or improving their balance abilities as well as their confidence levels through engaging in not only the month-long Challenge, but also throughout the year in regularly scheduled programs. (Consider the marketing advantages for a community with data of this nature to back up the effectiveness of your balance programs!)

Things to Consider When Starting a CCRC Balance Program

Here are a few key considerations when launching a comprehensive balance program for your residents:

  • Who is qualified to lead these types of classes and services for your residents?
  • How will you track the impact the program is having on your residents’ functional abilities and how will you utilize that information?
  • How can you utilize resident volunteers to act as your balance champions to demonstrate exercises, provide testimonials, etc., on the effectiveness of the program? (Residents seeing their peers demonstrate exercises may help them get over any fears of participating.)
  • How can you partner with your community therapy department in balance program offerings?

Whether your community already has a variety of balance training opportunities, or you are looking to launch some new initiatives, consider how a comprehensive program can help spark enthusiasm in your residents!

Senior Fitness, teaching balance
Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management balance senior fitness balance training

NIFS: Core Power, Coca-Cola invests in a Healthy Protein Shake

core powerA Coca-Cola protein shake? Seriously? You’re telling me the manufacturer of a soft drink (that can clean the gunk off a car battery, mind you) has invested in something that’s actually beneficial for me to drink? Never did I think I would see something like this.

For those who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, the Coca-Cola Company has partnered with Fair Oaks Farm Brands to assist in the branding and distribution of a protein shake called Core Power. No, it is not Coca-Cola flavored. It’s vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, and so on, just like the other protein shakes out there (and honey-flavored, which I found interesting). I personally tried the vanilla flavor. One word: delicious! And why wouldn’t it be? Coke’s primary objective is to make its products taste good. Well, they have succeeded once again in supporting this new drink.

But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here: it's the nutritional information that really counts. Generally speaking, Core Power is not too far off the mark. However, these five things stuck out to me as a wellness professional when learning about this drink:

  • Taste: We already know…delicious.
  • Protein: It’s a protein drink. Of course this tops the list of things to look at. Compared to the protein shake I normally drink (which shall remain under anonymity), it has only about half as much protein. We’re not off to a good start.
  • Sugar: Protein shakes are not always known to have the best taste, so a little sugar to sweeten things up isn’t the end of the world if it’s going to help you drink it consistently. However, Core Power has a huge serving of sugar. In one 11.5-ounce bottle, there are 26 grams of sugar, compared to the 2 to 3 grams I get with my normal shake.
  • Carbohydrates: Although it’s not as bad as the sugar, the carb count is much higher in this shake than in comparable serving sizes of other brands.
  • Protein: I know, I already mentioned protein, but this is a different topic concerning protein. I’m not denying the fact that there are 26 grams of protein per serving. However, I wanted to point out that I don’t think it’s necessarily “good” protein. Under the ingredients, I don’t see the words “whey” or “casein” anywhere. These can often be signs of a quality protein shake. Not that the protein included in Core Power is negative, it’s just not quite as beneficial as other types.

In conclusion, I unfortunately will have to give Core Power a sad thumbs-down. It just tastes so good, though. It’s like an ice cream shake (see my comments on the sugar above). Perhaps it could be a good “gateway” protein for those new protein users out there. It will get them started on protein consumption, but then they can lean toward using the more beneficial versions once they get their routine down. Sometimes you gotta do whatever works.

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Topics: nutrition sports drinks sugar healthy habits

Free Workout Friday: Strong, Pain Free Lower Back

Free Workout FridayThe lower back can be a problematic area for many people. It is a common area for tension, tightness, discomfort and even chronic pain. Those who sit for long periods of time at a desk or in a car can be especially prone to lower back problems.

A fact that many people don’t know, is that the hamstrings (muscles of the back thigh) are so closely connected to the lower back, that often tight hamstrings are the actual cause of back problems.

The best bet to preventing or alleviating low back discomfort is to both strengthen and stretch the muscles of the low back and hamstrings. When you strengthen muscles, you maintain increased range of motion and capacity for load bearing. Then, when you stretch muscles, you physically lengthen the muscles, fending off chronic tension and tightness.

Here are 4 exercises to strengthen these muscles, and then 4 to stretch them, see video below for exercise demonstrations:

Strength:

1. Single leg deadlift

2. Single leg bridge

3. Superman

4. Bird Dog

Stretch:

1. Forward fold

2. Child’s pose

3. Seated hamstring stretch

4. Lying down “figure 4” stretch

 

3 Must-Haves in Group Fitness Instructors for CCRCs

considerations for hiring group fitness instructorsMany Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a variety of group fitness classes to their residents. The community personnel who hire the group fitness instructors (GFIs) may benefit from a few pointers on hiring standards beyond someone’s personality alone. Don’t get me wrong, the right personality and ability to build relationships with residents is crucial for making a class successful. However, a narrow focus on personality alone may not provide your residents with the maximum benefits of participating in the activity and could create a dangerous environment.

Certifications and Insurance

To protect participants in group exercise classes (whether in commercial gym, church, school, or CCRC settings), fitness industry standards require that GFIs maintain current instruction certifications and CPR/AED certifications. Contracted GFIs should also carry proof of personal liability insurance. Well-qualified GFIs are aware of these standards and likely would not be in the practice of instructing without maintaining those certifications. For community personnel hiring these individuals, that may be your first sign. If someone applies for the position and cannot provide proof of current certifications and liability insurance, they likely aren’t the best fit for meeting the fitness program standards for your community.

Furthermore, communities should make sure that they are maintaining current copies of certifications from their existing GFI staff. If you find that existing instructors do not have current certifications, it’s likely time to establish a timeline within which your GFIs can obtain a certification to continue with their instruction.

Experience in Senior Fitness

It’s also important to make sure that GFIs have experience teaching an older-adult population. When looking for an instructor, you might contact local senior centers, churches, or YMCAs and share information about your opening and provide the requirements and qualifications you are looking for in a GFI. This may provide you with a better candidate pool than having to sift through GFIs who teach boot camp, kettlebell, or kickboxing-type classes.

Personality

Looking at certifications and experience instructing older adults is the best starting point when looking for a GFI. However, as previously mentioned, the personality of the GFI is also critical for the overall enjoyment of the participants. When replacing an instructor or recruiting an instructor for a new class format, you might consider surveying your residents on their desired qualities in an instructor and in a class.

For example, if you are searching for a yoga instructor, residents may have feedback on enjoying the relaxation benefits of the class. This could allow you to question candidates on elements of relaxation they build into their class. While you may not have the expertise to recognize the specific details on the relaxation elements they are discussing, you should be able to gather feedback on their style of instruction: Is it soothing, focusing on breathing and guided imagery and providing a sense of calming for participants? Or does the instructor focus on deep stretching or strengthening throughout the class?

Establishing standards for GFIs in your group fitness program can benefit more than just your residents. Sharing these standards with prospective residents can be a great marketing tool to promote the dedication and focus your community places on its wellness programming.  

 Watch Resident Testimonials

Topics: group exercise senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness yoga

Free Workout Friday: Strengthen Your Muscles with Yoga

Free Workout FridayAfter a long week you may just need to relax, de-stress and put your mind at ease.  Yoga not only can help you relax with deep breathing, but can help to relax while working your muscles.  One of the many benefits of yoga is increased total body strength. When you hold certain poses for extended periods of time, you are building your muscular endurance while also working on flexibility and breathing.   There are many varieties of yoga and whether you are a novice or have been doing it for years, the following five poses can help you to build strength.  You don't have to stress about this Friday workout, simply do it during your lunch break.

Try these 5 poses for a strength-building yoga session this Friday!  It is important to properly warm up before stretching the muscles with these poses, simply walk for 5 minutes, do some toe taps and step side to side to get the blood pumping!

Hold each pose for five to ten deep breaths.  If you are able, try to inhale and exhale through the nose, lengthening your muscles with each breath.   For more poses and descriptions click here.

1. Warrior I

2. Chair Pose

3. Plank and side plank

4. Boat pose

5. Bridge

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