Curious how many steps you need to take to burn off that Halloween candy?
Check out this Halloween Treat Calorie Counter!
Rachel Burk, on Thu, Oct 31, 2013
Curious how many steps you need to take to burn off that Halloween candy?
Check out this Halloween Treat Calorie Counter!
Bethany Garrity, on Sun, Oct 27, 2013
Simply put, corporate wellness and philanthropy go hand in hand. This is one great example. What are you doing to cultivate giving back as a measure of good health?
Rachel Burk, on Fri, Oct 25, 2013
Before you carve those pumpkins for Halloween, put them to use for a good workout! NIFS Fitness Management staff in our corporate fitness centers had great success in offering pumpkin workouts to employees this month. If you think about it, pumpkins are like a medicine ball and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate all intensity levels! So grab that pumpkin off the porch and show your kids how to use a pumpkin for a workout!
Squat and Curl – Hold a pumpkin in both hands with arms extended down in front of your body. Step feet wide with toes pointing out at an angle. Keeping your chest up, lower into a squat and hold the position. Now curl the pumpkin up toward your chest performing a bicep curl, lower the pumpkin slowly back down and perform 12-15 repetitions.
Full Sit Up – Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Holding the pumpkin on your chest, do a full sit up reach overhead with the pumpkin as you perform the movement. Slowly lower to the floor bring the pumpkin back down to your chest in one smooth movement. Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Toe Taps – Lay on the floor bringing your legs up toward the ceiling (bend your knees if a modification is needed). Holding the pumpkin in both hands, contract your abs and crunch upward pushing the pumpkin toward your toes. Rather than relaxing and lowering back to the floor, continue to quickly contract and release taping your toes with the pumpkin for 30 repetitions.
Overhead press – With feet shoulder width apart, hold the pumpkin in both hands in front of your chest. Press the pumpkin up over your head extending your arms, and then slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat for 12-15 repetitions.
Push Up Plank – For an advanced option, place both hands on the pumpkin, if that is too much you can place one hand on the ground and the other on the pumpkin. Extend your legs out behind you into a plank position. Slowly bend your arms to lower your body toward the ground, push through your hands and shoulders to return to the starting position to complete a pushup. Strive for 10 repetitions.
Russian twist – Sit on the ground with the pumpkin in your lap. Place your feet on the ground shoulder width apart, for a more advance move lift your feet up keeping your knees bent. Holding your pumpkin lean back slightly, dropping your right shoulder and taking the pumpkin toward your right. Slowly move back toward the middle and continue toward the left. Continue side to side for 30 seconds.
Now get creative and share with us what your favorite pumpkin exercise is!!
One of the most versatile and healthy foods out there also happens to be a favorite for most when decorating this time of year. Pumpkins are not only something that can be used to spruce up your front porch in the fall but is also an excellent addition that should be incorporated into your daily eating routine!
Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, which helps with vision. The carotenoid, beta carotene, in pumpkins is converted to Vitamin A for even more eye protection! This antioxidant has also been found to have a role in cancer prevention. It is also loaded with fiber (3 grams for 1 cup), which we know is excellent for heart health. One final perk of pumpkin is the amount of potassium it contains. Electrolytes, especially potassium, are important after a hard workout, and 1 cup of pumpkin provides more potassium than a banana (564 milligrams vs. 422 milligrams).
Try these recipes to obtain all of the health benefits that pumpkin has to offer!
Pumpkin Pie Dip
Ingredients:1, 15 oz can of pumpkin
Mix pumpkin, pudding mix, cool whip, and pumpkin pie spice together by hand in a very large bowl and chill for several hours before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve with fresh apples slices, vanilla wafers or ginger snaps.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Ingredients1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Ingredients1lb ground beef
In a large soup pot, brown ground beef with pepper, onion, and a drizzle of olive oil. As the meat and veggies are cooking, sprinkle over chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion, powder, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. When the meat is cooked through, and the veggies are tender, add pumpkin puree, undrained beans, and the tomatoes with their juice to the pan. Cover and simmer until ready to eat.
Pumpkin isn’t just for pie! These recipes can be included anytime during the day.
Rachel Burk, on Fri, Oct 18, 2013
Stairs are a great way to take your same old cardio workout to the next level. Changing it up by utilizing the stairs might have your muscles twitching like never before! Take a look at your workout routine, you possibly neglect your lower body more than you think. Many people consider their cardio activities their lower body workout because they are walking, running, biking, etc. Exchange your regular cardiovascular exercise for a stair workout and not only will your heart be pumping, your muscles will be telling you that stair workout gave them a run for their money!
Using the incline of the steps helps to improve your balance, coordination and trigger those smaller muscles you generally don’t target with regular machine workouts. It’s always important to kick off your workout with a warm up to wake those muscles up and get them ready for your workout. Now print this blog, and head out of your corporate worksite and find some stairs!
Basic Step – use this as a breather between exercises, one foot on each step climbing the flight of stairs. When you get to the top, turn around and walk or jog back down the stairs.
Side Squat – turn and face the right, keeping your toes forward place your left foot on the second step. Lower into a squat maintaining proper form keeping your hips back and knees in line with your ankles. Push through your left foot and straighten your leg allowing your right foot to come off the ground, slowly lower and repeat for 12-15 repetitions then perform the same with the other leg.
Mountain Climbers – you’ve done this dreaded exercise in your corporate fitness center group exercise class, so let’s throw them in here! Get in a plank position with hands placed on the second step shoulder width apart. Just as you would do if on the floor, draw knees toward your chest alternating right and left for 30 – 45 seconds. Remember, you control the exercise intensity! Push yourself to go harder.
Lunge – Think of this as skipping steps as you walk up the flight of stairs. Focus on the movement rather than just running up the stairs. It will be a small movement due to the incline of the steps, but lower into a lunge and use that front leg to drive your body up. Be sure to alternate between legs to get an even workout. Once you reach the top, turn around and walk or jog down the stairs.
Dips – sit on the second step and place hands on either side of you on the step. Keeping your knees bent slide yourself off the step with feet hip width apart. Bend your arms until your upper arm is parallel to the floor or you can’t lower any further and return to the starting position. Complete 12-15 repetitions.
Get another boost and basic step up the stairs and repeat each exercise for 2-3 rounds, push yourself and challenge your intensity level!
Unless you live under a really, really big rock, you have no doubt heard about the importance of robust wellness opportunities as central to a successful senior living community. There have been some fabulous profiles lately on organizations that are doing an amazing job of connecting their residents and others in the surrounding areas to opportunities to live well. Two recent examples highlighted by LeadingAge are these:
What strikes me about both of these offerings is that they are wellness initiatives. I don’t know that the communities packaged them that way, but in fact, they are a model of innovative wellness programming at its very best.
The other element I find compelling about these offerings is that they’re culturally driven. That is to say that this type of creativity can only come from an organization that believes that living well is truly central to its brand.
When your senior living communities investigate what’s possible under the umbrella of resident wellness, it’s important to consider what it is you truly want to build. Is wellbeing something that leadership wants to cultivate, explore, and weave into the very fabric of the community? Or is the community focus elsewhere for now, such that wellness is more of a task that needs to be crossed off the long list?
If wellness for your community is about crossing something off the to-do list, then you might be looking for a kit solution. There are organizations that can help you, when you buy into their model, to plant monthly wellness initiatives at your community. Your activities director can typically fold them into the monthly calendar, and you can begin to dip your toe into the wellness water to get a sense of how your residents will receive programming and activities built around traditional wellness pillars like nutrition, physical activity, and so on.
But that's not how we do it. We're not about the monthly theme, unless it's right for your residents, and we're not about the pre-packaged materials, unless they've proven their value.
At the end of the day, a wellness culture is where we need to be headed. When we adopt a healthy culture as the way of life we’re building for residents, then we start to grasp what’s really possible.
But here’s the thing: culture is person-driven, not program-driven. There are not enough programs in the world to build a culture. Wellness is a way of life, not an activity, and it should be cultivated accordingly. Here are a few considerations if you’re contemplating the challenging and rewarding work that is wellness culture building in a retirement community:
Make no mistake, building a culture is no easy task and you don’t ever really arrive. You just keep learning, building, and growing. You keep evolving to meet and anticipate the needs of your audience. You keep striving for the experience of a life well lived, for breadth and depth of lifestyle choices that provide meaning for each individual.
If this sounds daunting, it is. The wellness kit idea is much simpler to understand and to execute. But the real richness lies in the proverbial road less traveled. Partner organizations, including ours, can help you map out a path to get started.
Are you looking for a new, quick, high-intensity workout routine? Then Tabata may be the training style for you! Be prepared to go all-out for short durations of time to increase your strength, while improving your cardio at the same time! Tabata facilitates a workout which is so intense that 8 rounds will be completed in only 4 minutes! If 4 minutes are enough, then you have completed a full Tabata set, if not, choose a different exercise and repeat the Tabata!
The general set up of Tabata:
The key points of Tabata:
Tabata Exercise Example 1 – alternate between the following two exercises
Tabata Exercise Example 2
Have fun, work hard, be creative, and make the workout yours! What is your favorite Tabata style workout?
Lasalle Pinnock joined the corporate wellness center in July when his department moved. Almost immediately he scheduled an exercise prescription with the NIFS Fitness Management staff and has been following that exercise program ever since. He started with a few days of strength training and cardiovascular exercise. After about a month he came to the staff looking to add one more day of activity to his routine. Each week he updates us on his progress not only with weight lost but how he is improving in stamina and strength. Because of his dedication to exercise he has also been motivated to make healthier choices when it comes to his diet and started sharing the things he’s learned with his wife.
LaSalle’s success has come from his commitment to making healthier choices and his consistency with exercise read his journey toward a healthier lifestyle below:
I started working in the Wellness Center when my department moved from the Galleria location because I felt I had no excuse. The gym is right here at work, what more can I ask for? This was the best time and opportunity for me to really focus and make changes in my life. My beautiful wife and kids are who keep me motivated to work out and eat healthily. Having two young daughters, I told myself I want to be alive to see both of them go to college and get married. I knew I had to make changes and they are what keep me going.
Since starting in the gym and using Penny’s workout routines I have lost a little over 10 pounds in just under month. I have also changed my eating and drinking habits greatly. I was a huge Coca-Cola® drinker and used to drink Cokes daily. I now only drink water throughout the day. I will have the occasional Coke® or Coke Zero® on the weekend. I have cut out fast food, fried, and greasy foods. If I’m unable to eat a healthy meal I make sure I eat a smaller portion. Instead of getting sodas or chips from the vending machine I grab trail mix or eat some type of fruit. I have noticed since working out I have so much more stamina, energy, and I am less tired during the day. I can really feel and see the difference in my mood and body. Mentally I feel more focused and less stressed, I just feel great. Right now my goal is to stay focused and to keep moving forward. I want to reach my target weight and inspire others.
My advice for others is this, It’s hard and it’s going to take some time but don’t let that stop you because it’s worth it. One of the best quotes I’ve read and that keeps me going is, “Some quit due to slow progress. Never grasping the fact that…slow progress is progress”.
*Weight loss claims or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.
Mechelle Meadows, on Fri, Oct 4, 2013
A plyometric exercise is one that includes a stretch of the muscle, followed by an explosive movement, working the power aspect of the muscle. For example, in a jump squat, you will bend the knees and lower down towards the ground, stretching the quads and glutes, then jump straight up into the air in an explosive movement, landing back into the deep squat.
Plyometrics are found in many intense workout formats like boot camps and popular DVD series like Insanity. When plyometrics are performed over the course of 30-60 seconds, not only are the muscles being challenged, but it will become a fairly intense cardio workout as well!
Benefits of plyometrics include:
Here are four plyometric exercises to add into your workouts:
Need more ideas for changing up your routine? Subscribe to our blog, or visit our YouTube channel for exercise demos created by our NIFS Fitness Management staff.
Diana Price, on Thu, Oct 3, 2013
When I first began working at a CCRC a year ago I learned that Zumba® classes were being taught. I was very intrigued and actually sat in on the class within the first couple days of being here. Prior to attending the class, I kept thinking to myself that this was a pretty intense class to be taught to seniors. After attending the class I was pleasantly surprised as to how enjoyable the class is for the participants. The type of class that was being taught is actually called Zumba Gold® and was specifically designed for active seniors as well as those participants who may not be ready for full on Zumba®. Zumba Gold® still uses the same concept of original Zumba® by incorporating exciting Latin and international dance rhythms. Some of these dances include Merengue, Salsa, Cha Cha, Cumbia, and Belly Dancing. You are guaranteed to get a full body workout but the exercises are modified for success and safety. A lot of the moves may even be done at 1/2 tempo so that everyone is able to follow. The most interesting thing that I observed was that many of the participants were seated during the Zumba Gold® class. This makes the class available to everyone, including those who may be in wheelchairs or are unable to stand for long periods of time.
There are a wide range of benefits of Zumba®, these include:
The residents at our community absolutely love that this class is offered! It is one of our most well attended classes at our community. This population has grown up around music so what better way to get some exercise while dancing around to good music! I hear over and over again from the residents that it doesn’t even feel like they are exercising because they enjoy the music so well and they just start grooving.
If you are interested in having Zumba Gold® at your CCRC you will first need to have a licensed Zumba Gold® instructor to teach the classes. There are always training workshops being taught all over the United States you just have to find the one nearest to you. You may find these training workshops at the following address Zumba Training. Now the question is are you ready to live up to the Zumba® motto and ditch the workout and join the party?