Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fitness Staff

Recent Posts by Fitness Staff:

Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) takes place every day in everyone’s life. It’s up to you, though, to move up the ladder on that model and make a healthy lifestyle change. The TTM is based on six stages. There is another stage that doesn’t appear on the model that people talk about, but we’ll get to that later.

The stages of the TTM in order are the following.


This stage is where someone doesn’t see themselves changing within the next six months. Nothing will motivate the individual to become healthy at this point. This becomes a problem because some of these people are underinformed or not informed of what risk factors they are carrying. These people are just unmotivated and very resistant about talking or doing anything else that will essentially help increase their quality of life.


Contemplation is where individuals are ready to start exercising and realize that they need to make a change in their habits. These people want to take charge of the situation within the next six months because they understand the benefits of healthy living and that they need to decrease their risk factors in order to increase their quality of life. With that said, people start to do some research to figure out the costs involved in becoming healthy. A fair amount of people tend to stay in this stage due to the costs involved. These people are individuals who don’t have a lot of money to spare. So people tend to get stuck and go into what is called chronic contemplation.


Preparation is the stage in which people will be ready to start making a change within a month. These people are individuals who have purchased workout equipment, joined a gym, talked to or made an appointment with their physician, and have bought other necessary essentials to get off to a great start. These individuals are very serious about change and take the right steps to be well prepared for it.


The action stage is where people have made several changes to their lifestyle within the last six months that have significantly reduced the risks of disease. This stage is one of the most important stages because six months can determine whether an individual wants to achieve more, or it can be that breaking point in which that person decides to quit altogether. This is known as relapse.


Relapse is a stage that anyone could hit. People will stop what they’re trying to achieve because their mindset is that they’re missing what they used to have, and what they’re doing is taking up too much time or is becoming difficult. In this case, exercising got too hard to complete. This usually happens within the first three months.

I myself have seen this occur when something unfortunate happens in someone’s life. These unfortunate events include loss of a job, loss of a loved one, not enough time in the day, exercise is not motivating anymore, and so on. Of course those things make you unmotivated to do anything. I get it, but when quitting anything, there are consequences. When losing a job, you’re out of a job and have no income. With no motivation, you tend to eat more and exercise less. Relapse can also happen after the maintenance stage. Someone might just want to take a break after getting into great shape, and then they’ll slowly go back to where they started.


Maintenance is where people have made a lot of changes in their lifestyle and are working even harder to maintain what they’ve been doing so that they don’t end up relapsing. People in the action stage are far more likely to relapse than someone in maintenance. The maintenance phase can last an estimated six months to five years. What people tend to do within that time is build up more confidence in order to make sure they are consistent with exercise and keeping away from poor habits. So although the action stage is the more likely time for someone to relapse, it’s still important for people to realize that a single craving and action to cater to that craving is more likely to happen at 12 months rather than five years.


This stage is a good stage in which to be. Termination is where someone is 100 percent into what they are doing and they don’t want to change because of the benefits of what they’re getting out of their choices in life. They are driven and confident individuals who don’t want to go back to what they once had where nothing motivated them (the Precontemplation stage).


It’s up to you what you want to do with your life, but remember that one decision can change everything. Make your weaknesses strengths, get involved in your community, exercise with a friend or spouse to help you stay motivated, and talk to your doctor, a counselor and a personal trainer to help get you on the right track to a better life. 

Start the New Year right and set some goals and get started!

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Topics: motivation equipment healthy lifestyle change quality of life

How to change bad habits

making a list

Bad habits often compromise a healthy lifestyle. No matter what your bad habit is, you can tackle it by identifying your weaknesses changing your mind’s focus.  Take a moment and use these tips on how to change bad habits.

Identifying Bad Habits

First, identify your bad habits and what keeps you from changing them:

  • Make a list of your good and bad habits. Recognize those habits you would like to change.
  • Organize a plan when cravings for bad habits return. Know how you will handle these cravings. If possible, try to avoid them.
  • Recognize the barriers that will keep you from changing your bad habits. Avoid situations and people that will cause you to resort to performing your bad habits.

Break the Cycle and Change Your Behavior

Depending on what your bad habit is, a number of tricks can help you break the cycle. For example:

  • Avoid using food or other substances (smoking, drinking, etc.) to comfort yourself. Instead, use other, less damaging techniques such as listening to soothing music or chewing gum.
  • Avoid sugary drinks. Keep bottles of water at home and at work. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try flavored, but make sure you select a low- or no-sugar option.
  • If you just can’t stop slouching, set a timer on your watch for every few minutes. Use the alarm as a reminder to check your posture and sit or stand up straight. Keep lengthening the time intervals as you get better at keeping your posture a priority.

What bad habit do you plan to kick?  

Interested in helping your employees make healthy habits?  Download our whitepaper to learn how to incorporate exercise into your wellness program for employees. 

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Topics: corporate wellness nutrition employee wellness behavior modification

Balance Training is Important at Any Age

business woman balancingOne of the most overlooked factors of physical fitness is balance. This is especially important for the senior population, but balance is something every age group should think about. Balance is important in order to remain upright and steady when sitting up, standing, and walking. We utilize balance constantly in our daily routines without even thinking about it.

Completing balance exercises will result in fewer injuries and improved stability with age, and that will keep individuals stronger and independent for a longer time period. Improving balance does not have to take large amounts of time out of your day. The following exercises will reduce your base of support and challenge your stability in various ways.

  1. Knee raise and extension: From a seated position, raise your knee and then slowly kick, or extend your leg out straight. This exercise works your upper thigh and hip muscles. These are both important muscle groups for stability. This exercise can be done anytime while seated. For example, do this exercise during a commercial break while watching your favorite TV show.
  2. Walk heel-to-toe: Place one foot directly in front of the other foot while walking. This exercise can be done at home when walking down a hallway or near a table or counter so that you have something to grab onto if necessary. For example, do this exercise while walking from your living room to your bedroom at night.
  3. Stand on one foot: While standing, lift one leg off of the ground. After holding for 30 seconds, switch feet. This exercise can be done anywhere when you are just standing still. Be sure to keep something stable close in case you need to grab it for extra support. For example, do this exercise at home while standing at the kitchen sink.
  4. Chair stands: This is a sit-to-stand exercise. Move to the edge of your seat, place your arms across your chest, and then push through your heels to stand up out of the chair. This exercise will help strengthen lower-body muscles that are important for mobility and stability. This exercise will be most beneficial if you focus on using only your legs to get up out of the chair (try not to push yourself up with your arms). For example, do this exercise during a TV commercial break a few times to improve lower-body strength.
  5. Tandem and semi-tandem stance: Stand with one foot directly in front of the other, or stand with one foot slightly in front of and off to the side of the other foot. Do this exercise for 30 seconds, and then switch the foot you have forward. This exercise can be done anywhere you are standing still. For example, do this exercise while waiting in line at the grocery store. Keep your shopping cart in front of you in case you need some extra support.

Try doing these exercises throughout your day to work on improving your balance and stability. If you need to start out holding onto something while doing these exercises, that is okay. The more you do the exercises, the easier they will become. As the exercises become easier, you can further challenge your balance by closing your eyes. I hope you find these exercises simple, beneficial, and enjoyable!

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Topics: corporate wellness balance strength training senior fitness

3 Tips to Relieve Joint Pain

This blog was written for NIFS by special guest writer Elizabeth Carrollton.

joint painJoint pain is a very common problem, and keeping fit is one of the best ways to find reliable relief. For many of us, limiting activity might seem to make sense when a joint is achy. However, inactivity can make matters worse. In fact, inactivity is a leading cause of joint pain, causing weakness in muscles and bones that can lead to injuries and joint disorders like osteoarthritis.

So if your joints are getting a bit sore and stiff by the end of the day, exercise can help relieve the pain and ward off more serious troubles. Of course, it's important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of injuries or joint problems before treating them with exercise.

1. How Exercise Helps Joint Pain

Keeping the muscles around injured joints strong is important in maintaining range of motion, joint function, and alignment, factors that can speed healing and recovery after injuries, as well as decreasing pain and stiffness. In joints affected by arthritis, regular exercise can increase joint support by improving the strength and tone of surrounding muscles, which can relieve daily pain and stiffness and slow the progress of this degenerative joint disorder. That's why physical therapy is typically used as part of the treatment plan for most joint injuries and chronic degenerative conditions.

2. Joint-Friendly Exercise

Moderate, weight-bearing exercise is the way to go when your goal is to relieve joint pain. Avoid high-impact exercise that rattles the joints in favor of more joint-friendly options, like walking, swimming, or bike riding. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are great choices as well, and have been shown in a number of studies to reduce joint pain and discomfort.

If you have been fairly sedentary, start slowly, working up to that optimal goal of at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. If you have severe joint pain or degeneration, physical therapy might be a good idea to ensure that you aren't putting yourself at risk for further joint injury. Besides, working with an expert who is knowledgeable about joint care and function will likely offer more effective relief than exercising on your own.

3. Why Taking Care of Joint Pain Properly Is Essential

Ignoring joint pain can give small issues or injuries a chance to develop into serious, long-term joint problems. Serious joint problems lead to more than 690,000 knee-replacement surgeries every year in the United States and more than 450,000 hip-replacement procedures. Although these surgeries can be a good option for people who have been disabled by joint conditions or injury, they are major surgery and should be considered a treatment of last resort.

Recovery can be a long and challenging process after joint replacement and complications can be an issue, as anyone affected by the recent hip implant recalls can tell you. Faulty metal-on-metal hip implants, used in thousands of procedures, caused metallosis in some patients, which is a complication related to metallic implant debris. Metallosis can cause intense pain and swelling in the hip as metallic particles collect in the soft tissues, and can eventually lead to tissue death, bone loss, and implant loosening or failure, making more surgery necessary.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for

Topics: exercise corporate fitness arthritis pain relief physical therapy

NIFS: January Class of the Month - Bodycombat

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor.

Les Mills Body CombatIf you are new to group fitness, or new to the Les Mills program, then the term “Bodycombat” may sound a bit intimidating.  If you have attended even just one Bodycombat class, then you know that this intense cardio workout focuses on utilizing mixed martial arts moves such as punches and kicks to strengthen the entire body.


NIFS Body CombatThis past Tuesday, January 8, NIFS hosted an Intro to Bodycombat class for newcomers, beginners, and anyone who wanted to understand a little bit more about what was going on behind the punch.  There was a wide variety of people attending the class, and everyone walked of off the court with a better understanding of how to properly execute the various punches, kicks, blocks and other mixed martial arts moves.  

The class began with a group warm-up to get everyone moving and comfortable with the space on the gym floor.  We then broke down the Bodycombat workout into smaller manageable pieces of just upper body exercises and then lower body exercises.  We were able to learn the proper technique for all of the basic punches and kicks, and then apply the new and perfected techniques we learned to actual Bodycombat tracks in a shortened class.

NIFS Body CombatBodycombat is for everyone at a moderate-intermediate fitness level, and the moves are simple so little coordination is required!  When you attend a regular Bodycombat class, you should expect to be led by your instructor through the martial arts moves drawn from various disciplines such as karate, taekwondo, tai chi, and muy thai while moving to the beat of heart pounding music.   At the end of the class, you will feel strong, empowered, and slightly invincible.  

Like all of the Les Mills classes, a new release of music and exercises is released every three months to keep your body guessing, keep the workout interesting, and keep your body in top-notch condition.

No equipment is needed for this class, just the warrior within, a towel for your sweat, and a water bottle. 

Make sure to join Tasha and Emily for Bodycombat classes on Mondays at 5:30pm and Wednesdays at 6:35pm on the auxiliary court at NIFS Fitness Center in Indianapolis.


Topics: group exercise NIFS fitness cardio les mills martial arts

NIFS: Overcoming a Nutrition and Fitness Backslide

time for changeOvercoming a setback in life can be pretty challenging, be it a job loss, divorce, financial distress, or a setback in reaching the health and fitness goals you have set for yourself at the onset of your fitness journey. So what should you do if you happen to gain weight? Body composition results are less than ideal? Mile time is slower? How you we get back on track before slipping any further back into the old behaviors that probably got you to the point of change in the first place?
Here are a few steps to follow if you experience a slip in the diet, lack of exercise, energy loss, or any other reason (or excuse) that results in a health and fitness setback.

1. Get your head right. Remember the reasons you started your journey to better your life. Work through and dispose of the negative thoughts that are becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. Understand that even the strongest of individuals can relapse into destructive behaviors, and that it is usually due to a detour from positive thinking.
2. Remove yourself. I don’t recommend becoming a hermit who throws potatoes at stray cats (my dad does that), by any means. I do recommend removing yourself from the environments that are filled with triggers that lead to poor decision making. This may mean staying away from friends or family who enable the lapses in judgment. Trust me, you will find who your true friends are when you are taking steps to better yourself and they resent you for it. Sometimes there are just too many bad notes playing in your symphony, so remove them.
3. Return to the plan. You formed a plan to aid you in your journey to health and wellness when you began, so get right back to it! If you consume too much food at a dinner, the next day get right back on your normal eating schedule filled with the proper foods. If you are diligent most of the time, your body’s metabolism will be able to handle a caloric onslaught from time to time, avoiding the setback altogether. Work your plan that is directly related to achieving your goals. That is why it is in place.
4. Get active. Moving can do so much to help you return to your motivated state. Not only are the physical responses to exercise very helpful, but the mental and spiritual benefits of moving are far reaching and will help you put into place the preceding three steps. I get a lot of thinking done out on a run or during a strength-training session. The physiological response to exercise is so much more than cells and muscles. The hormones that are released during exercise can be just what the doctor ordered to get your head right, remove yourself from damaging situations, and get back to your plan of attack.

Arm yourself with these steps to help you bounce back if a setback happens. Just remember that everyone gets knocked down. What matters is whether you get back up! I have learned a great deal from Coach Divine of and am implementing some Seal habits into my daily life. You can read his blog here.

Topics: fitness fitness success healthy habits Fitness Center

NIFS Nutrition and Fitness for the Holidays

thanksgiving dinner resized 600The holidays are around the corner―time flies! I want to pass along my top five tips to get through those holiday dinners without destroying all the hard work you have put into this thing we call fitness, and still enjoy those once-a-year delights that make life worth living.
I have heard a pretty shocking statistic that Americans will consume an average of 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, and over 200 grams of fat (and not the good fat, either). I don’t think I have to tell you how long it would take to recover from and burn that many calories. So use these five tips to help you stay on track.

1. Do not skip meals before the “big one.” Many people think starving themselves before the big meal will help in keeping down the caloric intake for the day. WRONG! Remember that you have to keep that furnace burning all day, and if you come into the big meal starving, you will overeat. I guarantee it. 
2. Make one run. At the “big one,” have little servings of everything so you can enjoy all the great tastes that come with the holiday, but in moderation. People tend to love one item, eat a lot of it, then go back for the things they didn’t have room for on the first run.
3. Work out! Find 30 minutes that day, and the day after, to get in a workout. Do it fast and furious so you can get back to the family but still keep the furnace hot and continually burning.
4. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a double-edged sword in that it tends to lower inhibitions (taking your eyes off your goals) and increase the production and release of a hormone that absorbs fat. If someone has a drink in their hand, they more than likely have their other hand stuffing their face.
5. Keep your goals in the forefront. Why have you come to see me in the first place? Why have you gone through these weeks of physical torture? It’s to accomplish those goals you have defined for yourself and to become the individual you ultimately want to be. You have to remind yourself when you are facing down a loaded turkey with all the fixings of all the sweat and tears you have put into this thing.

You should totally enjoy everything about the holidays, because that is why you work so hard. But learning to enjoy and not destroy is key. Trust me, there is a balance, and your goal is to fill your toolbox to help work toward that balance. Follow this link to test your knowledge of holiday foods!

Topics: exercise exercise at home calories

NIFS Fitness Center: Green Nutrition Tips from Michael Pollan

describe the imageSo let’s talk nutrition. One of my favorite nutrition authors is Michael Pollan. His message truly comes from an environmental and sustainability platform, but it just so happens that when you are “green” you are also “lean.”
I know when choosing the food you eat you are bombarded by so many messages―from your health professional, the media, your family, and friends. I urge you to not only read the calorie content, but to know where your food is coming from. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” is one of Pollan’s most recognizable quotes and these are the strongest seven words when it comes to your nutrition. I prefer to change one of the seven words so that the quote reads, “Eat often, not too much, mostly plants.” This is how you can ignite the metabolic engine and keep it hot all day.
I would like to share an excerpt from one of my favorite Pollan books, Food Rules. This one should be on everybody’s bookshelf. In this book he covers 64 simple food rules that will not only keep you lean and healthy, but also provide direction on how our society should be eating. Here are six of his 64 rules:
#11: Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
#19: If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
#36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
#39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
#47: Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
#58: Do all your eating at a table.

So after reading these six rules, I am sure you are reflecting upon your diet (well, I hope you are). Click this link and score your diet on nutrition, the environment, and animal welfare.

Topics: Food for Thought Go Green NIFS

NIFS Nutrition News: Eat Better…Work Better?

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz. 

woman eating fruit resized 600We have all heard the phrase that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but who knew that eating a balanced diet would also make you more productive at work? That is what a recent study found.

The study was conducted by Brigham Young University on 19,000 employees from three large companies and was published in the Population Health Management Journal. It was discovered that employees with unhealthy diets were 66 percent less productive than those who ate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

So, how can you be a more productive employee? Try these three simple ways to eat a more balanced diet and then get ready to impress your boss!

  • Whole-grain goodness: Swap out your old rice, pasta, bread, and cereal for grains that are higher in fiber and are less processed. Brown and wild rice are excellent alternatives to white rice. Whole-wheat pasta, couscous, quinoa, millet, and oats are more whole-grain options to incorporate into your diet. When it comes to breads and cereal, check the label. Choose options that have at least three grams of fiber per serving. Check out the Whole Grains Council for more information.
  • Fabulous fruits: Most people need three pieces of fruit per day to meet their individual requirements. You can do this easily by incorporating a fruit into your morning cereal or oatmeal, grabbing a piece of fruit for a quick and portable snack, and having a bowl of sweet fruit after dinner for dessert. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in fruits are all great reasons to include them in your diet.
  • Vary your veggies: One of the most challenging food groups to get into your diet, but also one of the best ones for you, is vegetables. It can be difficult to meet the four to five recommended servings per day, so how can you get these in to help balance your diet? One thing is to make sure that you are spreading them out throughout the day by including a vegetable serving at lunch and snack time. At lunch, grab portable veggies such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, and sugar-snap peas to add some variety and crunch along with your typical sandwich. Or nibble on veggies with a hummus dip for an afternoon snack. Make it a goal to try one new or different vegetable each week.

 If you live in the Indianapolis area, consider registering for our Lite ‘N Up weight management program that helps build a healthy attitude toward food and fitness. Or contact me at to answer your individual nutrition questions.

Topics: nutrition weight management whole grain NIFS productivity

Senior Wellness: Can a healthy community culture can help your marketing department?

group of seniors with thumbs up

This blog was written by Emily Davenport.

As part of Active Aging Week, NIFS managers coordinated a Wellness Conference in which various community personnel and residents came together to speak about the wellness-based lifestyle programs and services available at the community. Many residents commented on being aware of certain programs and services, but not previously recognizing how cohesively the different departments worked together to provide an integrated wellness program.
Following the event, residents immediately approached our manager about the missed opportunity of filming the event for future viewing by new or prospective residents. We felt this resident response was a testament to how much current residents value their community wellness-offerings.
From the perspective of new residents to the community, existing residents identified the importance of early education about the wellness program at the community and to quickly integrate new residents into it. This speaks to the resident’s desire to keep not only their community vibrant and engaging, but to also enhance the lives of these individuals moving into the community. (If that doesn’t speak to a caring and nurturing environment for new residents to be welcomed into, I don’t know what does.)
From the perspective of prospective residents to the community, existing residents identified how critical these lifestyle options were for the active older adult and how marketable the community’s program is. It raises the question of what residents at this community might share with their friends and family about their lifestyle and how that may compare to residents of other communities without such an engaging wellness culture. Not only can a community’s image be impacted by having an engaging wellness program, but what are your best marketing assets spreading outside of the community about their lifestyle.
We are pleased that our Wellness Conference as part of Active Aging Week helped to further educate residents on the wellness offerings at the community and how whole-heartedly these individuals are embracing the programs for themselves and for others. 

Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center