Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Paul Brown

Recent Posts by Paul Brown:

Fitness Tips to Jump Start Your New Year's Resolutions

If you've been considering a New Year’s resolution, "starting a regular exercise program" may have been on your list.  And why not? Starting an exercise program is a healthy choice that can help you feel better physically, mentally and even emotionally. In this blog we'll discuss four simple fitness tips that can help you stay on track with becoming more active.

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First, start with an exercise plan and write it down on your calendar. This simple step of asking yourself to make a commitment can provide a regular reminder to keep you on track with your schedule and goals.  Ask yourself a few questions before solidifying your plan to ensure your fitness routine is maintained.

When and how will I exercise? Reserving the same time to exercise on a weekly basis will ensure you make your new fitness program a priority. Make sure the times to exercise are suitable for you and can be repeated without interruption. Choose activities you will enjoy to increase the likelihood that you'll keep coming back to your routine.  If you think exercising alone might make it hard to stick to your plan, then consider group fitness classes. Also, be realistic about your capabilities. If you can only exercise for 10-15 minutes then work within that time frame.  Some movement is better than none.

[Read More: 4 Fast Exercises For When You're In A Hurry]

Let's talk about some tips for ensuring success, staying on track and most of all making sure you continue to enjoy your healthy choices. Exercise doesn't have to be a pain or a nuisance. If you can find enjoyable activities, set reasonable goals you're much more likely to succeed and make this a lifestyle change, not just a New Year's resolution. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go. 

Slow and steady wins the race. See your resolution as a lifestyle changer. You will be less likely to continue in the long-term if you are too hard on yourself and increase the intensity without proper preparation. Starting off with a low intensity program for only 10 minutes a session, 3 times a week is a good way to prevent injuries, avoid burnout and make your new routine a healthy habit. Keep your eyes on the prize and only worry about your capabilities. Comparing yourself to others physical abilities may discourage you and we all had to start somewhere!

Set the bar low (at least initially). When creating a healthy resolution focused on adopting regular exercise, set a goal that isn't focused on body weight. Becoming regularly active isn't an end game; it's a lifestyle choice and your goals should reflect that.  Life is busy and things happen that may modify our exercise program throughout the year. Setting a goal such as walking a 10k by June is more achievable than simply focusing on weight. As you feel good striving towards your goal, other achievements will be gained along the way. Remember you can also modify your resolution as long as it’s initially a reasonable expectation.

Bring a friend. Working out with a friend or partner can be the push you need to stay consistent. Consistency is key to achieving your goals and having a friend or partner is added support. Friends keep us accountable, motivated and in some cases a dose of healthy competition!

No matter the goal, remember that a fitness resolution is taking a step in the right direction to improve your quality of life. Keeping your eyes on the prize will reap benefits such as increased energy, healthier bones, and a positive attitude! Cheers to a healthy and active year!

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Topics: new year healthy habits resolutions fitness resolutions fitness tips fitness goals

Senior Living Community Has a Blast Raising Money for Alzheimer’s

pbrown.jpgOne of our clients put the Alzheimer’s walk on center stage this year, and the residents responded with gusto! Paul, NIFS fitness center manager at Meadow Ridge, knew he wanted to create programming around the area walk from a fitness perspective, but he was also interested in building a synergistic event that involved both employees and residents, many of whom have been personally touched by a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

It was their first time raising money for a cause, and they weren’t sure what to expect in the way of participation. But with thoughtful planning and a team effort, this year’s event was a success. Here’s a rundown of how they executed a $4,900 fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease research on their very first try.

Paul initially set out with a personal brainstorming session to consider options and overall structure of what he wanted to offer. With that outline in hand, he met with both the administrator and the executive director. By the end of that meeting, they had a variety of fund-raising ideas on the table. Most importantly, he had the support of the resident health services director and the activities director to pull off the plan throughout the month of September.

Building Excitement

Paul started with a letter to the residents about what was coming. He mentioned the community’s support of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in their area, and provided some basic facts about the impact of the disease. He provided a teaser in the letter to pique their interest and encourage them to watch for another communication outlining how they could get involved.

He followed that letter with another print communication announcing himself as the captain for the Meadow Ridge walking team, and invited residents to participate in either a walk at Meadow Ridge or the three-mile designated Walk to End Alzheimer’s in their area. He also outlined information about how to make a donation and included an envelope complete with a receipt for tax use and a return label on the front. All they had to do was write the check, seal the envelope, and return it to the receptionist.

Two days after the second letter went out, they hosted a root beer float day. That was a brand new activity for Meadow Ridge, and it successfully inspired recollections of childhood for participants. At the float-making station, they had reminders about making donations using their envelopes, and they also had a donation jar. They quickly raised almost $300 in cash at that 90-minute event. 

ThinkstockPhotos-537612271.jpgFund-raising Events

The next week the community offered two different fund-raising events. The first was a resident-only bingo party where the cost to play was $5 per game. Of course, great prizes were offered to those who won each game. They also held a 50/50 raffle with employees. This event raised $206 in total, where $103 went to the winner and $103 was donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The last week included a raffle for 30 different prizes for home services like gardening and housekeeping. There were also dinner-for-two prizes and opportunities to win a personal assistant for a day. The grand prize was dinner for three residents with the community owner. Some of the prizes were internal services offered by Meadow Ridge staff, while others were from outside vendors who wanted to participate in this important event.

A Big Success

In the end, they had participation from about one-third of the residents, and a team of 79 residents and employees joined in on the walks for a total of 64 miles. And to top off all of the enthusiasm around this fund-raising, the Alzheimer’s Association recognized the community for their creative efforts.

The whole thing was such a hit, they are already dreaming of what they can accomplish next year!

Related: How One Senior Living Community Got Focused on Brain Fitness

Our staff put their creative ideas into their programming to help increase resident participation, click below to see how you can improve your programs.

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Topics: walking senior wellness senior living Alzheimer's Disease activities

3 Tips for Improving Posture for Employee Health

Most of us spend the majority of our lives working and commuting to work. In our spare time we also enjoy activities such as reading, watching television, and spending time with our loved ones. What do most of these activities have in common throughout our lifetime? Sitting!


The Toll Sitting Takes on Your Health

A large portion of life as an employee requires extended periods of time seated in a chair, driving to work, and spending time with loved ones sitting at the dining room table. As we age, being in the seated position can have negative effects on our posture, which will also have a negative effect on our health.

As human beings we are structured to walk, run, and swim (if you learned) to accomplish tasks on a daily basis. We used to hunt, forage, farm our own food, and use our own feet when traveling from one location to another. This strengthened the muscles we needed when growing up and maintained our muscles as we aged. In our modern society, most professional careers have become sedentary and require less physical activity to get the job done.

Aging Well with Better Posture

One of the most apparent characteristics our body shows as we age is our posture. We remember the days in our youth when we stood tall, our shoulders were back, and we were probably a few inches taller. As we age, we and our loved ones begin to notice a change in posture in most individuals who had a sedentary profession. Even though some individuals remained active with a sedentary profession, other might not have taken the right steps to ensure good posture during the senior years, when it matters most.

The old saying is practice makes perfect; the new saying is perfect practice makes perfect! Even as many of us stay active, we are not performing the right exercises to maintain posture. Older individuals must perform the correct exercises to improve and maintain a healthy posture.

Tips for Improving Posture

Here are three tips for improving posture that you can use right away.

  • Stretch often, and stretch the right muscles! Muscles that become tight from working most desk jobs and commuting in vehicles are our chest muscles, neck muscles, and leg muscles. Being hunched over for several hours a day contributes to muscle tightness in these areas. Bringing your arms out to the side and stretching your chest four to five times a day can stretch the affected chest muscle. Learning how to stretch the leg muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) in both the seated and standing position will give you more flexibility and prevent poor posture as you age. Neck muscles become tight from staring at computer screens, sitting at desks and carrying stress from demanding jobs. Learn stretches that loosen the neck and take the weight off of your shoulders.
  • Stand up every 30 minutes throughout the workday. Many of us get focused on our work and forget to stay active throughout the day. Standing up will stretch tight muscles, increase blood circulation, and give you a mental break before continuing the rest of your work.
  • Strengthen the muscles that improve and maintain your posture. Muscles that support an upright posture need to be activated and stimulated to maintain their strength and endurance throughout a lifetime. Many of these muscles are weak and inactive during working hours, which can lead to being inactive for lifetime. Strength training exercises focusing on posture include TheraBand rows, hip extensions, and lateral shoulder raises, which have been shown to maintain correct posture in senior populations.

Looking for a simple program you can implement that will help your employees move more and improve their posture?  Download our ebook at the link below.

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Topics: employee health posture sitting