Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to Combat Sitting, a Workplace Health Crisis (Part 1)

sittingWe sit. Frankly, we sit a lot. We sit at home, we sit on our commutes, we sit at work, we sit during our child’s after-school activities. Sit, sit, sit. And it’s not doing us any favors, either. In fact, recent startling statistics indicate that sitting may be a significant threat to our overall wellbeing.

Before you write this off as one of those “it can’t be that bad” indicators, consider these statistics. There are even more (if you need more convincing) in this compelling infographic.

  • Sitting six hours a day increases your risk of death by 40% over someone who sits less than three hours.
  • Between 1980 and 2000, exercise rates remained the same, but sitting time increased 8% and obesity doubled.
  • People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people who stand for work.

And to those of you who say that sitting disease is really a problem only for people who don’t work out, think again. Data shows that prolonged sitting can negate some of the benefits you receive from regular exercise. Let me just say it one more time: How often we sit is a problem.

NIFS’s Fit-It-In Gets Results in Combating Sitting

So there it is: sitting is our great nemesis. If you’ve been wracking your brain for strategies that actually combat the gravitational pull to a chair, look no further. Below is an outline for one of NIFS’s award-winning programs, Fit-It-In, with real results that can be implemented in any worksite health setting.

But before I get into program specifics, I need to say that if you don’t have built-in strategies for evaluating your programs, you’ll want to be sure you establish that basic infrastructure in order to determine whether your efforts at combating sitting disease are actually working. For more on how NIFS evaluates our programs, read this blog. After all, without effective evaluation strategies, you can’t get fantastic data like this: Before Fit-It-In started, 100% of associates polled indicated they were sedentary at least four hours per day. By the end of the program, only 8% of associates polled indicated that they were sedentary four or more hours per day.

In the Beginning

This conceptually simple and highly effective program, called Fit-It-In, is the brainchild of one of NIFS’s managers, Kathy Douglas. Kathy manages a corporate fitness center for NIFS at a client where there is a lot of sitting. She, like most of us in worksite health promotion, had been following the news coming out in the last few years about the dangers of sitting and felt compelled to address this for the associates she serves.

She knew that if she could just get them into the fitness center, she could help them, even with small breaks in the day, to feel better and to gradually improve their health. But she was up against (1) individual inertia, and (2) a corporate culture for productivity that kept associates in their seats.

After much research, discussion with leadership at her client location, and careful outlining of the program’s goals and objectives, she launched Fit-It-In. The primary goal of the program was to help improve associate health and engagement by providing them with an efficient and convenient method of fitting in more physical activity throughout their workday.

Fighting Inertia to Improve Employee Health

Kathy knew she had a lot of work to do to reach the 500+ associates at her location with a message about moving more, and she was certain that focusing on getting them into the fitness center was going to be met with significant resistance. So she brought exercise to the associates and incorporated a variety of simple opportunities/events through which associates could engage in movement-oriented activities without having to truly work out.

Program features included the following:

  • Fitness bands to all associates
  • Online workout and stretching documents
  • Indoor and outdoor walking routes
  • Motivational stairwell challenges
  • Fitness band exercise challenge of the month
  • “15-2-Fit” 15-minute workout cards available in the fitness center
  • 5-Minute Flash Mob fitness band exercise events
  • “YES You Can―Fit-It-In” informational kiosk
  • Monthly grand-prize drawing

Pretty great list of services in the initiative, right? Well, here’s the thing: Kathy knew (she’s been with this client for five years) that unless she was able to get support from mid-level managers, this initiative would flop, no matter how creative, relevant, simple, or potentially impactful it was.

Engaging Managers to Support Employee Exercise

Truly, this is what sets this program apart from others. Kathy spent a significant amount of front-end time with managers in the organization talking with them about Fit-It-In: how it would benefit their productivity goals as well as the health of their department members. She also sought buy-in from the executive leadership in her location so that the mid-level managers would know they had the support they needed to get Fit-It-In off the ground in their division.

Easy enough. On to the next steps, right? Unfortunately, it took a lot of effort on Kathy’s part to overcome managers’ resistance to allowing their employees to move for five minutes during a meeting, or at each hourly bell. There were significant concerns in some areas about productivity and department goals being compromised because employees would not be 100% focused on work 100% of the time.

It’s a common hurdle, but it’s not commonly overcome. Kathy was able to gain a lot of traction with these supervisors by presenting Fit-It-In jointly with Human Resources. She engaged the managers in conversation at the end of the presentation to listen to their concerns and other feedback. Kathy added elements to the initiative in response to those discussions and ultimately was able to remove most of the identified barriers to generate a win-win message.

If you want to read about how Kathy was able to go from 100% of associates reporting that they were sedentary for four or more hours to just 8% indicating that they were sedentary for four or more hours each day, you won’t want to miss part 2 of this blog. We’ll dig into the data, as well as offer an overview on how the program was implemented. I’ll also outline some of our key lessons learned.

 

Employee Engagement
Topics: corporate wellness exercise at work employee health corporate fitness worksite wellness NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment corporate fitness centers; return on investement business fitness solutions

NIFS Fitness Management: 2013 Resolutions

Every year we set new resolutions with every intention to improve our health, stay better organized, lose weight… the list goes on.  Often these fall to the wayside and we fall back into our routines we know so well.  We are kicking the year off by asking some of our fitness staff what their 2013 resolutions are and if you keep reading you will see that even individuals in our industry have to recommit each year!

New Year… New You… Resolutions from NIFS Fitness Management:

PPohlmannPenny Pohlmann: Wellness Center Manager - Atlanta, GA

I noticed that our family’s TV/Internet usage on week nights had gotten out of control lately so we have resolved to limit it this year. We plan to watch no more than two hours of TV and spend no more than one hour in front of the computer on weeknights with limited time on weekends as well. We hope to spend the time we’d ordinarily be in front of the TV or computer reading, cleaning, and completing other odd jobs around the house that never seem to get done.  We also plan to hike all 76.4 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia before the end of the year!

KSwiftKimberlee Swift: Fitness Manager – Towson, MD

This year I have decided to go VEGAN! I have been a vegetarian for over 10 years, and feel that giving up all animal byproducts will only increase my health, wellness, and vitality. I also look at this change as my way to give back to the environment, and significantly decrease the impact my dietary choices have on our ecosystem.

 

H  NIFS Pictures blog pics CJohnson resized 600Callie Johnson: Wellness Program Manager - Indianapolis, IN

My resolution this year is to live more consistently in all aspects of my life!  I plan to do this by: eating cleaner, living simpler and being happy with less, being more appreciative of all around me, and being a better, more phenomenal, more genuine ME!

 

MBoyleMichael Boyle: Manager – St. Louis, MO

I tend to be overzealous when it comes to New Year’s resolutions and I actually come up with an entire list each year, but for now I’ll focus on a few of the ones that are important to me. First, I’d like to spend more time with God. Whether it’s through reading the Bible, volunteering or just being more giving, I want to spend more time in His presence. I’d also like to cook dinner for my wife at least once per week. As far as fitness is concerned, I’ve got an overall plan of action that culminates in a sub 1h45m half marathon. Here we go!

DCarterDonisha Carter: HFS - Indianapolis, IN

Run the Mini, Save money! My main goal this year is to compete and finish my first ever Mini Marathon. I’ve managed to complete step 1 (actually signing up for the Mini)! I’m a little nervous because I’ve never considered myself a “runner”, we’ll see how well this goes. Another resolution for me this year is to shop less and save more.  I’d really like to focus on paying off my credit card and student loan.

 

KThielKimmberly Thiel: Manager – Middletown, NY

My goal for 2013 is to increase my strength and endurance to a point where I can compete with the males on my team for the Spartan Races this summer. I got my butt kicked by these races last year and I won’t let it happen again. This year’s teams can count on me to be a coach and motivator in the pre-race season and the ‘white rabbit’ on race day! Bring it on boys!

 

JPearsonJenna Pearson: Wellness Center Manager - Albany, NY

Put my own oxygen mask on first! It wasn’t until I was flying home from spending Christmas and New Year’s in England that I set my New Year’s resolution.   As we were getting ready to take off, the stewardess said something I’ve heard hundreds of times before, but this time it meant something different.  I need to learn to put my own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs.  I get so consumed with making other people happy and taking care of everyone around me that I have literally worried myself sick!  It’s time to start taking better care of myself, making time to do the things that I want to do, because every day is a gift and sometimes you just need to be a little selfish.

 

 

AKistnerAdrienne Kistner:  Wellness Manager - Cincinnati OH

My biggest resolution for 2013 is to have a baby!  This little miracle baby was not suppose to be in the cards for me, so I am super excited to give birth to a baby boy at the end of March.  From a fitness standpoint, I am hoping to resume my Ironman training as soon as the doctor clears me and I plan on competing in my first half Ironman by the end of the year.  Nutritionally, I plan on cutting back on my wine-drinking habit.  I’m off to a good start, being pregnant, so I’m hoping to continue after the baby is born.  Finally, I have several projects around the house that are on my to-do list for 2013.  A bathroom renovation is currently in the works.

 

ETrenthamErin Trentham:  Wellness Center Manager - Columbus, GA

My first resolution is to cook more.  I know how to cook the basics (i.e. meat and veggies), but I really want to try and think outside the box and come up with some new dinners for my family.  I know my husband would love this!  I would also like to concentrate on my flexibility more (yes I know we are in the fitness industry).  I tend to neglect that aspect of my workouts. 

 

 

SPenceStephanie Pence: Assistant Manager - Mason, OH

Expand my Cooking Knowledge!! My New Year’s resolution is to try one new recipe a week.  I would like to expand my cooking abilities and add new healthy recipes to my cookbook.  I have never been a very good cook so I would like to take this year to become more comfortable in the kitchen.  Hopefully I won’t be eating too many burnt dinners!

 

KLedbetterKeith Ledbetter: Fitness Center Manager – Indianapolis, IN

Organize Everything… My New Year’s resolution is to get organized. My plan is to organize one room a month, for the first six months. The following six months go back and tweak and the system I put in place the first time around. Step one is the bedroom, starting with the closet. 

 

 

  

SDurham

Sara Durham: Wellness Center Manager – Indianapolis, IN

To cook more nutritious meals at home for my family rather than eating out. (So far so good)

 

 

 

RHuffmanRachel Huffman: HFS – Indianapolis, IN

Shift away from my “procrastinate now, don’t put it off” habits.  I’ve never been one to create a list of resolutions, because taking on a laundry list of changes all at once quickly becomes daunting.  This is simply because we try to conquer everything at once rather than taking baby steps toward a better direction.  In my attempt to continue in a “better direction”, this year I will focus on altering the choices that can be made on a conscious level, namely the ones that sound like this: “Hmm, I can do that later.”  This small change is so simple, yet so effective, because it taps into and balances my social life, organizational habits, the cleanliness of my home, and, subsequently, my work life.  I recently asked a friend to teach me his ways of keeping up with his social life and responsibilities all while having an adult job.  “Just do it,” he responded.  So I’m going to just do it.

 

Mhayhow

Mistie Hayhow: HFS - Indianapolis, IN

Pick up a new hobby. I received a sewing machine for christmas so my goal for the new year is to learn to sew. I think the gift was a hint from my family that they will be expecting some hand made gifts this year. So in 2013 I will test my patience and creative and hopefully have a new hobby to enjoy in my spare time!

 

 

We want to know... What resolutions do you plan to stick with in 2013?

  

 

Topics: Be inspired Aim High fitness corporate fitness managment fitness success healthy habits resolutions staying active

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday

C  Users kgootee Dropbox Images Worksite Fitness resized 600We don’t really know how other management companies do what they do for their clients; corporate fitness services aren’t easy to secret shop.  But we are great at what we do – we’ve got the satisfaction survey feedback and testimonials to back that up.  If your company works with NIFS in their corporate fitness center, there are a TON of services our staff provides to your employees at no extra cost.  Yes, that’s right.  We give a TON of services that are FREE to your members.  We take the “it costs too much” barrier for much of your workforce out of the equation up front because our primary interest is in helping your people live well. We don’t have shareholders to impress, and we don’t put up fancy bells and whistles that mask a very lean menu of complimentary services.  Nope – we’re not fancy-schmancy.  Instead we are a hard working, compassionate crew who are focused on serving your employees.

So enough babbling about us.  We’ve provided a FREE workout for you below along with a listing of some of our many complimentary services that are available to your employees when you provide NIFS as the staffing partner for your corporate fitness center.  There are a lot of great benefits we provide to the client as well – to find out more about those benefits, contact us.

This workout includes both strength exercises as well as cardio intervals to really kick up the intensity and burn more calories in a short amount of time.

  1. Body weight squats: 12-15 reps
  2. Push-ups (regular or on knees): 10-12 reps
  3. High knees: 30-45 sec.
  4. 1-arm dumbbell row: 12-15 reps per arm
  5. Alternating lunges: 20 reps (10 per leg)
  6. Mountain climbers: 30-45 sec.
  7. Shoulder press: 12-15 reps
  8. Overhead tricep extension: 12-15 reps
  9. Bicep curl: 12-15 reps

*Go back to #1 and repeat workout for a total of 2-3 sets, as time allows.

Finish with one round of each of the following for core:

  1. Stability ball crunch: 20 reps
  2. Russian twist: 20 reps (10 per side, alternating)
  3. Core plank: hold until fatigue
  4. Supermans: 20 reps

Want more workouts like this? Consider using NIFS to professionally staff your worksite wellness or fitness center. Here is a list of all the completely free services that NIFS’ staff members can offer to your employees:

  • Exercise Consultations- A NIFS health/fitness specialist will sit down with the employee, asking him/her specific questions relating to their currently level of activity, past experience with exercise, exercise preferences, and goals in order to make detailed recommendations.
  • Exercise Prescriptions- Upon completing a consultation, your employees will be able to receive a detailed workout plan from a NIFS health/fitness specialist. The employee will run through the workout at least once with a staff member to insure that he/she understands the workout, demonstrates proper form, and feels confident repeating the workout on their own for the following 6-12 weeks. Members may have repeated exercise prescriptions.
  • Individual Fitness Assessments (IFA)- Employees will have the opportunity to schedule a series of exercise tests to gauge their current level of fitness in five different categories: body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and flexibility. The NIFS health/fitness specialist will administer the tests accurately and give a thorough breakdown of the employees of their results, as well as show comparisons to national averages for their age/gender. These results prove to be valuable in helping the employee more clearly define their exercise goals.
  • Routine Blood Pressure Screenings- Any employee may utilize the NIFS staff to routinely check his/her blood pressure. The NIFS staff will keep a log of the readings that the employee can share with his/her family physician, which can assist in decisions of medication. When high blood pressure is identified, NIFS staff can make recommendations for exercise, diet and stress level to help lower those levels.
  • Educational Print Materials- Each month, NIFS staff will provide one newsletter, one John Journal and at least two bulletin boards to be posted throughout the worksite. These materials include a wide range of topics, and the content covers national health observances and events specific to that particular month.
  • Stretch Breaks- If you are responsible for hosting a long meeting for your employees, contact NIFS staff to present a “stretch break.” Stretch breaks are designed to last 5-10 minutes and will leave your employees more energized and tension-free, keeping them more alert and productive in the middle of lengthy meetings.
Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness program corporate fitness worksite wellness muscle toning NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment weight training

Top 10 Corporate Fitness Center Management RFP Questions

handshaking partners resized 600In our more than 20 years of managing clients' fitness centers, we’ve filled out our fair share of requests for proposals (RFPs). We’ve seen hundreds of questions, and we’ve written hundreds of pages. (It’s a lot of tree-killing, we know.)

I’ll be honest: we’d rather just get to know a client, talk about if and how we can meet their needs and exceed their expectations, and then build a business partnership from there. The whole RFP thing is, well, impersonal and frankly exhausting. That’s ironic considering this business is about relationships; helping people improve their health is about as personal as it gets.

Of course, I understand a company’s need to benchmark all candidates and set up some kind of apples-to-apples comparison among vendors. But there has to be a better way to do that “do we want to do business together?” dance.

Despite my griping, RFPs are indeed here to stay, and we’re not always on the back side of an RFP. Occasionally we get asked to outline some relevant RFP questions prior to the issuing of the request. After all the question-and-answer we’ve worked through, I thought I’d put these out there as our top 10 favorite questions to answer. Some of the questions make it on our top 10 because we feel confident with our answers. Other questions made it onto the list because it helped us improve our service to current clients. A few, and maybe you can spot them, made it to the list because of how downright ridiculous they are.

In no apparent order, here are NIFS's top 10 favorite RFP questions:

  1. Describe your candidate interview process. Describe the credentials of your fitness staff.
  2. Explain your philosophy on collaborating with other wellness vendors. Provide examples of when you have worked with other vendors to create well-rounded programs for your clients.
  3. What steps do you take to provide a safe fitness center for the members?
  4. How do you measure member satisfaction? Provide an example of a tool you use to measure satisfaction.
  5. Do you have any experience implementing fitness trails? Would you be able to support this initiative in our employee park?
  6. Please provide a summary of what you expect us (the client) to do to make the onsite fitness center successful.
  7. Explain your experience at designing and equipping corporate fitness centers for other clients.
  8. What services are provided to fitness center members free of charge? What services does your staff provide that are fee-based?
  9. Do you have any experience with bicycle loan programs? We would like to consider having bicycles available for checkout for employees to use for exercise or as transportation from one building to another. Describe how you can support this initiative.
  10. What is your philosophy on leasing versus purchasing equipment?

 Feel free to use these questions in your next RFP, or call me to discuss other options. If you have a ridiculous question to add to this list, please leave your comment below. We’re all ears!

If you’d like NIFS to fill out an RFP for fitness center management for your business, contact Bethany Garrity at bgarrity@nifs.org or 317-274-3432 x208. We’ll do it, but we’d rather spend time getting to know you, discussing your needs, and deciding whether the business partnership is mutually beneficial.

Topics: corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment Fitness Center RFP request for proposal