Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Fitness Program Spotlight: Club PED

Club PedAt our client sites, we’ve been offering walking initiatives for years. After all, it’s kind of the original fitness opportunity at worksites, right? They’re super-simple, generally easy access for participants, and most people can participate. For better or worse, we’ve steered clear of linking the program with pedometers, but we do get a lot of really useful self-report data from participants for the program.

The Basics of Club PED

It’s a mileage-driven walking and running program, and with some of our clients, we run this initiative annually. It’s become such a staple in our program planning that associates ask about it, wanting to be sure they don’t miss the registration.

Participants self-select into their desired weekly mileage goal: 5 miles per week, 10 miles per week, or 15 miles per week. They can complete their mileage anywhere, including walking the halls at work, in the corporate fitness center, or on vacation at the beach! The goal is to maintain their chosen goal mileage each week for the duration of the program. We allow a few “off” weeks (you know how life gets in the way), so participants must maintain a minimum of their goal mileage for 8 of the 10 weeks of the program.

We’ve witnessed participants start out lacking confidence that they can finish 5 miles per week for 12 weeks, and by the time the next year rolls around, they have a 5K or 10K under their belts with an eye toward upping their Club PED mileage goal.

The Data from Club PED

As I mentioned, we’ve been running this program for years. But in the last two years, we have seen some important jumps in participation and completion rates.

In 2012 and 2013, we averaged 59 miles per participant, which means that a typical Club PED member walked 7.4 miles per week beyond his or her normal daily activity. This represents a 34% increase over the average miles per participant for the preceding three years. Another positive trend in the last two years is our finisher rate. Our staff saw an average of 44.6% of Club PED participants successfully meet their weekly mileage goal for the duration of the program. From 2009 to 2011, we achieved a completion rate of 30%.

I know our staff are really proud of how hard their members worked to meet or exceed their mileage goals during the most recent Club PED offering, and I’m excited about the positive improvements the staff have worked hard to achieve.

The Feedback from Club PED

We get positive feedback from this program each time we run it. I don’t know if it’s our staff, the program’s simplicity, the low threshold for entry, the easy-to-use online portal, or a combination of those factors. Regardless, we’re always honored by the unsolicited compliments we receive. Here are a few examples of the ways this simple initiative has helped to improve members’ lives:

Thank you so much for the program. Because of it, I bought a Fitbit and continue to wear it daily. Can’t say I move as much as when I’ve had jobs out of the house, but I am [more] aware of my steps and take more breaks to move around.

—Dana, Ohio

 

I have been faithful to my walking, getting 4 to 5 miles per week. This Club PED program really helps me focus on my health and on keeping my blood pressure down. Staying healthy is my life change.

—Latongi, Georgia

 

To learn more about Club PED or other programming that our corporate fitness management staff can bring to your worksite, contact me.

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness program corporate fitness walking employee health and fitness data

NIFS: How Happy is your Heart?

heart healthIt's mid-February and you started the year out strong, but have all of your resolutions already departed? Every year, the same two resolutions are shared amongst everyone – exercising and losing weight. Those who exercise regularly prior to New Year’s seem to stick with their same routine, while those who want to start to exercising come January 1st seem to have fallen off the wagon by February. February is month to be aware of your heart health, so I have provided you with some tips to help you stay on track as we enter into spring!

  1. Think: Why is your resolution not working? Do you want it bad enough? What’s your excuse? Is it a realistic resolution?
  2. Create SMART goals: Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. By using the SMART method you can are set for success.
  3. Exercise: The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or 150 minutes. Another option is 25 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity 3 days per week. The first excuse is not having enough time. Have you found yourself with 10 minutes to spare in the day? Do something to get your heart rate up! That something is better than nothing and can improve your quality of life.
  4. Diet: You can start by eating and drinking the necessary calories to maintain your weight. This is based on your age and physical activity. Be sure to not consume more calories you can burn off for that day. It is beneficial to eat a variety of nutritious foods from the all of the food groups. Your body requires specific nutrients to stay healthy. Limit the foods and beverages that are high in calories and low in nutrients, while also limiting your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. Be aware of your portion sizes and follow the American Heart Association’s recommendations.
  5. Control Your Stress: You can start by setting goals that are attainable. You could also try to positive self-talk or turning your negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Always look at the bright side of things. Other ways to cope with stress are relaxation and deep breathing exercises, engaging in physical activity, or doing something you enjoy.
  6. Motivation: Try and workout with a friend. You can hold each other accountable, as well as push each other through your workouts. It can also make it fun!

If you’re looking for help or motivation, reach out to your corporate wellness staff. Your overall wellness should be a priority, so what’s stopping you from getting back on track to make your heart happy and healthy?!

Topics: corporate wellness active aging heart health month heart healthy

Two Key Things Your Wellness Program May Be Missing

staff working with residentAt NIFS, we work in both corporate and senior living settings supporting client wellness strategies. After having done that work in diverse environments for various audiences over the last 25 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what really works when you’re trying to promote living well.

Below are two key elements your wellness program may be missing.

1: The People

We’ve hired hundreds of qualified wellness professionals to work with our many clients over the last two decades. And we’ve made some hiring mistakes. But we’ve learned from those situations and cultivated a more comprehensive interview and an effective onboarding process.

[Related Content: Tips for Hiring Your Own Fitness Professional]

Hire well and you’ll be well on your way to cultivating significant and meaningful opportunities for well-living for your employees or residents. If you don’t hire well for wellness, your strategy, programs, or initiatives are destined for mediocrity at best.

If you don’t know what skills and abilities you need for your wellness strategy, consider outsourcing your staffing to a partner. Let them be your expert so that you can spend your time and energy running your business.

2: The Program

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: wellness is not rocket science. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require strategic thinking and thoughtful planning. Wellness services should be part of a larger vision that is focused on creating engaging opportunities for well-living.

There is no shortage of valuable resources available for program ideas online. Join a few LinkedIn groups and you’ll soon begin to see engaging ideas and thoughtful discussion that can help take your programming to the next level. Or subscribe to our blog for digestable on-the-ground tips for wellness practitioners as well as high level strategy solutions for wellness leaders.

And let’s talk a little bit about data. How are you gathering it? What are you doing with the data you have? Burying your head in the sand on data is not an answer. I’ve written before on how to gather data that you can actually use in your wellness program. You really can’t afford to continue the work without making legitimate attempts to measure what you’re managing. Otherwise, how will you ever know if your efforts are making the desired impact?

Looking for Best Practice Ideas?

Since we’re all about sharing the love and getting best practices out there for you to run with, I am very excited to announce our upcoming Best Practice Series that will launch in February 2014. There are two tracks:

Why not jumpstart your creativity with a little something that's worked in a similar environment for a similar audience.  (Who doesn't want their job to be a little easier?!)  

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness program senior wellness programs senior fitness management corporate fitness managment corporate wellness staffing

Corporate Wellness: The Scale - Friend or Foe?

woman hitting scaleThe scale is the most common method to measure your weight loss goals, but is it the most accurate way to measure your success? It is a relevant method of assessment when tracking your weight loss, but the number on the scale doesn’t always reflect your achievements. Have you ever stepped off the scale feeling hopeless and discouraged because the number didn’t display how hard you have been working? This can be very frustrating. The good news is there are other, more effective ways to measure your wellness accomplishments that may leave you feeling more encouraged than the scale does.

You may ask yourself, “Well if I am working hard and feel like I’ve lost weight, why is it not showing on the scale?” Well, the human body is made up of 60% water. So depending on the day your body can be retaining more water than others causing your weight to fluctuate up to 10 pounds. Instead of letting the trickery of the scale prevent you from your future goals, let’s take a look at more accurate methods of measurement. As an employee, these alternative measurements are offered to you at your Corporate Wellness Center by your fitness management staff.

If the scale is staying stagnant, but you feel good, how could that be possible? It is probable that you are losing fat, but gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. The way to determine your body fat composition is by calculating your body fat percentage using a body fat caliper or bioelectrical impedance analyzer. One of the many benefits of corporate fitness is having access to these tools at your Wellness Center. 

Another method of measurement is body circumference. A pound of lean muscle takes up less mass than a pound of fat. So if you are gaining muscle, chances are you are losing inches on your body. If your jeans are fitting bigger around the waist and hips, does it really matter what the scale says? Ask your Wellness staff to measure your body circumferences so you can track your inches lost!

Personally, I think the best way to measure your wellness gains (pun intended) is through setting wellness goals. A wellness goal can be anything from quitting smoking to walking your dog without losing your breath. Tracking your wellness goals will allow you to see improvements, keeping you motivated to achieve your long term goals. When you focus on overall wellness goals rather than the number on the scale you will better yourself and your quality of life. Think about what is important to you.  Would you rather be able to walk up and down the stairs without feeling winded, or lose 2 pounds on the scale? It is more important to look at your overall wellness, rather than a fluctuating number on the scale. You will find yourself to be more satisfied, more empowered to keep working toward your wellness goals and a better quality of life. 

So ditch the scale and ask your Wellness Center staff how you can better measure your hard work and success!!

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: corporate wellness weight loss fitness scale goals

Top 5 Wellness Blogs from 2013 that you may have Missed

Top 5You’re busy, we publish at least a couple blogs a week, and there’s a good chance ours isn’t the only blog you read.  I get it – it’s tough to stay on top of all of that reading.  So I thought I’d help you get your “read more” resolution kicked off on the right foot by compiling a “best of” list for NIFS Corporate Fitness and Active Aging blog in 2013. 

Check out the list below and let us know if we missed one of your favs. 

Most Viewed Blog:  Employee Health and Nutrition:  The Pros and Cons of Organic Foods

We must have hit a hot topic on this one.  It’s a quick read covering basic the pros and cons of helping to improve your employee’s health by offering organic food options at work. 

Most Controversial Blog:  Corporate Wellness:  Is Obesity Really a Disease

In 2013, the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease.  We couldn’t help ourselves – we had to write about their declaration.  It has significant, as yet not dealt with, implications.  This blog series generated a lot of buzz in the social sphere.

Most Practical/Useful Blog:  3 Must-Dos During a Senior Living Fitness Center Renovation

This two part blog was written with much love and direct experience.  Melissa, one of NIFS managers who just lived through a fitness center renovation at the community where she works, puts forward some very practical advice on how to help both your fitness staff and your residents survive the dreaded change. 

Best Vlog Series:  Free Workout Fridays

In May, 2013, we launched a weekly Free Workout Friday series.  It’s been a great outlet for our creative staff to share a variety of simple workouts you can do with limited (or no) equipment.  The most popular video we posted was on how to use a circular resistance band for an effective workout.  Check out NIFS Corporate Fitness Youtube channel for more Free Workout Friday options.

Best “Tell It Like It Is” Blog:  Top Five Reasons Your Residents Don’t Engage in Wellness

I’m nothing if not direct.  In this blog, I outline the five most common reasons I see that residents don’t participate in wellness in your community.  If wellness has floundered in your organization and if you can’t seem to get staff or resident buy in, you might want to review these reasons to see if any of them ring true. 

Don't miss out in 2014, subscribe to our blog and receive our postings straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: corporate wellness active aging Best of 2013 blogs

NIFS Fitness Management: 12 Days of Wellness

December calendarThe holidays are in full swing and everyone is singing about jingling bells, and Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen,  Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blizten, and Rudolph of course.  Another reoccurring song or tradition that has become a part of our culture in various ways is the 12 Days of Christmas.  We see it on TV with 12 Days of Giveaways, our staff did 12 Days of Fitness via Instagram, and all over Facebook there have been 12 days of something or another where companies thank you for supporting them by offering contests throughout the 12 days. 

This got me thinking about how we jump on that wagon, easy enough… we are going to offer the 12 Days of Wellness.  So I set out to ask around the office, when do the 12 Days of Christmas occur?  Most people, including myself thought “around the 13th or 14th?”, 12 days out from Christmas.   Doh, I’ll just google it. Here I thought I’d engage people, because that’s what we are good at, engaging your residents in your senior living communities or your corporate wellness members and strike up a conversation.   I could have gotten the answer right away if I just Googled it. 

If you haven’t Googled it yourself, in general you would find that the 12 Days of Christmas actually begins on Christmas and carries on for 12 days ending on January 5.  If you need a more detailed explanation, I recommend you Google it for yourself as it does vary between beliefs.

Back to me jumping on the band wagon to celebrate 12 days…  Join us via our Facebook page or Twitter for the 12 Days of Wellness starting tomorrow.  As we head into the New Year and establish those dreadful resolutions, take into account more than just the typical exercise more, lose 10 pounds, eat better.  There are more aspects to your overall wellness that will help you lead a healthier life.  Subscribe to our blog, we have some new authors from our staff in 2014 along with some great programs to share with you in our NIFS Best Practices series where we will feature some of our most successful programs in both Corporate Fitness settings and Active Aging communities.

Enjoy the holiday season and our 12 Days of Wellness!

Subscribe to NIFS blog

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness active aging nifs fitness management senior living community 12 Days of Christmas 12 Days of Wellness

Corporate Wellness: Of the People, By the People, and For the People

What’s happening in corporate wellness programs right now could be characterized as something of a revolt. Well, revolt might be a little dramatic (don’t think Arab Spring), but perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that those who are the target of carrot/stick employee wellness strategies are pushing back.

They’re pushing back on what has been conventional wisdom for a while: that health-risk assessments and biometric screenings are central (dare I say foundational?) to a sound, data-driven corporate wellness initiative. Employees are pushing back on penalties for not playing, and they’re pushing back on programs that brand failure for anyone who doesn’t achieve arbitrarily selected thresholds for biometric markers. They’re growing intolerant of workplace cultural norms that scream hypocrisy in the face of company wellness policies.  

As someone involved in the world of corporate health, you’d think I would land squarely on the side of gathering the data and using it to capture ROI. But I don’t; it’s just not that black and white.

Why All the Numbers All of the Time?

What I’m seeing in the industry is that corporate wellness providers bow to the number-focus of the CFO or the CEO and communicate in ROI-speak that uses words and phrases like engagement and human capital. To the untrained eye, you’d think “engagement” and “human capital” would have something to do with…well, humans. But it turns out, most of the time they have more to do with participation quotas, biometric thresholds, and productivity benchmarks than with the actual people who need tools, resources, and support to make healthier choices.

Wellness vendors position and market themselves by spouting figures and “facts” (and I use that word loosely), quoting studies and experts (should I use that word loosely, too?). They put into print ridiculous statistics that have ridiculous consequences—all in the name of numbers, data, and ROI.

Raise Your Hand If You Launched a Career in Corporate Wellness to Calculate ROI.

Accountants are passionate about numbers. Fitness specialists are passionate about people. Seriously, most of us got into this business because we were passionate about forming relationships with people so that they would trust we had their best interest in mind when we suggested resources that would help them make healthier choices. As an industry, we’ve largely forgotten our roots, which grew from wanting to help people.

So who’s to blame? Maybe this isn’t the CEO’s fault; maybe it’s just the way of the world. Maybe it’s the almighty dollar we should be blaming. (I predict a comment that blames the government.) Who knows, maybe it’s my fault. I don’t know where the blame goes, but I don’t think it really matters at this point. We’ve simply swung the pendulum too far onto the numbers side of the equation and we forgot about the people.

You know, the people—the individuals who have complicated, busy, overwhelming and typically unhealthy lives. Like the 56-year-old woman with high blood pressure and back pain who is raising her grandchildren and who has no time to take care of herself. Or the single working parent who works by day, goes to school by night, and who is doing everything he can to ensure his daughter has a better life. He struggles to find time to grocery shop, not to mention cook a meal. And then there’s the hourly call center employee who feels hovered-over by her supervisor, who smokes (though she wants to quit but isn’t sure where to start), and who is pregnant with her first child.

These Employees Need Our Help.

They need a relationship with a wellness professional who cares more about the individual accomplishments of the few than the participation quota of the company. They need someone to stand up and say, “I care about you, and I am here to listen to you, to help you find the tools and resources you need. I’m here to help you celebrate your successes and pick you up when you falter on your path to better health.”

Because at the end of the day, if we don’t move the needle on the health of the individuals, then the corporate strategy means nothing. If the only behavior we incentivize is for people to go get their wellness forms signed so they can “get cash for doing it,” we’ve missed an opportunity.

what's wrong with wellness

Topics: corporate wellness employee wellness employee health and wellness ROI data collection corporate fitness centers; return on investement businesses demanding work schedule

NIFS Member Speaks: Ashley Shirley, Fit After Kids

NIFS members speak

Ashley Shirley, one of our corporate fitness members out of Ohio, shares her story and the benefits of utilizing the NIFS Fitness Management staff at her onsite corporate wellness center.  After having two kids she relies on the NIFS staff for accountability and to keep her going!  

"Eating healthy and being fit was a way of life for me before having 2 kids. It was just something I wanted to do for myself. When I got pregnant with my first child I gained 75 lbs, so I went from 155 to 230 in a 9 month period. It was extremely hard on my body. After my second child I was pretty much right back to where I was after my first one. I was miserable because I knew that it wasn’t the way my body was made to be. It’s hard to work out when you have two little ones at home, so having the wellness center here at work is an extreme blessing for me. I take advantage of it every day on my lunch hour. I love the fact that we have an option to take classes if we choose to and I also take advantage of Monday boot camp and will be starting Wednesday TRX classes. Another reason I keep coming back is because I have accountability through Adrienne. She is awesome! She gives us the workout of our lives every time we walk in the wellness center. Member's Speak - AShirleyEven if I’m not taking a class with her she is always there for encouragement and to help me become the best I can be by educating me. She pushes me personally to be better than I knew I could be, and she stretches me way past my comfort zone! For her position, that’s a compliment! There isn’t a class I take that I don’t wake up the next day feeling it. She is all around a sweet person and really makes it a comfortable atmosphere to workout in. Since my last child was born last October I have lost close to 60 lbs! She has been there every step of the way cheering me on! I’m not the only one who feels this way either, we sure do love her!"

*Weight loss claims or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Subscribe to our blog

 

Topics: corporate wellness employee health nifs fitness management employee health and fitness NIFS member speak testimonials

Trick or Treat? Corporate Wellness and Philanthropy

Now playing at NIFS-managed corporate fitness centers all over the country:

halloween operation gratitude image

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?

Topics: corporate wellness healthy workforce corporate fitness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Pumpkin Workout

free workout fridayBefore 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 TapsLay 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 pressWith 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!!  

Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.

Topics: corporate wellness employee health nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday pumpkin workout