Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Member Speaks: Sherri Pryor made exercise a part of her life

members_speakSherri Pryor came to me in our corporate fitness center after starting this journey on her own.  She was determined to continue to make positive changes in her life.  She was definitely apprehensive about talking to me at first.  However, she has overcome her own insecurities to become a stronger and more confident version of herself than the woman that first came to me three years ago. There have been goals set, goals achieved, and goals missed, but through it all she has always kept a positive attitude.  This attitude has helped her become the best version of herself she can be.  Here is her story!

 

My Success: Making exercise a part of my life

Sherri_Pryor_-_member_speakI started this process in early 2012; I was committed more than I had ever been in my life to making changes, exercising more and improving my personal wellness. I was tired of feeling like I had no control over how I felt and looked. There are so many things in life that we truly can’t control. Making time for exercise and doing things to improve your overall health are not on that list. It was hard at first; but it got easier with time.

Two things were always in my head: 1) It’s hard! It takes time and effort and my plate was full with a family and a full-time job. I was convinced I couldn’t fit it in and still get everything else done, 2) I can’t stick to both exercising AND making better food choices. I had always been able to be successful at one or the other but only for a limited amount of time.

One step at a time worked for me… I started making better food choices. I lost a few pounds and started feeling better. Sixty days later, I started going to the gym. And finally…I asked for help. Working with a personal trainer made such a difference. I learned so much about how to maximize the time I spend there. I felt accountable because he was putting in the time to help me every week, but I did not feel pressured.

I’ve experienced one set-back along the way; but instead of giving in to the negative feelings that came with that I tapped into the positive feelings I had become familiar with to that point. I kept going to the gym. I kept hitting the salad bar at lunch, even if I had had a chocolate chip cookie the night before.

In the beginning, it was about losing weight more than anything. Today, I consider success making exercise part of my life; not just a means to an end, like losing weight or training for an event. Those things are awesome and have definitely played a part along the way for me. But it’s how it has improved the quality of my life. I would say the same for wellness. Success comes when the changes you make become part of your life/lifestyle. They stay with you.

I enjoy exercising now and I WANT it to be part of my life; the same with wellness in general. I want to feel healthy and energetic. And those things have come because of the changes I made starting in 2012.

Interested in helping your employees reach their goals in regard to living a healthier lifestyle.  Checkout our webinar series and learn how you could have a successful corporate fitness center.

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

Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

 

Topics: corporate fitness employee health and wellness NIFS member speak

NIFS: Wake up Feet; Why do your feet fall asleep when exercising?

woman tying shoeAre you new to running or have you been a runner for some time now? Either way you may be experiencing the typical aches and pains, such as muscle soreness or blisters, but have you experienced the numbness and tingling in your feet while running? It feels as though you have pins and needles in your feet or like they seem to have ‘fallen asleep’ from this weight-bearing activity. If so, don’t get your shorts in a bunch. You may reconsider a trip to the doctor, but it will be okay. Promise!

This strange and annoying sensation is common, but does seem to cause worry. This feeling is usually caused from pounding the pavement or treadmill, cramming the your foot into a narrow shoe, or crowding the foot by the gradual, but hardly noticeable swelling. What you are feeling is a compressed nerve often causes this feeling. The numbness can progress along the top or bottom of the foot and sometimes into the ankle. The specific site on the foot that is feeling numb is usually where there is a compressed nerve. The most common area affected is outside of the third toe and inside the fourth toe. This sensation is known as Morton’s neuroma. Through time, the nerve will slowly develop a thickened coat of scar tissue.

You can try a few simple actions to reduce the pressure in your foot. These actions include choosing a shoe with plenty of toe space, using a pad in the shoe, placed under the ball of your foot, allowing the spread of the bones apart. If this does not work, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to provide some relief. If this does not describe the numbness in your foot, continue reading! 

Compression of the nerves passing through the front of the ankle or top of the foot causes numbness on top of your foot. This is usually caused by over tightening the shoelaces. People with high arches are more susceptible to this issue. This can be resolved by loosening the shoelaces, using a modified lacing method, or applying padding under the shoe tongue may help reduce these symptoms.

Other options to consider include a period of rest or orthotic shoe inserts. If the numbness persists and is not relieved by any of these methods, it may indicate a medical condition and require you to seek your physician. Before scheduling an appointment with your physician you can always talk to a staff member in your corporate fitness center that may have helpful suggestions!

Check out this blog from one of our health coaches about her experience with finding the right shoe!

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Topics: exercise shoes employee health and wellness foot health

NIFS: Staying Healthy through the Holidays

mom and child handwashing resized 600With parties in full swing and family gatherings next week, the last thing you want to be is SICK!  Tis’ the season for sneezing and wheezing.  When you aren’t feeling 100% and you cough or sneeze, those germs float into the air and spread to the next person.  Take these steps to help prevent the sharing of germs so you can share gifts instead!

  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, if you can’t get a tissue in time cough into your elbow instead of your hands!

  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes where germs invade your system! 

  • Wash your hands often; your best option is with warm water and soap.  The most effective way to prevent the spread of germs is by washing your hands to kill those germs.

Hand washing 101... be smart about washing your hands.  Here are a few tips for when it’s important to be sure you are thoroughly scrubbing those hands between your fingers, backs of hands and your wrists!

Wash Hands Before:

Eating and preparing meals

When caring for an injured or sick person

Inserting or removing contact lenses

Wash Hands After:

Preparing food, especially raw meat

Changing diapers or using the bathroom

Taking care of animals

Handling garbage and cleaners

Use of Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer:

Choose those that contain 60% alcohol

Apply enough to cover hands completely

Rub hands together until dry

Have your family adopt these simple hand washing habits to help limit the transfer of bacteria and viruses to lessen your chances of being sick this holiday season!  

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Topics: nifs fitness management employee health and wellness health hand washing

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 Fitness Management's Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!!  Some of you have already been active by participating in a Turkey Trot or Drumstick Dash, others may be enjoying some morning coffee while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or on the road traveling to see family, and those extra special individuals are busy cooking today’s feast.  We all celebrate differently and have family traditions and things are thankful for.  We are thankful for our amazing staff and the hard work they put in year round.  We asked them to share what they are thankful for, what their favorite Thanksgiving dishes are, and about their family traditions.

Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday for the entire family to get together. When I married my husband at first we had to split Thanksgiving between the two families. After the first two years of doing this, my husband and I asked to hold the entire day’s events at our place and invite all family from both sides. We also invited family friends. This was turned into a wonderful tradition that allowed everyone to get together and not run from one place to another throughout the day. This leads to my thing I am most thankful for, which is my WHOLE family and that we do not have a division of "my family" or "your family."  -Cathy Hampe

We have some competitive people in the family, and they do a lot of “trash talking”.  We usually have some sort of dodge ball, kickball, or bball game….which is hilarious in itself because not all of us are athletic! I have one aunt that brings board games every year and no one ever wants to play, so that’s usually another funny episode because she’s trying to talk anyone and everyone into playing with her.  -Lisa Larkin

This probably started when we were teenagers, but my brothers and I would set a plastic trash can a certain distance from the throwing line. Then we would throw a football at the trash can to try to hit it. If we hit it, the trash can was moved farther away. If you missed, you were out. Very simple, but always a good time with my bro’s.   -Michael Boyle

My favorite part is introducing healthy options to my boyfriend’s family.  This is the 3rd year I will be cooking with his mom, it’s really fun to watch them devour the healthier options that they would have never imagined liking. I’m also thankful for the loving family I have supporting me, near and far.  –Sarah Johnson

My dad’s entire family started the family reunion type Thanksgiving back in the 1980’s with my grandfather having seven siblings. We used to rent out an old farmhouse and since have moved to various churches. The entire meal is a pot luck and having family coming from all over the world there is an amazing selection of food... Greek breads, German desserts, Asian salads, the best part of this meal is the homemade ice cream!  -Amy Briggs

My favorite part of the holiday is just getting to spend the day with my family.  It is so nice to be able to relax, enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for one other.  I am most thankful for my children, family, friends and health!  -Shawna Kendrick

I am thankful that a have the most amazing family, a wonderful job, my house, and my two awesome dogs!  After dinner, our entire family crowds into the living room to watch the Dallas Cowboys play football.  -Diana Price

My oldest son served in Iraq and missed Thanksgiving with our family for 4 years in a row.  Thanksgiving is so important to us because we feel so thankful that he is home and is able to spend Thanksgiving with us again! He has been home for the last 5 Thanksgivings, but I never forget the importance of being blessed when I look across the table and see him among us!  -Ruth Reyna

I enjoy waking up Thanksgiving morning to do a local 5k Turkey Trot with my family- no better way to start the day than with some exercise!  My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is pie, pie, and more pie. Did I mention pie?  -Stephanie Parsons

This isn't really a tradition, and it only happened last year. But my wife and I were trimming our turkey in one of those disposable tin foil turkey pans. Our dog was right under foot waiting for something to drop. After about 5 minutes we look down to see our dog's head soaking wet. Apparently the pan sprung a leak and the turkey grease was running off the counter right into our dog's mouth in what I can only imagine was pure bliss. Surprisingly not a drop touched the floor and I'm sure this goes down as one of the greatest days of our dog's life. So from now on, we'll probably give our dog some turkey grease with her food. (the turkey was good too!)  -Doug Trefun

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the dressing.  I only eat dressing once or twice a year and I ask my mom to make it.  She uses my grandmother’s recipe that I loved so much as a child.  -Matt Reeves

Our family tradition is getting in circle all holding hands telling what we are thankful for, toasting to them and then we do a gobble off. Whomever has the best turkey gobble gets to take the traveling turkey home for the year. For some reason the turkey has never made it to my home.  -Sheila Heavin

What is your favorite non-food related way you spend this holiday with your family? Every year we do a “Turkey Bowl”. My dad’s family gets together at the local college and plays flag football on the field. Last year we had over 50 people play from ages 4-65. We do a traditional tailgate in the parking lot after the game. It is a great way for us to get together before we go our separate ways to other relatives houses for thanksgiving dinner. It’s also a great way to be active before all the holiday treats.  -Mistie Hayhow

I’m thankful for our healthy girls and to not be pregnant and nauseous this Thanksgiving.  –Emily Davenport

My personal fav is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. But my grandmas pumpkin pie always has a strong family presence.  -Bethany Garrity

My family always participates in the Galloping Gobbler, which is a 4 mile race back in my hometown. My entire family dreads it but we all do it because it is something that my mother loves to do! She gets so excited every year, that she wakes us all up around 6 am to the Rocky Theme Song blaring!! It’s an interesting way to start Thanksgiving! -Margaret Allgeier

I am thankful for family.  -Christy Monday

My immediate family gets up at the crack of dawn and drives to Ohio where my great aunt and extended family gather for Thanksgiving lunch.  Afterwards, we take a walk around the farm to get in some activity after the big meal.  The rest of the visit is spent catching up with family, watching the Macy’s Day Parade and football.   -Melissa Cusick

 

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management employee health and wellness thanksgiving traditions

My Story... NIFS Members Speak - Lasalle Pinnock

My storyLasalle 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 Lasalle Pinnockfast 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.

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Topics: corporate wellness employee health and wellness corporate wellness staffing nifs fitness managment NIFS members speak