Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

It's National Dog Day, Show Your Pet Some Healthy Love!

It’s National Dog Day!  There has been an outpouring of pet love on social media today.  Clearly people love their four legged friends.  Not only are dogs (and cats) wonderful companions, but owning a pet provides more than just sloppy kisses and mounds of fur.  It’s time to bring that relationship full circle and get active with your pet!  Here are just a few benefits of exercise in animals:Family_walk_ThinkstockPhotos-466988813

  • Helps reduce behavior problems such as chewing and excessive barking
  • Improves agility and keeps them limber
  • Reduces digestive problems
  • Improves sleep and decreases restlessness
  • Weight Management

Now that you see your pet’s health benefits from exercise just as your own.  Here are my top 5 things for you to consider and remember when you commit to get fit with your dog!

  1. Exercise Partner – Just like humans, dogs can also become obese.  Not only does walking your pet help to wear them out and burn off some energy, but it will help them maintain their weight as well as your own.  It might even end up that your dog pushes you more than you know.  Fido might keep you more accountable than your coworker does at your corporate fitness center.
  2. Establish a Smart Routine – Whatever type of activity you and your pet enjoy, fit it in at some point throughout the day. Start with short burst of exercise and work your way up.  Just as you should check with a physician prior to starting a workout regimen, your dog should have a check up to.  It’s important for you to know the needs of your dog. 
  3. Swimming – You may have felt a great workout from swimming, less impact on your joints and still gets your heart pumping.  The same goes for dogs.  Consider taking your dog for a swim, whether it’s to fetch a ball or just take a dip.  Larger dogs who may feel the impact of their weight will feel the same relief as you when they get in the water.
  4. Dog Park – Visit your local dog park and make some friends, both you and your pet.  Social wellness is just as important as your physical well-being.  We all know dogs need social interaction for behavior reasons, what about you?
  5. Hydrate – Water is just as important in animals as it is for you.  Make sure your pet is hydrated when increasing activity levels or when it’s hot outside.  What for signs of dehydration such as excessive panting, weakness, and confusion. 

Now get out and get moving after dinner and show your four legged pal some healthy love! 

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Topics: employee health benefits exercise at home healthy living

Free Workout Friday: Circuit Training for a Full Body Workout

c--users-kgootee-desktop-free-workout-friday-final-resized-600Circuit workouts are a great way to incorporate many exercises, using cardio, strength, or a combination of the two. Changing up stations throughout the workout will help increase your bouts of cardiovascular activity to increase your heart rate.  You can either choose to use time as an interval or a set number of repetitions. Don’t dilly dally and move quickly from one exercise to the next, only resting after each full round is complete.  Try for at least two rounds, if not three. 

 If you aren't much for timed workouts complete 10 reps at each stations and strive for three times around.

  • Bridge
  • Alternating lunge
  • Plank hop
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Pike
  • Superman
  • Fire hydrants
  • Leg raises

Check out this blog for another cardio circuit workout and subscribe to our blog below for more great content from NIFS Fitness Management.

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Topics: exercise at work exercise at home Free Workout Friday health and fitness

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday - Progressive Overload

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As much as a proper warm up and cool down and flexibility, cardiovascular, and strength training are essential to an effective workout regimen, so are progressive overload and periodization. Progressive overload ensures that the program continues to challenge you over long periods of time in order to meet your specified goal. It is important to match any increase in training with an increase in rest and boost strength prior to increasing the overall load. Periodization refers to the planned variation of a program over time. You can’t expect to continue to get results if you do the same workout over and over again. It can be really easy to change up your workout. For example, refer to this previous blog. Repeat the same strength exercises but in a different order and add 3 more repetitions for each one. To mix up your cardio routine, choose a piece of cardio equipment you haven’t used in a while. If you’re cramped for time, don’t worry! A rowing machine is a great way to get a strength and cardio workout at the same time.

Check out this site for an overview of Progressive Overload Training. Every peak (shown with a downward pointing arrow) symbolizes a training session or a workout. Directly after each workout, performance drops while your body recovers. Once it has fully recovered, you are in your peak performance time. Follow this with another difficult training session; performance drops again while your body recovers. As you can see in the graph, your performance increases over time using Progression Overload Training.  Keep it up and join us next month for Free Workout Fridays!

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Topics: exercise at home Free Workout Friday

NIFS Fitness Management: Free Workout Fridays Back in 2015

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It's 2015, a fresh start, a new you and what better way to start following our Free Workout Friday blog?  This year we have two new faces to keep you motivated and have scheduled out a year worth of workouts for our readers.  Let's start this first Friday off by meeting the faces behind our 2015 Free Workout Friday Blogs.

adamsMichelle Adams is a corporate fitness manager in Indianapolis.  She began working for NIFS in January 2013.  She really enjoys working in the corporate setting because she is able to get a good variety of being active with employees through teaching group fitness classes while also having the opportunity to design wellness and incentive programs.  Michelle encourages her members to take control of their own health and is very passionate about helping others with their health and wellness goals.  Michelle is currently certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist, a group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise, and holds specialty certifications in TurboKick and PiYo.

Stephanie Hackett is a health fitness specialist at a corporate client hackettlocation in Indianapolis.  She began with NIFS fitness management shortly after completing her internship with NIFS,  Stephanie loves the variety that comes with the corporate fitness setting.  She is able to teach classes, personal train employees, and implement health promotion programs.  Her favorite part of the job is making those special connections with members to help engage them and keep them coming back.  Stephanie is currently certified through the American Council on Exercise as a personal trainer, and is GEAR Indoor Cycling certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

Now that's you've met our staff behind FWF's, let's get started with Stephanie as she takes you through the components of a workout each week in January!

Dynamic Stretching and Warm Up

It is extremely important to give your body a proper warm up before starting a workout. For years, static stretching was the norm. Static stretching means holding a stretch in a challenging but comfortable position for generally 10 to 30 seconds at a time. Research has shown that dynamic stretching is better for you before a workout. Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that bring muscles through their range of motion without exceeding it. It helps promote blood flow through the muscles and to prepare the body to exercise. Start your warm up with a handful of basic movements targeting the whole body. As you become more experienced, use compound movements to warm up.

Basic: (demonstration video)

  • Arm circles
  • Marching
  • Squats
  • Lunges (front and side)
  • Trunk rotation
  • Arm raises (front and side)

Compound: (demonstration video)

  • Walking lunge with trunk rotation
  • Inch worm
  • Knee hug lunge
  • Side lunge with rotator cuff activation
  • Ankle grab toe touch
  • Arm swings across the chest

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Topics: exercise at home Free Workout Friday

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Band Workout with Partner

free workout fridayLooking for new things to do with your spouse/partner, teenage child, best friend, or even co-worker? A partner band workout is a great way to get some physical activity, work on team building skills, and have fun all in one! Partner band exercises require muscle control from both parties, so you have to pay close attention to the speed and location of your partner. This workout can be done anywhere; hotel room, on the beach, at home, in your office or conference room, in the garage/driveway, etc. All you need is a band to fit your resistance level.  So grab your partner and bands to try this workout!

  • Band rows
  • Chest press
  • One arm bicep curls
  • Tricep push backs
  • Core rotation
  • Lunges (alternating legs)
  • Outer thigh steps in combination with outer thigh tap outs

 

Only have the smaller round bands or have access to both types of bands? Try these other exercises you can do together.

  • Squat with outer thigh lifts
  • Lateral shoulder hold with outer thigh tap outs
  • Single leg squats with outer thigh tap outs
  • Push up arm tap outs
  • Glute lifts
  • Plank thigh tap outs
  • Lower back lifts

Remember to motivate your partner and hold each other accountable to do these exercises on a regular basis!

 

Topics: exercise at home Free Workout Friday fitness success Fitness Center exercies at your desk

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Sprint Workout

free workout fridayI woke up one morning and my obliques were really sore and tender to the touch. I couldn’t figure it out because I hadn’t taught or taken a core class the day before at my corporate wellness site. Then it hit me that the only thing different I had done was sprints. I hadn’t done sprints since track practice, which was a long time ago, but I had no idea how much I use my core! I loved the feeling of my obliques being that sore, so I decided to start incorporating more sprints into my workouts.

Don’t consider yourself a sprinter? That’s ok, I’m not either! Athletes may laugh at my speed but for me it’s a “sprint”. I push myself to run as fast as I can for short periods of time. First, let’s talk about form. Use your arms and core to help pick up the speed. Control your arms and keep them tucked close to your body, elbows at 90 degree angles. Keep your toes straight and lift your knees. Be sure to keep your head/eyes up and slightly lean your upper body forward. The faster you pump your arms, the faster your legs will go! Add some variety to your life and try this sprint workout. 

  • Warm up with a slow jog for 3-5 minutes
  • Pick it up for a faster run (75%) for 1 minute
  • Sprint (100%) for 45 seconds
  • Jog (60%) for 2 minutes
  • Sprint (100%) for 1 minute
  • Go back & forth with the jog for 2 minutes and sprint for 45 seconds or 1 minute at a time for 20-30 minutes.
  • You can also take breaks to add some pushups or planks in for 1 minute intervals.

This can be done anywhere….treadmill, in your neighborhood, on an actual track, or anywhere else that you have an open space and is a safe environment.

 

Topics: corporate wellness employee health exercise exercise at home Free Workout Friday

Fitness Benefits of Gardening and Lawn Work

senior gardeningGardening and lawn work are not only good for cultivating healthy and delicious food and beautiful landscaping, but they are great ways to stay active. Think about all the tools that are used for gardening and yard work: rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows, clippers, shovels, watering cans, and many more. The use of these tools requires the work of all major muscle groups, including your legs, arms, buttocks, stomach, neck, and back.

Treat Gardening Like a Workout

Like any workout, you should always begin with a warm-up. Start with light tasks and work your way up to the heavier, more strenuous activities. For example, start by walking around your lawn or garden, thinking about your plan of action for your project. This will give you a light warm-up, while stimulating your brain at the same time. Remember, make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing, including a hat and sunscreen.

After the warm-up, begin to gather all of your tools from the shed. You can now start digging, setting plants, carrying water, weeding, pruning, and mowing. All of these activities will increase your heart rate and tone your body. Make sure to take frequent water breaks so that you will not become dehydrated. Once you are done with your beautiful masterpiece, don’t forget to cool down. Take a slow walk around your lawn or garden and admire the hard work you have done.

Gardening Workout Reminders

There are a few important points to remember before and during your workout.

  • If you are new to gardening or your body is not used to strenuous activities, you may need to break your workout into smaller sessions.
  • When you lift heavy objects, always lift with your legs. If you need assistance with heavy objects, ask for help.

If You Don't Have a Yard but Still Want to Garden or Be Outdoors

If you do not have a large landscaping or gardening area, you can pot flowers or different kinds of herbs and vegetables for your porch or deck. You will still be working your muscles by adding dirt to the pots, digging holes for the plants, and also from the upkeep of weeding and watering the plants regularly.

If gardening is not an interest to you and you would like to get exercise outside, try walking around your neighborhood with a group of friends to admire other landscaping and gardens. You could even take a trash bag and clean up your neighborhood. You will be exercising and helping the environment at the same time! There are many ways to stay active, so make being healthy, fun!

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Topics: walking active aging exercise at home senior fitness physical activity

How to Establish a Balance Training Regimen

balance trainingThe number-one challenge that the aging population faces is balance because the number-one concern is falling!

In order to maintain balance, you must balance your day to include balance exercises! A wise person once said, “Practicing balance doesn’t make perfect; practicing balance makes permanent!” Therefore, include specific balance exercise daily, incorporate them into your exercise routine, provide a variety of balance exercises, and do different ones daily to challenge your stability.

Start with the three goals of achieving better balance:

Goal 1: Establish a Routine.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? You usually head to the bathroom, take a shower, brush your teeth, and so on. It’s a consistent routine. So is practicing balance! Find the time, whether it 's before or after exercising, after breakfast, or before bed. Schedule in a few balance exercises and make it part of your routine.

Goal 2: Think Before You Start.

Remember, all the exercises in the world will not do any good if you don’t follow these simple safety rules:

  • Wear proper shoes. Your ankles and feet need good support. No sandals or fancy shoes!
  • Utilize your strong muscles. Strengthen the muscles that support the body (especially the lower legs and ankles). So make sure your exercise routine includes strengthening these areas.
  • A mirror is helpful. Look at yourself when you attempt to balance, check your posture, and note what your limitations (such as knee replacements or back issues) permit.
  • Stand on good flooring. Do your exercises on stable and level ground. If one side is higher or more unsteady than the other, you will be the same.
  • Use stable support. Make sure that there is a stable chair or counter available. As you practice, you will need an occasional support when you feel unsteady. The main goal is to prevent falling.
  • Avoid fast movements and position changes. Slow down! Learn to turn and react with deliberate patience. Incorrect weight shifting is the number-one cause of falls. So when you go to move or turn, remember to be as cautious as possible. What’s the real hurry? Let your body catch up with your mind’s intent.

Goal 3: Practice Being Unsteady to Become Steadier.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Practicing exercises that force the body to feel unsteady actually helps the body become steadier. That being said, you should also continue to challenge the body. For example, if you’re capable of supporting yourself by raising both arms out and holding them for 10 seconds, next you can incorporate holding on with one hand and lifting one leg out to challenge yourself. Eventually and over time you can regain better balance.

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Topics: exercise exercise at home balance senior fitness fall prevention balance training

Corporate Fitness: FREE Workout Friday

free workout fridayAre you ready to make a change in your life? Have you been busy with a career or raising a family and put working out on the back burner? Most people’s activity level tends to significantly decrease in their 30s and 40s, and it only continues from there. It’s time to focus on you and spend just a few minutes each day doing something for yourself.

I understand this is easier said than done, so I’ve created a workout to get you started that can be done in your own home with no equipment required. All you need is an open space on the floor. This workout is designed to be challenging but not impossible. Do what you can and work your way up to going through it all, and eventually go through it twice!  View the video for a brief demonstration for the exercises in the workout below.

Beginner cardio circuit workout:

  • 1 minute straight leg kicks (travel as you do them if you have the space; otherwise do them stationary)
  • 1 minute high knees (travel if you have the space; otherwise do them stationary)
  • 1 minute walking or stationary (alternating legs) lunges
  • 1 minute recover/rest
  • 1 minute skater lunges
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds split jumps
  • 30 seconds froggers
  • 1 minute recover/rest
  • 30 seconds modified push-ups
  • 1 minute lateral hops (feet together)
  • 1 minute forward and back hops
  • 30 seconds modified push-ups
  • 30 seconds knee tucks
  • 1 minute recover/rest
  • 30 seconds center plank (modified if need be)
  • 30 seconds side plank (modified if need be) on each side
  • 30 seconds center plank (modified if need be)
  • 1 minute straight leg kicks (traveling or stationary)

This workout can be done with modifications or added intensity if you are up for the challenge! This is intended to be done two to three times a week in combination with other forms of physical activity and a healthy diet. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and stretch at the end of every workout.

Topics: corporate fitness exercise at home Free Workout Friday cardio staying active

Corporate Fitness: FREE Workout Friday

Free Workout FridayIt’s easy, when walking and talking with friends or coworkers, to follow their lead and get on the elevator. Time for a change? Try being the leader and lead them toward the stairs instead of the elevator. Not only will you get where you’re going faster by taking the stairs, but you will also burn more calories throughout the day.

February is "Take the Stairs" month, so try to break the habit of using elevators! You have the power to persuade others to take the stairs and become more active.

Not only is it good to take the stairs when you have the choice, but it’s also good to incorporate stairs into your workouts. If you have stairs in your house or at the gym, that is great! But not everyone has that option, so you can resort to a stair climber or stair stepper. Most gyms have a cardio machine that simulates going up stairs.

Incorporating stairs will help to improve your aerobic conditioning and lower-body strength. Try this indoor workout during the winter months and look around for a set of stairs you can use outdoors when it’s nice outside.

  • Jog in place for 3 minutes to warm up
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 3 minutes on the stair climber at a moderate intensity
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 squat hops
  • 5 minutes on the stair climber at a moderate intensity
  • Jump rope for 3 minutes
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 squat hops
  • 5 minutes on the stair climber at a moderate intensity
  • Jump rope for 3 minutes
  • 5 minutes on the stair climber at a moderate intensity
  • Walk a lap around the fitness center/house to cool down

Legs burning? That’s okay. Your lower body will thank you for trying something new and incorporating more stairs!

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness exercise at home Free Workout Friday cardio calories