Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Get Rid of Excuses and Find Time and Motivation to Exercise

ThinkstockPhotos-200554312-003.jpgWe have all made the excuse that we don’t have the time to exercise. If you have children, this excuse is even more likely. You have to get the kids ready in the morning, you work all day, you get off work, pick up the kids, and take them to their after-school activities. After that you’re finally getting home to cook dinner and relax with the family. Upon finishing dinner, it’s time to shower and go to bed. Now, I know that may feel like an exhausting day and that you have no time for yourself, but if you really look for it there is plenty of time to fit in some exercise.

Finding Small Ways for Staying Active 

Now is time to throw the excuses out the window. Exercising does not have to be a 30 or 60-minute workout. You can easily achieve your daily recommended exercise in small bouts of 10 minutes. One of the easiest ways you can achieve this is by parking in the back row at work rather than trying to drive around and find the closest spot possible. If you are one of those individuals, it’s time to switch up your routine.

Encouraging Exercise at Work

Leaders in the workforce can be great facilitators of physical activity. If you are a leader in your workplace, try making an effort to encourage your employees to move more. One great way to get your employees up and away from their desks is by having walking meetings.

Many individuals today are using activity trackers to help them stay on top of their movements. Friendly competitions within your workgroup are a great way to promote physical activity as well as boost company morale.

Finding Workout Motivation and Accountability

The key to becoming healthier is finding the physical activities that you enjoy doing most so that you will keep doing them. Using the buddy method is a great way to keep yourself accountable. If there are days you are feeling unmotivated to exercise, your friend, family member, or co-worker can be there to help encourage you along.  Set a schedule and stick to it.

Get the Help You Need to Stay Healthy

The biggest thing to take away is that there are endless ways that you can achieve your health and exercise goals. If you are struggling to find a way to fit exercise into your day, seek the help you need. Whether it’s downloading an app, getting a health coach, or simply learning which physical activities you need to be doing, the more you can get up and move, the better health benefits you will gain. So stop using those old, worn-out excuses and become a healthier you today!

Need tips for adding exercise to your worksite?  Click below to download our whitepaper for tips from NIFS. 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: exercise at work exercise motivation staying active accountability

Corporate Fitness: Should You Pay Employees for Workouts?

 

ThinkstockPhotos-468984741.jpgThere’s a lot of misinformation out there on what is and is not good for you. The science changes all the time; unfortunately, changes in health information can sometimes depend on who’s funding the provider. So it can be hard to trust the latest press release “proving” the next best strategy for preventing disease and living longer. Despite the confusing messaging, there are a few constants on health you can count on:

  • Tobacco use is bad for you.
  • Moving your body is good for you.

I don’t want to get into a discussion of which is more important to employee health; there are too many complicating and personal factors to establish such a case. Instead, I’ll focus on physical activity because I think it represents a substantial area of opportunity for employers when considering options that fit into the “doing wellness for (or even with) employees” mantra.

Plenty of employers offer some kind of option for exercise at work, whether that be with group exercise classes onsite, workouts in a full-blown corporate fitness center, or walking trails on the property. In most cases those amenities/offerings are a use-at-your-own-risk proposition. There’s very little leadership support or communication about how to get involved, so only those employees who feel most strongly about pursuing regular exercise actually have the motivation to engage. And then employers wonder why participation is so low.

So here we are at this weird crossroads where employers try a few fitness-based options at the worksite for employees, very few employees enjoy the benefits of those programs, and employers are frustrated. What’s a company to do?

To be fair, we can’t expect everyone to want to exercise. Employers should have realistic expectations about how many people they can draw into these offerings. If you’re looking for ways to tip the scales that make a work-sponsored group fitness class look a little more attractive to your workforce, consider the idea of compensated workout time. Here’s why this is worth your attention:

  • It’s no secret that time, or lack of it, is a primary barrier for your employees participating in regular physical activity. Couple the lack of time with the idea that your employees spend about nine hours per day at the office, and you have yourself a significant potential audience.
  • However, if the workplace culture or departmental mantra is about working harder, producing more, and keeping butts in the seats, then the convenience of a workplace fitness option is a moot point.
  • Alternatively, if we can pay them for 45 minutes of working out three days per week, now we might be onto something that sends a true message about how important the employer feels it is for employees to make healthy choices. And before you read this and exclaim, “We already do that…it’s called a lunch break,” what I’m advocating is 45 minutes beyond the lunch break. For an employee making $25/hour who works out, walks, or takes a group exercise class three days per week during this compensated time, it costs the company about $2,800 a year ($25/hr x 75% of an hour x 3d/wk x 50wk/yr).

Maybe you can’t afford compensated exercise time for your employees. But before you discount it outright, do what my mom always encourages me to do with a big decision. Make a pro/con list. Consider all the health benefits of engaging in regular physical activity compared to the lost work time on your bottom line. Weigh the positive of increased employee loyalty and creativity against the straight dollar cost. Understand the value of really supporting your employees’ quest for better health versus only paying it lip service. If the tick marks in your pro column outweigh those in the con column, you just might have your answer.

Need tips to get your employees moving more?  Download our whitepaper to help you get started with adding exercise to your worksite wellness program.

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Topics: exercise at work employee health group exercise corporate fitness motivation incentives workouts

Make Time for Micro Breaks from Sitting in the Office

Everyone has been told that a sedentary work environment will put you at an increased risk for a variety of health and ergonomic issues. However, it may not always be possible for you to leave your desk and go for an extended walk a few times a day due to the nature of your job. If this sounds like you or the majority of your employees, it’s time to introduce micro breaks to your workday routine.

A micro break is a short break that allows the mind and body to reset. It is important to understand that micro breaks do not replace your daily workout or having a workstation that has been set up to meet your ergonomic needs, but they should be incorporated if you have a desk job. There are more opportunities than you probably realize to take advantage of a time to squeeze a micro break into your day. 

Just Stand

You may be surprised by how often you can actually do your work from a standing position. A few ways that you can incorporate standing without disrupting your work are to take phone calls or read over documents. If you have the opportunity to have a sit-to-stand desk, you should definitely request to have one put into place. Standing all day is not good either, so being able to switch back and forth between sitting and standing is ideal in a desk environment. Make it a goal to stand up once every 30 minutes, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.

Yoga at workLook Away from the Computer Screen

Yes, computer vision syndrome is a real thing. It is critical to exercise your eyes if you stare at a screen all day. Techniques such as palming your eyes, moving your eyes in various directions, and taking time out to focus on items at varying distances are a few of the techniques that you can incorporate to give your eyes a beneficial rest from screen time. If your eyes have been locked to your screen for more than two hours, you are past due for one of these breaks.

Deskersize

If you perform repetitive actions (including sitting and typing) throughout your day, you need to be completing appropriate exercises that counteract your repetitive movement to prevent overuse injuries. The National Institutes of Health provides a great resource of exercises to meet your specific needs. If you feel a brain block coming on, take a few minutes to do a few exercises and you will likely find your brain block is gone when you return to your work.

Make an Effort to Move Often

Send your print material to a printer across the floor, walk to an co-worker’s desk instead of sending them an email, fill your water bottle on another floor, and do anything that you can think of to have a legitimate reason to get up and sneak in a few extra steps around the office throughout the day. You will feel less stressed and your joints will appreciate the movement, even if you can only walk for a few minutes.

Next time you find yourself stuck at your desk for too long, try these tips for increased workplace wellness!

Interested in offering more wellness opportunities for your employees?  Download our whitepaper, Cure for the Sitting Disease to help get your workforce moving.  Click Below!

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Topics: corporate wellness exercise at work sitting

Free Workout Friday: Boost Your Heart Rate With A Cardio Circuit

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Boost your cardio and push yourself with this workout. Remember to take short rests between each exercise. Longer rests come at the end of the round! Your heart is a muscle so you want to challenge it when you work out. Alternating between bouts of high intensity cardio exercises and rest gives your heart a tough workout.  Music with higher beats per minute (120+) helps me get through tough cardio workouts. I focus on the beat of the music instead of how many reps I do. This workout doesn’t require any equipment. That means no excuses! You can do this circuit just about anywhere: your home, gym, or a park.

Work 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, repeat circuit 1 time

  • Jumping jacks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tuck jumps
  • High knees
  • Run in place
  • Star jumps
  • Butt kicks
  • Burpees

Do you find it hard to fit exercise in to a demanding workday?  Read this blog post for tips on how you can make exercise a part of your day!  For more blogs like this one, subscribe to our blog to receive them directly to your inbox.  

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Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness Free Workout Friday fit it in

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

Free Workout Friday: Use your own body weight

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Looking for a relatively simple workout? Try a workout that only uses your body weight as the resistance. It’s nice because you don’t need to know how to lift heavy weights to begin. You will let gravity be your friend (or foe, it will seem like during the workout). You can use your bodyweight to do any exercise that will work most of the major muscle groups. Actually, it’s recommended to start with just your body weight until you get the mechanics of the exercise then to add weights as you progress. The great part about body weight workouts is you don’t need a gym to do the workout; just yourself and adequate space. Take a look below for a fun, basic, bodyweight workout:

Instructions: Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps for the following exercises. You can rest for about 30 seconds in between each set you complete.

Workout

  1. Squat
  2. Mountain Climbers or Knee Tucks (slower version of Mt. Climbers)*
  3. Alternating Reverse Lunges*
  4. Push-ups
  5. High Knees*
  6. Tricep Dips
  7. Glute Bridge
  8. Superman

Don’t forget to add your favorite music to your workout! It makes it more fun. Check out this previous blog post about using music to move more!

*=R and L leg count as 1 rep

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Topics: exercise at work Free Workout Friday

Top 6 Reasons to Join Your Corporate Fitness Center

group fitnessNeed a convenient, cost-effective way to get in shape and get healthy?

Many corporations have gotten on board with the idea of an onsite fitness center and have been reaping the benefits of healthier, happier employees. If your worksite has an onsite fitness center, consider the following reasons why you should join.

1. Price

Corporate fitness centers are usually much less expensive than commercial gyms (or even free!). Who doesn’t want to save some extra cash?

2. Convenience

Think you don’t have time to exercise? When you use your onsite fitness center, you can get in a workout any time of day, between meetings, before or after work, during lunch…the excuse of “I have no time” is truly taken away from you. Also, many corporate fitness centers are open 24/7.

3. Motivation

Many corporate fitness centers offer incentives and fun programs throughout the year to help keep you motivated.

4. Group Fitness Classes

Onsite group fitness classes aren’t only convenient, but are usually offered at a cost that is competitive to group fitness classes offered at your local gym, or even FREE! Classes are also an amazing way to meet new people and develop some great friendships at work.

5. Mental Health

Exercise has been proven to help relieve stress and inspire positive moods. If you ever have a stressful day or an extra long meeting, come down to your fitness center for a few minutes of stretching or a walk on the treadmill to let yourself relax before tackling your next project.

6. Environment

Generally, corporate fitness centers have considerably fewer members than a commercial gym. This way, you won’t have to fight for machines or space.

No more excuses! Try out the most convenient fitness center available to you, the one at your workplace!

NIFS Corporate  Fitness Services

Topics: exercise at work motivation corporate fitness centers employee health and fitness brain health

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Take the Stairs

free workout fridayStairs are a great way to take your same old cardio workout to the next level.  Changing it up by utilizing the stairs might have your muscles twitching like never before!  Take a look at your workout routine, you possibly neglect your lower body more than you think.  Many people consider their cardio activities their lower body workout because they are walking, running, biking, etc.  Exchange your regular cardiovascular exercise for a stair workout and not only will your heart be pumping, your muscles will be telling you that stair workout gave them a run for their money!

Using the incline of the steps helps to improve your balance, coordination and trigger those smaller muscles you generally don’t target with regular machine workouts.  It’s always important to kick off your workout with a warm up to wake those muscles up and get them ready for your workout.  Now print this blog, and head out of your corporate worksite and find some stairs!

Basic Step – use this as a breather between exercises, one foot on each step climbing the flight of stairs.  When you get to the top, turn around and walk or jog back down the stairs. 

Side Squat – turn and face the right, keeping your toes forward place your left foot on the second step.  Lower into a squat maintaining proper form keeping your hips back and knees in line with your ankles.  Push through your left foot and straighten your leg allowing your right foot to come off the ground, slowly lower and repeat for 12-15 repetitions then perform the same with the other leg.

Mountain Climbers – you’ve done this dreaded exercise in your corporate fitness center group exercise class, so let’s throw them in here!  Get in a plank position with hands placed on the second step shoulder width apart.  Just as you would do if on the floor, draw knees toward your chest alternating right and left for 30 – 45 seconds.  Remember, you control the exercise intensity!  Push yourself to go harder.

Lunge – Think of this as skipping steps as you walk up the flight of stairs.  Focus on the movement rather than just running up the stairs.  It will be a small movement due to the incline of the steps, but lower into a lunge and use that front leg to drive your body up.  Be sure to alternate between legs to get an even workout.  Once you reach the top, turn around and walk or jog down the stairs.

Dips – sit on the second step and place hands on either side of you on the step.  Keeping your knees bent slide yourself off the step with feet hip width apart.   Bend your arms until your upper arm is parallel to the floor or you can’t lower any further and return to the starting position.  Complete 12-15 repetitions.

Get another boost and basic step up the stairs and repeat each exercise for 2-3 rounds, push yourself and challenge your intensity level!  

 

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Topics: exercise at work employee health Free Workout Friday fitness stair workout

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Plyometrics

free workout fridayA plyometric exercise is one that includes a stretch of the muscle, followed by an explosive movement, working the power aspect of the muscle. For example, in a jump squat, you will bend the knees and  lower down towards the ground, stretching the quads and glutes, then jump straight up into the air in an explosive movement, landing back into the deep squat.

Plyometrics are found in many intense workout formats like boot camps and popular DVD series like Insanity. When plyometrics are performed over the course of 30-60 seconds, not only are the muscles being challenged, but it will become a fairly intense cardio workout as well!

Benefits of plyometrics include:

  • Higher heart rate, leading to more calorie burn
  • Increased muscle strength and power
  • Specialized training for athletes who use techniques like jumping

Here are four plyometric exercises to add into your workouts:

  1. Jump Squat
  2. Box jumps
  3. BOSU plyometric push-ups
  4. Jumping lunges

Need more ideas for changing up your routine?  Subscribe to our blog, or visit our YouTube channel for exercise demos created by our NIFS Fitness Management staff.

 

Topics: exercise at work Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness nifs fitness managment

Yoga in the Workplace for Employee Health and Productivity

workplace yogaTwenty years ago, would you have ever thought you would be checking out the break-room bulletin board and coming across a yoga class being offered in the office or onsite gym? Chances are it would have been highly unlikely, not to mention overlooked because it did not have the buzz or trendy reputation it does now.

Hopefully, most of us now know that the benefits of yoga practice in a chair, studio, or corporate fitness center go beyond meditation, headstands, flameless candles, thin sticky mats, and soothing music. I have seen yoga become an increasingly positive influence in workplaces all over the country with a melting pot of populations. You might even see children and pets taking advantage of the yoga inspiration.

The interest in increasing productivity and improving employee health has weighed heavily on corporate America. Long hours at a desk, aching back, neck pain, burnout, and emotional discontent are all repetitive stressors corporate employees face each day. Did you know that this, in turn, amounts to less productivity? What is your company doing about it?

Think about this, as an employee: What would you do with an extra 15-minute mandatory stress break built into your day?

Offering free stress-relief options such as yoga is a simple and convenient way to help employees find stress relief in the office. True, it’s up to each individual to start their practice, but I promise once you start you won’t stop. The great thing about yoga at work is that it’s a time to take a break from your desk and relieve stress. It’s convenient, and it feels good!

Chair yoga is becoming popular among executives as a boardroom break; this is a great alternative to unit meetings or exercising at your own desk. That’s the greatest benefit of yoga: it can be done anywhere and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time!

Yoga won’t cure all, nor will it be chosen by all. But it sure has shown to be a great addition to corporate wellness offerings. Many of the yogis tell me they love doing yoga at work because they can practice in a noncompetitive and nonjudgmental atmosphere and experience it with coworkers. Many of the participants enjoy the multiple benefits. After final relaxation, it helps guide them to a calmer state of being as they return to work. It also helps improve core stability and balance, and helps increase total body strength. We try to make sure all energy is left at the door. Each person is focused on their own practice of the day.

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Topics: corporate wellness exercise at work employee health stress productivity yoga stress relief