Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Turkey Trot Training

free workout fridayThanksgiving is almost here! That means it’s time to sign up for your local Turkey Trot, Drumstick Dash or your own personal Thanksgiving Day 5K! Studies have proven that your metabolism increases for several hours post-workout, so make a priority to squeeze in some exercise and boost your body’s calorie burning abilities before the big feast. If you do happen to be training for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day, see below for a sample training program that starts on Monday, 11/11.  So today, we want you to go for a brisk walk because you need to pick up the pace on Monday!

Note: This an aggressive running plan, as Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. It is highly recommended that you have done some running prior to starting this program, and that you are comfortable running 1+ miles. If you are a beginner runner, make a goal of finishing the 5K through a combination of walking and running.  You can easily just walk through this schedule to help prepare for your event of choice.

11/11: Run 1 mile

11/13: Run 1.25 miles

11/15: Run 1.5 miles

11/18: Run 1.75 miles

11/20: Run 2 miles

11/22: Run 2.25 miles

11/25: Run 2.5 miles

11/27: Run 0.5-1 mile

11/28: Race day! Run 3.1 miles!

On days in between runs, focus on cross-training, for example weight-lifting or non-impact cardio (elliptical, biking, swimming, etc.) Allow for 1-2 days of rest each week.  Check out past Free Workout Friday videos for cross training options.

Happy turkey trotting and drumstick dashing!

Topics: employee health exercise active aging nifs fitness management fitness

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

Senior Fitness: Beat the Heat with Aquatic Exercise

water exerciseThe heat index is approaching 100 degrees, and its only 8am. You are sick to death of running on the treadmill at the gym and want another option to burn some calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance. Well, my friend, have you considered the pool? You don’t have to be a swimmer, have fancy equipment, or even be coordinated to get a great workout in the pool. Aquatic exercise is perfect for all ages and ability levels, due to the adaptability of the aquatic environment. In basic terms, you get out of it what you put into it. The more effort you give the more resistance the water provides, and this increases the difficulty level of your workout ten- fold! The workout below can be done in shallow water, or if you are more adventurous, grab a noodle or an aqua jogger belt and try this in the deep end!

Kimberlee's Water Routine

Jog (or run) forward -10 count

Stationary Jog -10 count

Jog (or run) backward -10 count

Stationary Jog -10 count

High Kick forward -10 count

Stationary High Kick -10 count

High Knee Jog forward -10 Count

Stationary High Knees -10 count

Cross Country Ski forward -10 Count

Stationary Cross Country Ski -10 Count

Now repeat the above exercises for a 15 count each, and then a 20 count each. You can repeat this circuit 2-3 times, and add arms to each exercise for an extra calorie burning boost!

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Topics: adapting to exercise active aging nifs fitness management CCRC fitness center fitness arthritis

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Band Workout

Free Workout FridayDo you feel that you have to use machines or dumbbells to get a good strength workout? Well, it’s time to think outside of the box and incorporate resistance bands into your workout. In the past, bands were seen for older adults because they may not make you sore or you don’t feel they are as intense. Bands are great to throw in your bag or car while traveling because they don’t take up much space and aren’t near as heavy to carry around.

One advantage to using bands is you have to use your muscles to control the band throughout the entire lift. Usually with dumbbells there is a part of the lift where you’re not using much muscle control. If it’s not burning your muscles at the end of a resistance band workout, then double up! That’s right; grab two thicker bands for added intensity.

When using bands, think slow and controlled movements! You need to control the band, don’t let the band control you. Adding in holds & pulses with your reps really helps to “feel the burn”. Try this band workout at least a couple times a month to mix up your strength workouts. Also, keep your eye out for a part two to this blog incorporating partner band exercises.

  • Band underneath both feet, wide squats with an outer thigh lift (alternating legs on the lift). 40 squats total, 20 outer thigh lifts on each side
  • Band underneath front foot, lunges (add intensity by bringing the band handles up by shoulders or higher). 20 on each leg
  • Band underneath both feet, outer thigh walks back & forth. 1 minute
  • Band underneath both feet for added intensity or under one foot for less intensity, bicep curls. 20 reps
  • Band underneath both feet, arms straight by sides, tricep pulses, push the back away from your body. 1 minute
  • Band underneath both feet; place both handles in front of your body, grabbing both handles with both hands, upright rows (elbows come up high than your wrist). 20 reps.
  • Repeat!

Fit tip - the thicker the band, the higher the resistance, so pick your poison by challenging yourself!

Topics: Free Workout Friday fitness corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment

Active Aging: Taking the Extra Step Toward Fitness

senior playing with a dogHow many times do you circle a parking lot looking for that perfect spot right in front of the door? It doesn’t matter if I am at the supermarket, a sporting event, a restaurant, or even the gym (sad, but true); I see people circling the lot like they’re in the Indy 500. As I get out of my car and walk to my destination, all I can do is ask myself, “Do they really think they are benefiting from parking in front of the door?”

My reasons for parking in the back of lots have changed over the years, but the end result hasn’t, and that is more steps walked equals more calories burned.

Can You Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day?

If you have ever been in a walking program or used a pedometer, there is a good chance you were advised to hit the 10,000-steps-per-day mark, but what does that mean? Is it attainable? Let’s break it down into numbers we deal with on a regular basis.

The average person’s stride length (the distance between successive points of contact of the same foot) is about 2.5 feet, so one step would be about 16 inches (assuming a normal walking pattern), which means you take about 4,000 steps to walk a mile. So if your goal is 10,000 steps per day, you will walk about 2 miles per day. If you consistently hit that 10,000-step mark, you are considered moderately active.

But what about the people who frequently take less than 5,000 steps per day? People in this group are considered sedentary. A drastic increase in steps can lead to many people quitting shortly after starting. People looking to increase their daily steps should look to add about 500 to 1,000 steps per day and increase at this rate every week until they hit their goal. So if you currently take 5,000 steps a day and you are increasing your steps by 1,000 per day per week, it will take you 5 weeks to hit your 10,000-step goal.

How to Walk More Steps

So where can you find these hidden steps, you ask? Here are a few activities you can adjust to add extra steps:

  • Parking farther back in parking lots: Parking an additional 20 spaces back equals about 200 steps round trip.
  • Getting up to change the channel: Changing channels 6 times per day equals about 60 steps total.
  • Walking to consult a coworker as opposed to calling them: Based on 2 round-trips of 60 feet equals about 200 steps.
  • Take the stairs: Taking the stairs causes more caloric expenditure than walking on a flat surface, and one flight equals about 15 steps.
  • Walk your pet: Walking around the block equals about 1,000 steps.

These are easy ways to add a few hundred steps to your day; pick and choose all, one, or something else. The goal is to go at your pace and to do what you like; anything else will just lead to a decline in program adherence until you ultimately quit. The steps you need are all around you, and if you look hard enough I guarantee you can find the time and energy to take an extra step.

Topics: employee health walking employee wellness fitness healthy habits staying active physical activity counting steps

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Cardio Circuit

free workout fridayCardiovascular exercise…..people either love it or hate it! I’m sure by now you’ve heard that cardio alone is not the answer to reaching your fitness goals. It is important to add a strength and flexibility component too. Although, cardio and physical activity in general have many health benefits, but they have even more when you “mix it up”!

Changing up your activities can help to get you over that plateau, improve your mood, prevent boredom, fight against high blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase your energy levels. You don’t always need to be on a cardio machine for an extended period of time to get a good cardio workout.

Try some of these cardio exercises in short intervals to get a great 30 minute workout, rest for about 10 seconds in between if need be. Check out the demonstration video links for each set and get to your corporate wellness center to try them out.

Set 1:

  • Squat Jacks – 30 seconds
  • Lateral Squat Hops – 30 seconds
  • Plank Hop Overs – 30 seconds
  • Traveling Burpies – 1 minute
  •  Rest – 1 minute

Set 2:

  • Hop Throughs – 30 seconds
  • Skater Lunges – 1 minute
  • Bottom Down Hops – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 1 minute

Set 3:

  • Twist Box Jumps – 30 seconds each side
  • Gliding Discs Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds
  • Gliding Discs Floor Jacks – 30 seconds
  • Repeat (work your way up to repeating 2 – 3 times for added intensity)

*Don’t have access to gliding discs? Use paper plates or towels.

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

Free Workout Friday: Indy 500 Endurance Workout

Free Workout FridayLadies and Gentlemen: Start your engines! As the whole town of Indianapolis gears up for the Indy 500, you can test out your endurance abilities with this 500 workout!

Start by completing the following exercises for the designated amounts of time. At the end, you will have completed 500 seconds of strength exercises! Choose weights that are light to moderately heavy, because you will be doing most of these exercises for a full minute.

  1. Basic squats: 60 seconds
  2. Rows: 60 seconds
  3. Alternating lunges: 60 seconds
  4. Chest press: 60 seconds
  5. Crunches: 60 seconds
  6. Alternating shoulder press: 60 seconds
  7. Hammer curls: 60 seconds
  8. Wall sit: 60 seconds
  9. Plank: 20 seconds

Finish with a 500-second (8 minutes, 20 seconds) run around the track! Take “pit stops” when you need to by walking for 30 seconds or stopping for a quick water break. 

After you’ve made it to the finish line of your workout, make sure to refuel with more water and a healthy snack, like a banana with peanut butter or whole wheat crackers and string cheese!

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Topics: exercise at work healthy workforce exercise Free Workout Friday fitness

Free Workout Friday: Partner Workout

Free Workout FridayIn celebration of National Employee Health and Fitness Month, be a healthy trendsetter in your company by inviting a co-worker to join you for a workout at your corporate fitness center! Not only will working in a group help keep you motivated, you can push each other to strive for a better workout.  Here are some ideas that are featured in the video below for partner exercises that are great for any level of fitness!

  1. Partner squat with med ball toss
  2. Partner sit-ups with med ball pass
  3. Partner plank w/ high five
  4. Partner band  core twist
  5. Partner band rows

Your workouts don't have to be stressful.  If you find you struggle with fitting exercise into your routine, take ten minutes at a time to go for a walk, stand up at your desk to stretch, perform exercises at your desk, anything that can help you FIT IT IN to your schedule. 

Stop reading... Get up and Move! 

Talk to your corporate fitness staff about Deskercise and how you can fit exercise into your routine from your desk!

 

 

Topics: exercise nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday fitness Fitness Center exercies at your desk

Free Workout Friday: Core Strength

Free Workout FridayDon’t forget about the core muscles! The core helps to protect organs and keeps the torso strong enough to connect the upper body with the lower body. A strong core helps with balance and stability in everyday activities. Core strength also helps with all activities and sports. It’s very important for athletes to have strong core muscles. Strengthening the core muscles can help to relieve lower back pain/problems and increase good posture.  Just like every other muscle group, our bodies need a good core workout on a regular basis. It doesn’t take long; you can get a full core workout in 15-20 minutes or less. I work at a corporate fitness center and teach multiple core classes a week. Try my workout below and let me know what you think! Form is very important, so view the video clip prior to starting for helpful tips.

  • On back, hands underneath you supporting the lower back, legs straight in the air, feet together, lower legs pushing the lower back into the mat. Use the stomach muscles to lift the legs back up. Perform the exercise slow and controlled. 15 leg raises, then hold the legs just off the floor and hold for 15 seconds. Next, 6 little circles one direction keeping feet together. 6 circles the other direction, then finish with a 15 second hold again.
  • Flip over to a center plank for 1 minute  – on elbows & toes, shoulders above elbows, weight pushed back towards feet, keep hips low, body in a straight line, abs pulled in tight without holding breath.
    • Modification can be done on knees instead of toes.
    • Turn to a side plank for 1 minute – shoulders above each other, bottom hip up off the mat, feet on top of each other, abs in tight without holding breath.
      • Modification can be done with bottom knee on the mat, still keeping bottom hip up high.
      • Flip over to the other side for 1 minute – form is important so see details above or video clip!
      • Back to a center plank (see video below) – lift one leg for 10 seconds, switch legs.
      • Lift one leg out to the side (see video below) for 10 seconds, switch legs.
      • Hold a perfect center plank for 30 seconds.
      • Back to a side plank, but this time lift the top leg up for 15 seconds, then one leg lift to one truck rotation (see video below) for 45 seconds.
      • Switch sides and repeat.
      • Back to a center plank hold for 30 seconds.
      • Relax on mat (on your stomach) for a few lower body exercises.
      • One arm up, other down by side on the mat, use the lower back to lift the chest up & down off the mat. 15 reps. Switch arms and repeat 15 reps.
        • Keep neck and shoulders relaxed, exhale when you lift, slow & controlled, always pause at the top to squeeze the lower back muscles. See video for a form check!
        • Both arms and legs up & down. 10 reps, then hold for 10 seconds.
        • Opposite arm & leg, lift and pause, then switch to the other arm & leg. 30 seconds.
        • One arm out to side, other arm down by side on the mat, lift and rotate towards the arm that is straight out. See video. 10 reps then switch arms & sides and repeat 10 reps.
        • Back up to a center plank hold for 30 seconds.
        • Flip over to your back for bicycles (see video for form and modification) for 30 seconds.
        • Not tired yet? Repeat the workout.

Not ready for this long of a core workout yet? It’s ok, start with a couple exercises and work your way up to completing it all.  If you like the FREE WORKOUT FRIDAY, subscribe to our blog!

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Topics: exercise nifs fitness management employee wellness Free Workout Friday fitness

Free Workout Friday: Upper Back Routine

Free Workout FridayDo you need to improve your posture? Sit at a desk all day and not realize that you slouch? A lot of people focus on the front of their bodies and forget to work the back side. Go to your corporate fitness center to start strengthening your upper back muscles which will help to pull your shoulders up & back resulting in better poster. Strengthening the upper back can also help with back pain. A stronger back will produce stronger shoulders and shoulder joint, resulting in less risk for injuries. Now that I’ve got you thinking about your posture, sit up straight! I’ve got your “back” so try this upper back workout for an improved quality of life!

*Very important tip when performing upper back exercises is to make sure the shoulders are rolled back and use the upper back by squeezing the shoulder blades together instead of pulling with the arms (biceps). Always focus on lifting with the back, and not holding your breath! Your muscles need oxygen to get stronger so think about taking deep breaths throughout all workouts.

Traditional lat pulldowns – either with a lat pulldown machine or try a dual cable machine to mix it up a little. 12-15 reps, 2 sets

Assisted pull ups – using the upper back, pull up (squeeze), slow & controlled lower the body still using the upper back. 10 reps, 2 sets

Dumbbell row – pick a challenging weight in each hand, palms facing each other, weights out in front of thighs, knees slightly bent, slight bend forward at the waist, pull elbows up high behind you and squeeze the shoulder blades while you pause, then release the weights slowly back to starting position. 12-15 reps, 2 sets (Very important – do not bend in the spine, just slightly at the waist!)

Push up position row – this works the upper back and core at the same time. While in a push up position up on the toes (knees on mat for modification), keep the hips in line with body not up, weight in each hand, alternating sides pull the elbow up high, squeezing the shoulder blade, and try not to rotate your body. Focus on using the upper back and core muscles during this advanced exercise. 10-12 reps each side, 2 sets

Summer will be here before we know it, which means spending time outdoors and hotter temperatures. Men will be working outside or spending time at the pool, which usually means having their shirts off. And women will be wearing dresses and also spending time outdoors. It’s time to focus on our backs for strength and a better appearance. How do you get ready for summer?

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Topics: employee health exercise Free Workout Friday fitness