Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - 200 Squats

free workout fridayIn this fitness challenge we are going to tackle 200 squats! Squats are one of the best exercises you can perform to strengthen the quad and glute muscles and to tone and define the legs. Also, squats are easy to perform anywhere, as you only need your body weight! The website above will give you a 7-week training program, working up towards 200 squats. Here are some other exercises you can use to supplement the training program and really ramp up your leg strength and endurance.

  1. Leg press—This machine allows you to perform the same basic movement as a squat, but gives you a chance to increase the resistance beyond just your body weight, to really enhance the sheer strength in the leg. Build gradually on the weight, and never try to lift weight that would cause you to lose proper form (i.e. arching your back).
  2. Step-ups—Lifting the body from the ground up to a high step (16-18 inches) is a good way to increase muscular strength in the legs. If you perform several reps of a step-up, you will also get an added benefit of a cardio workout, as the heart rate rises! Start with just using body weight, then as weeks progress, hold dumbbells at your side as you perform the step-up.
  3. Lunges—This exercise works the quads and glutes in a similar way as squats, but lunges are generally more challenging. Perform alternating lunges until muscle fatigue in order to improve endurance.

Grab your co-workers and head down to your corporate fitness center and challenge each other to the 200 squat challenge.

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday squat challenge

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

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Push Up Challenge

free workout fridaySummer is the perfect time to take on a big fitness challenge! How about trying the famous 100 Push-ups challenge? This website will give you a training program to follow to start increasing your number of push-ups from your initial baseline. Even if you don’t make it to 100 after the 7-week program, you can still really increase the endurance in your muscles and double your push-up number! You can attempt this challenge on your toes, or modified, on your knees.

Aside from the push-ups that are built into the training program, here are some other strength exercises you can do to assist with a hefty goal of 100 push-ups:

  1. Chest press—This exercise trains the pectoral muscles, which are the main ones you use during a push-up. Work on lifting heavier weight and doing 8-10 reps to work on muscular strength, then also lifting lighter weight for 15-20 reps to work on muscular endurance.
  2. Shoulder press—Shoulders are a secondary muscle group that are working in performing a push-up. Work on increasing both the muscular strength and endurance with a mixture of high and low reps.
  3. Dips—Triceps are the assistor muscles to any chest exercise, like a push-up, so strengthening them is also important. Try dips, which are a body weight exercise similar to a push-up. Perform them until muscle fatigue.
  4. Plank—Since the body is held in a plank position for the majority of a push-up, it’s also important to strengthen the core. After many reps of push-ups, you may start to feel it in your abs just as much as your arms! In the plank, really stress keeping the hips in line with your body and lifting the belly button up to the spine. Hold until muscle fatigue.Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.


Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Interval Workout

free workout fridayWhen you are exercising on an elliptical or stationary bike, it’s easy to go on auto-pilot and stay at the same easy to intermediate level that your body is used to. Next time you find yourself of one of these machines, try adding in some interval training! Intervals will make the heart rate jump, then allow for periods of recovery where the heart rate will fall, thus providing better conditioning for the cardiovascular system and burning more calories than the slower, steady-state cardio.

With both bikes and ellipticals, there are 2 ways to increase the intensity at which you are working. You can ramp up the resistance, making your legs work harder to push each time, and raising the heart rate that way. Or, you can increase the speed at which you are pedaling, giving an immediate boost to the heart rate. Play around with both separately, always allowing for recovery time after each round of high intensity. Then, when you feel ready, try building up both the resistance and the speed for a real challenge!

When you first begin intervals, there should be more minutes of rest than minutes of hard work. Slowly build up to an even ratio of rest to work, then after a few weeks of interval training, try to have most of the minutes be comprised of higher intensity work with smaller rest periods interspersed.

Try this sample 20 minute interval workout for the bike or elliptical. Use an intensity scale of levels 1-5, with 1 being very light, and 5 being very challenging.

0:00-3:00: Warm-up

3:00-3:30: Increase speed to level 2

3:30-4:00: Recovery

4:00-4:30: Increase speed to level 3

4:30-5:00: Recovery

5:00-5:30: Increase speed to level 4

5:30-6:00: Recovery

6:00-6:30: Increase resistance to level 2

6:30-7:00: Recovery

7:00-7:30: Increase resistance to level 3

7:30-8:00: Recovery

8:00-8:30: Increase resistance to level 4

8:30-10:00: Recovery

10:00-10:30: Increase speed to level 5

10:30-12:00: Recovery

12:00-12:30: Increase resistance to level 5

12:30-14:00: Recovery

14:00-14:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 4

14:30-16:00: Recovery

16:00-16:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 4

16:30-18:00: Recovery

18:00-18:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 5

18:30-20:00: Cool-down

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Topics: employee health exercise nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday interval workout

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Elliptical Routine

free workout fridayAre you one of those people that only use the elliptical machine when told to lie off of exercise due to a lower body injury? Even though most studies have found that the treadmill may burn a few more calories, it’s still important to mix up your workouts. If you are a runner I’m sure you have heard about the importance of cross training your muscles to prevent injuries. The elliptical is a good way to cross train and can be just as challenging!

The elliptical mocks a running motion but does not have a high impact on the joints and spine. Most ellipticals are now made with a movable upper body too, so you get the upper and lower body moving together. I prefer the ones with the adjustable incline too, but not all come with that option. Moving forward and backward helps to target different muscles, and prevent boredom.

Have fun with the elliptical and try this workout! I have you playing around with it enough that time should fly by!!

Forward on the elliptical

  • 2 minutes – resistance level 4
  • 3 minutes – level 5 (if ramp can be adjusted, take it all the way down – similar to cross country skiing)
  • 3 minutes – level 8
  • 2 minutes – level 5 (if possible adjust the incline all the way up – similar to climbing stairs)
  • 3 minutes – level 10
  • 2 minutes – level 12

Backward on the elliptical

  • 3 minutes – level 8 (if possible adjust the incline at the half way mark)
  • 3 minutes – level 10 (if possible adjust the incline all the way down)
  • 2 minutes – level 12
  • 5 minutes – level 6 (if possible raise the incline all the way up)
  • 2 minutes – level 10




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

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

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

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: Summer Arms

describe the imageThe weather is warming up a little more each week, so that means it’s the season for swimsuits and tank tops! Even though many people exercise hard for the first half of the year to prepare for “swimsuit season,” many people tend to let their workouts take a vacation as well during the summer. Some easy ways to squeeze in exercise during the summer months are to take a walk outside, take the kids to a pool and play with them in the water, plan a vacation that involves activity such as hiking or canoeing, or walk or bike to your favorite restaurant instead of driving.

As you are getting those arms summer-ready, remember that when toning and shaping of muscles is the goal, strength exercises should be done in addition to a weekly cardio routine. Performing both cardio and strength exercises will help eliminate excess body fat while sculpting lean muscle. Here are some specific toning exercises for the shoulders, biceps and triceps that can be done anywhere. If you don’t own dumbbells at home or aren't able to make it to your corporate fitness center, you can use water bottles, cans or anything that can be easily held and is light-medium weight. Complete the following exercises striving for 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 sets.

1. Basic push-ups (on toes or knees)

2. Alternating lateral/frontal raise

3. Overhead tricep extension

4. Bicep curls

5. Shoulder press

6. Dips

Topics: exercise nifs fitness management muscle toning Free Workout Friday mixing workouts