Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Positive Thinking and How Attitude Affects Your Wellness Goals

ThinkstockPhotos-506910700.jpgThe second you tell yourself you can’t do something (without even trying), you are not even giving yourself a chance. It blocks you mentally from wanting to do something out of your comfort zone. When you have a negative thought of “I can’t” or “I won’t,” you aren’t even giving yourself the option to succeed at wellness or anything else.

Working Instead of Wishing

Of course, you can’t just “wish” for something to happen; you need to work for it as well. But telling yourself that you are capable gives you a push to believe in yourself and overcome any fears involved. Positive thinking and emotions broaden your horizons and open your mind to new options. They help you see the bigger picture, which in turn gives you multiple paths to reach your overall goal.

Positive Thinking Helps You Build Skills

Regardless of your situation, you can always make the most of what is given to you. You can improve the quality of your experiences even if you can’t change the situation. This is where positive thoughts come into play. Positive thinking is more than just being happy. This attitude adds value to your life by helping you build skills that move you forward. A negative emotion narrows your thought process and closes you off to other opportunities that surround you.  Consider how attitude affects your wellness goals, below are some ways to to switch your mindset.

How to Be More Positive

Focus on meditation, journaling, and enjoyment.

  • Meditation: Meditation quiets the mind and helps you focus on the task at hand. You will want to sit comfortably and focus on breathing smoothly and calmly. Imagine a path you are walking and make positive statements along the way. If a negative one pops into your mind, acknowledge it, correct it, and move on. Make sure to continue to focus on your breathing. This can also help relieve stress and anxiety, so it can be done on a daily basis, whether in the morning to start your day or at the end to relieve any tension.
  • Journaling: By writing out your thoughts, or journaling, you can make yourself accountable for your goals by putting it in print. This accountability makes the tasks a bit more real, and you may work harder to make it happen. You can list the steps you want to take to reach the end result and what roadblocks might get in the way, and then set dates for when you want to achieve these goals. Most importantly, you can write down positive statements like “I will” or “I can” to keep you motivated. You can also write down what you are thankful for in your life at that moment. At the end of each day, write down three things that went well, even if you had a rough day. This helps you focus on the good rather than the bad.
  • Enjoyment: Enjoyment is a bit different from meditation and journaling. This is about doing things that make you happy during the process of reaching your goals, but that might not be related to them. For example, your goal may be to work toward a promotion at work, but you really enjoy having time with your family. If you are working a few more hours during the week, make sure to schedule a fun activity, like going to the zoo, on the weekend and leave your work phone at home. If you don’t mix in quality time for enjoyment of what makes you happy, you will stop working toward your goals because you will feel it’s hurting you rather than helping you.

Be happy regardless of goal achievement. Just because you didn’t get chosen for a promotion or you missed a workout doesn’t mean your worth is lessened. It just means you are meant to do something different or that you need to change your plan of action and try something new. At the end of the day, you need to love where you are in life and desire to make improvements. So think positively and give yourself a chance.

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Topics: goals wellness attitude positive thinking

NIFS: Seven things we can learn from Olympic Athletes

cross country skiingOlympic athletes are viewed as superheroes and celebrities; strong, brave individuals at the peak of their career. The words unrealistic or unattainable may have just come into your thoughts; mine too.  After taking a step back and thinking about these superstars, there are many lessons we can learn from them. Years and years of preparation go into becoming an Olympic athlete and it is a full time job. What can we learn from these elite athletes, how can we train like them, how can they be role models to us on a wellness journey?  Think about the qualities an Olympian possesses and how you can translate these into your life.
  1. They have a purpose- LoLo Jones will make history as one of 10 athletes to compete in both the Winter and Summer games. Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history by becoming the first American team to win an Olympic medal in ice dancing. These athletes have a PURPOSE coming into the games; they want to make history. Purpose drives people to do great things. What is your purpose? A goal to work towards is crucial to succeeding.
  2. They don’t allow distractions- Coming out of retirement to compete in these games is women’s skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace. Not only is she racing down the icy chute at 80 mph, she is also juggling her busy life as a mother of two small children. Time, family, work and a personal life can all be distractions and excuses for not working toward your goals. We all have these “excuses”; it is up to us not to use them as an “excuse.” Olympians have these same outside pressures, but stay focused because they prioritize what is important to them. If health/fitness is a priority in your life, you will find time, and your “good excuse” will not be so “good” anymore.
  3. View food as fuel- Food is used for these athletes as a training tool. The food they eat before/after their workout dictates their performance each day, and how they react to their training. I know it can be hard to think of food in this way; our culture has trained us to think the exact opposite. Food is for enjoyment, even therapy, right? We have to face the facts whether we like it or not what we put into our bodies influences how we feel throughout the day. It stays with us much longer than it takes for us to consume it.
  4. Track their progress- The journey to the Olympics takes years and years. How do these athletes stay motivated and not lose sight of their goal? They track their progress. They know their purpose; have a plan, and a goal they are working towards. Progress pictures, exercise and diet logs, performing a fitness assessment or health screening may seem tedious at times, but trust me, you won’t regret them! How will you know how far you have come if you don’t remember where you started?
  5. Don’t let injury derail them- Training for hours each day and the nature of the winter Olympic sports being very dangerous, injuries are part of the process. Yes, this puts a setback in the athletes’ original training plans, but they do not let it become a barrier. These athletes work around their injury and become creative with their training. Hannah Kearney, two time Olympic gold medalist in moguls skiing, lacerated her liver, broke two ribs, and punctured a lung during training in 2012, won gold at the 2013 world championships and is one to watch at these Olympics. Injuries, physical limitations, or illness can feel like a setback in our fitness journey. Working with a variety of clients in corporate fitness, I have found and I think most fitness professionals would agree, there are few if ANY injuries that should prevent a person from not exercising. Don’t think of an injury as a setback, think of it as a challenge to be creative.
  6. They get professional help- If you are scratching your head after the last point, it’s ok; that’s why there are professionals in the health/fitness industry. Olympians may seem like experts in their sport, which is true, but they have a lot of help. This can be a hard one to swallow. As a fitness professional I have learned that I need help with what is my “expertise.”  Just as a physician needs their own physician, a personal trainer can benefit from having their own trainer. Olympians have a team of people helping them. If you are struggling to find balance or with one particular aspect of your well-being, ask a professional. The best of the best need help, and most importantly aren’t afraid to ask for it!
  7. Have passion- Love what you are doing! At age 37, Todd Lodwick is the first American athlete to participate in six Winter Games. He has made his sport a lifestyle. There are realistically times when these athletes feel overwhelmed or burnt out throughout their journey, but they don’t let this derail them because they have passion for what they do. These athletes have to love the sport to dedicate so much of their lives to it. Find activities and healthy habits that you enjoy that will be sustainable through your whole life. 

If you were an Olympic athlete what would be your sport?

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Topics: active living exercise and wellness goals success

Corporate Wellness: The Scale - Friend or Foe?

woman hitting scaleThe scale is the most common method to measure your weight loss goals, but is it the most accurate way to measure your success? It is a relevant method of assessment when tracking your weight loss, but the number on the scale doesn’t always reflect your achievements. Have you ever stepped off the scale feeling hopeless and discouraged because the number didn’t display how hard you have been working? This can be very frustrating. The good news is there are other, more effective ways to measure your wellness accomplishments that may leave you feeling more encouraged than the scale does.

You may ask yourself, “Well if I am working hard and feel like I’ve lost weight, why is it not showing on the scale?” Well, the human body is made up of 60% water. So depending on the day your body can be retaining more water than others causing your weight to fluctuate up to 10 pounds. Instead of letting the trickery of the scale prevent you from your future goals, let’s take a look at more accurate methods of measurement. As an employee, these alternative measurements are offered to you at your Corporate Wellness Center by your fitness management staff.

If the scale is staying stagnant, but you feel good, how could that be possible? It is probable that you are losing fat, but gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. The way to determine your body fat composition is by calculating your body fat percentage using a body fat caliper or bioelectrical impedance analyzer. One of the many benefits of corporate fitness is having access to these tools at your Wellness Center. 

Another method of measurement is body circumference. A pound of lean muscle takes up less mass than a pound of fat. So if you are gaining muscle, chances are you are losing inches on your body. If your jeans are fitting bigger around the waist and hips, does it really matter what the scale says? Ask your Wellness staff to measure your body circumferences so you can track your inches lost!

Personally, I think the best way to measure your wellness gains (pun intended) is through setting wellness goals. A wellness goal can be anything from quitting smoking to walking your dog without losing your breath. Tracking your wellness goals will allow you to see improvements, keeping you motivated to achieve your long term goals. When you focus on overall wellness goals rather than the number on the scale you will better yourself and your quality of life. Think about what is important to you.  Would you rather be able to walk up and down the stairs without feeling winded, or lose 2 pounds on the scale? It is more important to look at your overall wellness, rather than a fluctuating number on the scale. You will find yourself to be more satisfied, more empowered to keep working toward your wellness goals and a better quality of life. 

So ditch the scale and ask your Wellness Center staff how you can better measure your hard work and success!!

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Topics: corporate wellness weight loss fitness scale goals