Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Increasing Participation in Senior Living Fitness Programs (Part 2)

FitnessFreezeLogoIn part 1 of this blog, I wrote about a program we offered that helped us address an area of opportunity for resident participation in our senior living fitness programs. One of the core messages from that blog was how important tracking participation data is, over time, for sustaining a truly successful program. There is so much more to a robust fitness program in senior living than hosting classes, offering assessments, and teaching residents how to use the equipment.

Part 2: Kickstart or Fine-Tune Your Fitness Program

Tracking participation data in your fitness services is crucial for any new or long-established program. In new programs, you need to simply start by keeping an eye on growth in membership and making sure participation steadily increases as you launch the offerings. In this blog, I’ll touch on some key numbers and trends you should be watching. 

An established fitness program you might consider “good” can become GREAT by tracking and strategically using participation data for continuous improvement. There is not an end date at which you cut off these practices no matter how old your program is. In addition to talking about data practices for new fitness programs, I’ll offer tips below from NIFS data trends over the past couple of years to show how you can use these practices to fine-tune an established fitness program.

FFparticipantKickstart Your New Community Fitness Program

New members: Part 1 of this series covered NIFS Fitness Freeze and how the membership drive component recruited new participants to join the fitness center. NIFS has a new client in Lakewood, New Jersey, that began staffing with us in August 2014. Since our launch, we witnessed an initial surge in residents enrolling, and then the normal steady trickle of participants in the months thereafter. And then we ran the Fitness Freeze and it generated a record-setting surge in new members in a month to finish off the year. If you are tracking your new members from month to month, you can keep an eye on when membership or participation starts to trickle off or plateau and run a targeted campaign to rebuild your momentum. 

Participation frequency: We have another client in Mystic, Connecticut, that launched with us in May 2014. In addition to tracking their steadily increasing membership rates, we’re also following the percentage of residents who visit the fitness center 8+ times in a month. For this relatively new client, that percentage is steadily climbing as the membership percentage increases. This tells us that more residents are joining, and more importantly, they are adopting a consistent routine once they become members. 

Fine-Tune Your Established Fitness Program

Group fitness participation: We have a client in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that has had a fitness program and staffing since they opened their doors in 2004. NIFS started managing their fitness program in October 2011. Over the past couple of years, we’ve had a lot of success with participation growth in group fitness classes, and because our data offered proof of that growth, we were able to garner budgetary support for more instructors. In 2014, we added 11 new classes per month to the schedule, and the average number of participants per class each month stayed the same. In short, we brought the residents more classes, and they took full advantage!

Personal training participation: Another client in Phoenix, Arizona, is showing steady growth in their personal training program. In 2013, there were 302 personal training sessions conducted, and in 2014 there were 707 personal training sessions conducted. We’ve added personal training as a program option in their health center, and we are currently hiring another personal trainer to help keep up with the demand for that growing service.

Membership rates: Lastly, three different communities that have been up and running with us for over five years all showed an increase of at least 4% or more in membership in 2014 compared to 2013, with little change in occupancy at those communities. Steady programming efforts targeted to spark different resident interests over time can help your membership continue to grow. Diversity in program offerings is what really drives that continual increase in membership, especially at our well-established communities. 

There are countless ways that you can track and evaluate participation data in your fitness program, and half the battle is just getting started. Determine what you want to track, how you need to track it, and then how you can effectively report that data over time so that it is usable and easy to evaluate. We aren’t statisticians with intricate spreadsheets spending hours crunching data each month. We do, however, have sound reporting methods so that our staff can gather this valuable data to continually build and evolve best-in-class fitness programs at the senior living communities we serve.

 If you’d like to talk about how NIFS can support the development of tracking tools and a program evaluation framework for your community’s programming, find out more about NIFS' wellness consulting service

If you want to learn more about some of NIFS’ most successful and creative programs for senior living communities, click the Best Practices button below.

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Topics: senior fitness management participation data collection nifs best practices senior living fitness center program planning

Senior Living Activities: Bring the Putting Green Indoors

If you follow our blog, you know we like to post about the cool stuff our fitness management staff are doing for the members at our client locations.  For example, in this blog, we talked about some popular National Senior Health and Fitness Day activities that were a huge hit in one senior living community.  In fact, we've dedicated an entire series to some of our active aging staff best practice programs and services.  

This blog post fits right in with our practice of sharing the programming love.  

Our manager saw a need to bring the golf course to residents who were no longer comfortable going to the local course for a round of golf.  On a tight budget, she creatively used mostly pool noodles to build a course in the multipurpose room.

Check out the pictures below to see how she brought the putting green indoors.  

The Course

NIFS manager, Lindsay Knox, laid out a collection of pool noodes to create an indoor mini-golf course at the community.  She marked each hole, gave the residents score cards, and set them out to putt away.

senior living indoor putting course\

The Residents In Action

In the picture below, you can see some of the obstacles set up in various holes.  The residents who participated were thrilled with Lindsay's creativity (and so were we!).  

residents on indoor putting course

 

For more great ideas from NIFS that you can bring to the lifestyle programming at your community, subscribe to our best practice campaign.

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How to get employees moving with great wellness programs

logoOur staff has found that getting employees moving can be difficult.  It is very often that our members speak of a variety of barriers that prevent them from exercising.  We have all experienced hectic schedules that interfere such as work meetings and events, overtime, family events such as a child’s activities.  It’s our job to help our members find ways to fit it in to their schedule, make time for themselves to live a healthier lifestyle.   Be Active Be Fit is a program that was developed to encourage participants to strive for 150 minutes of physical activity a week for 8 weeks.  Participants are encouraged to count any time they are doing physical activity no matter what the activity.  Whether you prefer to bike or run, maybe you walk or swim, right down to mowing the yard and cleaning the house with reasonable effort can count. 

This program was implemented at a couple different client locations earlier this year.  One staff member implemented an intranet site to better reach employees who don’t visit the fitness center to allow them to participate.  Sixty percent of participants surveyed post program stated that they liked being able to view the program online.   Also implemented were weekly challenges to encourage members to strive to try new things.  This staff member provided educational pieces to help his members better understand portion sizes and caloric intake.  One challenge educated participants on how to establish their estimated target heart rate, 34% indicated this was something they learned due to the program.

The simplicity of implementing and participating in this program really helped with its success.   Members entered their weekly minutes via a survey where the staff could export the weekly results for quick access to the program data.  This program successfully encouraged people to be more active with 55% indicating that Be Active Be Fit helped motivate them to continue with their program. 

Consider these simple steps when implementing a wellness program similar to NIFS Be Active Be Fit:

  • Establish a goal – what are you wanting members to achieve and how do you plan to reach your goal?  Establish what you want to achieve and outline what you can do to best implement and achieve the results you are hoping for.
  • Educate participants – use this opportunity to educate your employees about health and wellness.  Establishing an educational component further delivers the message you are trying to deliver about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Promote and encourage – make sure you are spreading the word about the program.  Use all of your resources to best introduce the program and increase awareness.  Incorporating weekly reminders help keep them going and improve the success rate of the program.
  • Evaluate the program – survey your participants post program.  This will help you better understand the needs of your members as well as better understanding success rate of your program. 

Interested in other ways we engage our clients with great programming?  Subscribe to our Best Practice Series and receive 10 other Best Practices established in NIFS Corporate Fitness Management.

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Topics: nifs best practices nifs fitness center management

Active Aging: Liven Up Your Olympics Programming (Part 2 of 2)

seniors swimmingIn part I of this blog series, we discussed opportunities to develop a comprehensive Olympics-themed program that would create a more memorable experience for participants as well as opportunities to attract more resident interest in the events. In the second part of this blog, we will explore a variety of events that you can consider folding into your Olympics to compliment the recreational activities your residents already know and love or to take a different path all-together.

Part II: Freshen up your Olympic events

Weekly recreational offerings with a strong resident following might seem like low-hanging fruit when it comes to spinning off an event for an Olympics-themed program. However, creating a flyer with your own Olympics logo and inviting these participants to a “special” tournament one afternoon can be less than inspiring for residents.  Read on to broaden your horizons on additional events you can pull into your next Olympics adventure.   

Recreational Activities & Games:

You’ve probably considered croquet, putting contests, corn hole, shuffleboard, bocce ball, ping pong, water volleyball, billiards, etc., but have you considered adapting your own versions of the following?

  • Frisbee Discuss: Play it indoors or outdoors and mark targets at varying distances. You can use hoola hoops or simply use tape to mark off the targets. You can designate varying point values for the different distances or recognize participants by the number of Frisbees that hit inside or on the target.
  • Water Balloon Shotput: Teach your residents how Olympians throw a shot put (without or without the spinning in a circle…OK, probably without the spinning) but use a water balloon! Measure the splash marks and who can shotput the water balloon the furthest distance.
  • Wii: Many residents are already familiar with Wii bowling and golf, but consider purchasing the Wii Fit if you don’t have one and allow your residents to hone their skills on downhill skiing. Wii also has games for archery, hunting & target practice, and many other options that might appeal to your residents.
  • Synchronized Swimming: Planned well in advance of your Olympics, you can have small groups of 3-4 residents compete against one another in synchronized routines they develop or have one large group of residents work together to put on a spectator sport for the entire senior living community. Perhaps you could host your Opening Ceremonies in your pool area to increase exposure of this wonderful amenity your community has to offer!

Brain Fitness:

You’re Olympic events don’t necessarily have to be recreation or fitness related. Finding other ways for residents to compete can be a great way to attract more individuals to participate.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Take pictures of random artwork and landmarks inside and outside at your community and provide these snapshots to participants. They will embark on a scavenger hunt trying to recall where they’ve seen these different items throughout the community and will visit each location. You can make it a timed event for the top three finishers or do recognition awards for everyone who makes it through.
  • Brain Trivia: Host a Jeopardy or other trivia type event for residents to promote intellectual wellness as part of your Olympics. For a large turnout, you can have multiple games going on at different tables simultaneously, or you can have residents work as teams for the answers.

Let your creative juices flow in developing a comprehensive and fresh approach to your next community Olympics!  If you like what we have shared, check out our Best Practice Series featuring 11 of our Best Practices we have implemented in active aging communities!

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Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior living active living senior living community nifs best practices