Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Nutrition News: Intermittent Fasting

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Topics: nifs fitness management NIFS wellness health education

NIFS Nutrition News: Get back on track!

healthy eating woman resized 600Have you fallen off track from your New Year’s resolutions and need a kick start back in the right direction? Since it's National Nutrition Month® it is the perfect time to regain focus on healthy eating behaviors! Getting back into a healthy routine does not mean seeking out the next fad diet, but learning to enjoy healthy and nutritious food. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ team of top nutrition and food professionals develop a once a year campaign to promote healthy eating behaviors with many different resources, games, and reading lists.  This year the Academy is focusing on ways to help you create healthy, enjoyable meals following the Dietary Guidelines!

First, start by replacing empty snacks with nutrient dense foods such as these, under 200-calorie, snacks:

  • Small baked potato topped with salsa and 1 ounce low-fat cheese.
  • Toaster waffle topped with ½ cup blueberries and 2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt.
  • Six whole-wheat crackers and one slice low-fat Colby cheese.
  • Fruit smoothie: Blend 1 cup fat-free milk, ½ cup frozen strawberries and ½ banana.
  • One 6-inch flour tortilla with ¼ cup black beans and 2 tablespoons fresh salsa.
  • Quick-to-fix salad: 2 cups mixed greens with ½ cup mandarin oranges, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat dressing.

Next, make a few small lifestyle changes to your day from the following tips below:

  • Never skip breakfastA cup of coffee should not be the only thing you consume for breakfast! Instead, your breakfast should include some lean protein such as turkey or chicken as well as whole grains and fruit.  These small changes will help increase your morning energy level!
  • Control your portion sizesMeasure out a cup of your favorite food to see how much you are eating compared to the recommended serving size. This will help you understand how much you are eating in one sitting!
  • Be more active throughout the day - This does not mean you need to go to the gym, or set an hour of your time aside to work out in order to increase your physical activity. It is as simple as parking in the back of the parking lot, always taking the stairs, or taking a walk with your family after dinner. Increasing your steps per day can result in an increase in positive health benefits-aim for 10,000 steps a day!

Finally, consider making other small modifications to your eating behavior. In order to begin creating healthy meals following the Dietary Guidelines!  Click here for healthy recipes provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Interested in speaking with a NIFS Registered Dietitian, contact Angie Scheetz at NIFS.

Topics: nifs fitness management health and wellness diet and exercise portion control

NIFS Member Speaks: Aziza Hunt shares her Motivation

my storyAziza joined the Wellness Center when she started her employment in September.  In three months she referred four new members to our Corporate Wellness Center and she says she is working on more. I am thrilled to have her as ambassador member of the Wellness Center and also admire her ability to motivate herself and her associates to get more active.  Here is her story and hopefully she’ll get you motivated to get moving too.

I come to the Wellness Center two times per day and right now my motivation is weight loss. When joined Weight Watchers® I realized how important activity was for my goal. Plus the gym is free, so there are NO EXCUSES.” My friends and associates who frequently join me in the Wellness Center are doing Weight Watchers® too. To help motivate them I try to let my actions be an example of my dedication to be fit and healthy.  As I tell my friends, “we work in a company that is about wellness, and we have so many resources that we didn’t have before coming to WellPoint so why not take advantage of them?” I also tell them, something is better than nothing.

My motivation to get active started when I joined a kickball team in the fall. I loved playing but I hated the feeling of being out of breath. I knew something had to give. While the team was on a break during the winter I wanted to improve my endurance but I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight.  I have a goal I want to accomplish by March (kickball time) and nothing and no one is going to stop me.  My plan is to stay active, stick to Weight Watchers®, and drink more water while also cutting back on sweets, junk, and “the white stuff”.

Aziza also admits to having bad days like the rest of us and I think she has a wonderfulA.Hunt attitude about these days.  Here is what she says about her off days, “I am human, and I know that I will have my “off days” but you just forgive yourself and pick back up. When I get weighed in each week with Weight Watchers®, my number on the scale that day either makes me work harder or lets me know I am on the right track. I have come too far and refuse to let the scale go backwards. I am too determined and have worked too hard.”

It sounds like Aziza has put a lot of thought into what she wants to accomplish and uses this to maintain her motivation.  Need motivation like Aziza?  Ask yourself exactly why you want to accomplish and determine exactly what actions must be taken to get there.  Start with the smallest action to get going. 

*Weight loss claims or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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Topics: exercise nifs fitness management motivation member testimonials weight watchers

5 Ways Wellness Consulting helps the Mission of your Senior Living Community

There are a lot of commonalities among senior living community mission statements including high quality of care, exceptional service, and peace of mind.  Also making the list are pledges to promote enhanced quality of life, independence, wellbeing, and dignity.  These are lofty aims and organizational mission statements are not to be taken lightly.  But as resident wellness comes under an increasingly brighter spotlight, I wonder how many communities are examining their wellness-related services under a mission-focused microscope. 

I do a lot of consulting for communities across the country and what I see time and time again is that wellness is still sitting in a second place seat under an Activities banner that represents an old way of doing business.  Wellness is not an activity; it is a way of life. 

And while executive directors often recognize that more should be done for their residents to help them live well and to truly engage with life, they don’t know how to progress to a true community wellness strategy. Add to that confusion an organizational ambivalence about “consultants” and in the blink of an eye, the inertia of status quo starts to look very, very appealing. 

But doing what you’ve always done because it’s too hard to make a change may not truly be aligning your wellness strategy with your mission. 

This is where a consultant can help.  Before you recoil at the word “consultant”, consider these five very-real benefits you can gain from opening up your senior living community to wellness consulting.

#5:  The Fresh Perspectivehappy senior

You know it’s true.  Sometimes activity directors are so buried with the task of filling a calendar each month that it’s difficult for them to see the forest for the trees.  And when you have director-level staff who have been with your organization for several years, “what we’ve always” done is a tough cycle to break, even with the best of intentions. 

When we come in to consult, we bring the benefit of unbiased observation.  We don’t know you and we’re starting with a clean slate to figure out what you’re doing really well, and where the opportunities for improvement might be.  We think there is profound value in not knowing your organization because we can use that position of ignorance to build a non-threatening relationship with your staff.  We can ask the hard “why” questions, because we simply don’t know the answers.  We can see areas of opportunity that wouldn’t be readily visible to you because you’re in the environment every day.

#4:  The Change Agent

Let’s go back to the idea that you recognize there should be more substance and strategy to how your community is facilitating a healthy resident lifestyle.  It’s tough to get there, or to even start the conversation as an insider.  Staff can get suspicious, they may feel threatened by potential change (“Is what I’m doing not good enough?”), and before you know it, your efforts to live into the community’s mission are thwarted. 

Bringing in a consultant, as an outside observer, allows you to position the consultant as the change agent.  Then, you can effectively leverage the consultant’s experience in wellness strategy design to start initiating change in your lifestyle offerings. 

#3:  The Resources

If you work with NIFS for wellness consulting, you get the benefit of our years in the field and all of the work we’ve done with other communities.  We don’t just consult; we put our staff on ground in communities across the US.  So we’ve tested our own recommendations and we’re continually innovating with real-world programs for actual residents. 

In short, we walk the talk.

The same should be true for any other consulting organization you choose.  If they bring a cookie cutter approach to evaluating your situation, be suspicious.  You’re unique, and the consultant’s approach should be also.

#2:  The Report

When we consult, we provide a report that covers areas of need/attention specific to the client.  It’s common for our recommendations to cover everything from branding your wellness strategy for effective marketing, to updates on physical spaces in the community.  We don’t shy away from tough topics like assessing staff credentials and effectiveness, evaluating liability and making risk reducing recommendations, or establishing better structure to your initiatives so that you can evaluate effectiveness

We’re not just pointing out areas for improvement.  Our report offers practical and tested solutions that you can put into action. 

#1:  The Value

Consulting isn’t free; you will get billed for time and travel.  But you can get a project estimate up front that should outline both anticipated costs as well as expected outcomes from the consulting work.  Before you engage in a consulting relationship, get all of your questions answered. 

  • Find out how the agency works with your staff.
  • Determine if they will be willing to talk to your residents.
  • Learn about their specific areas of expertise in wellness strategy.
  • Ask what the final report will look like.
  • Find out whether there is opportunity for ongoing support if needed.
  • Ask if they can provide you with references from previous work.
  • Determine if their recommendations will narrowly connect you with their product/service or if they will connect you with resources where you can decide which are best for your organization?

It’s time to look at aligning your wellness programming with your mission.  And the great news is, you don’t have to tackle this alone.  Consulting doesn’t have to be daunting, unfulfilling, and lacking in value.  If you’re ready to cultivate a wellness focus for your community that works with your current strengths and that compliments your existing brand, then contact me to get answers to those value questions I outlined above.

Are you ready to do wellness better? Learn more about wellness consulting.
Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior center solutions wellness consulting

NIFS: Go Red for Heart Health

heart healthThe first Friday in February has been designated National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease in women.  Over a decade ago, research showed that heart disease was the leading cause of death in women and was deemed the silent killer because symptoms often go unnoticed. 

There are ways you can take steps to reduce your risk for heart disease, take control of your life and your heart health!

  • Be Active: Get off the couch and get moving.  Individuals who get little to no physical activity are at a much higher risk for heart disease.  Get up and moving daily to increase your physical activity, simply cleaning your house or doing yard work can lower your risk. 
  • Healthy Plate = Healthy Heart: Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants which help reduce risk!  Your cholesterol levels are also a risk factor, simply improving your diet will help reduce those numbers which in turn will lower your risk.
  • Quit Smoking: CVS recently pulled the plug on selling tobacco, so now it’s your turn to stop smoking.  Individuals who smoke have twice the risk of having a heart attack than non-smokers.  If you need tips for how to quit, talk to your doctor or ask your corporate wellness staff where you can find resources to help you quit.
  • Control Blood Pressure: As the most common risk factor, over fifty million people have hypertension.  If your blood pressure is consistently 140/90 or higher you are considered hypertensive.  Speak with your physician about how to manage your numbers.
  • Manage your Stress: Find what techniques work for you, exercise is a great way to reduce stress.  Make time to incorporate 30 minutes into your day to take your mind off your stressors. Individuals with poorly managed stress are at risk for heart attack or stroke. 

Join the movement to help raise awareness.  Talk to the women in your family to make positive changes in becoming healthier together.

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Topics: heart disease cardiovascular disease nifs fitness management wear red day healthy behaviors

Active Aging: Beginning Exercise Program for Seniors

senior woman on ballEveryone needs a starting point.  Anyone who has ever tried to begin a new exercise program knows that the first few weeks often determine whether you stick with the program or not.  I often have residents ask me where to begin and while different considerations have to be made for each individual’s situation, I’ve found that this is usually a good starting point.

1. Try not to overwhelm them

A few times per week is plenty for an older adult who is new to exercise.  We’re trying to build a habit and that takes a little time.  For someone who was previously sedentary, doing structured exercises 3 times per week is plenty.  I do try to encourage people to take a short walk every day so they are getting up and moving around more than they’re used to.  (And walking down to the dining room doesn’t count!)

2. Include a little cardio, a little strength, and a little flexibility

Barring any special circumstances or directions from their physician, it’s safe for older adults to include a large variety of exercises in their routine.  Aim to be well-rounded.  It’s good for the body and it helps to keep them interested as well.  Cardio exercises could include things like walking, riding a bike, or just working out on the Nu-Step or elliptical.  Start out for 10 minutes at a time and work up from there.  Strength exercises should be functional and safe for the older adult.  Using variable resistance machines is usually a good place to start and it can help to build the confidence of your new exerciser.  Always include flexibility exercises as well.  You’ve all heard “use it or lose it” and this applies to mobility and flexibility just as much as any other area.

3. Always include balance exercises

My most successful residents are the ones who do balance exercises most days of the week.  Practicing those tasks not only makes them more stable, but also really boosts their confidence.  It’s an area where a lot of them feel unsure of themselves and a little fearful so showing them that they can do something to change that feeling can really help.

4. Modify, modify, modify

It’s easy to try a “one size fits all” model for older adults.  Many people just assume that they can’t do the same things as someone who is younger, but this isn’t true!  As our population ages, there are many circumstances where people have been exercising their whole lives and are still very capable of difficult exercises.  Don’t be afraid to challenge people a little bit.  On the flip side, many people are just beginning an exercise program with the goal of maintaining their independence a little longer so don’t be afraid to modify exercises down to their abilities as well.

Do you have tips and tricks that work for beginners in your community?

Download Balance Training Whitepaper

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior fitness exercise for elderly

NIFS Fitness Management: 12 Days of Wellness

December calendarThe holidays are in full swing and everyone is singing about jingling bells, and Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen,  Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blizten, and Rudolph of course.  Another reoccurring song or tradition that has become a part of our culture in various ways is the 12 Days of Christmas.  We see it on TV with 12 Days of Giveaways, our staff did 12 Days of Fitness via Instagram, and all over Facebook there have been 12 days of something or another where companies thank you for supporting them by offering contests throughout the 12 days. 

This got me thinking about how we jump on that wagon, easy enough… we are going to offer the 12 Days of Wellness.  So I set out to ask around the office, when do the 12 Days of Christmas occur?  Most people, including myself thought “around the 13th or 14th?”, 12 days out from Christmas.   Doh, I’ll just google it. Here I thought I’d engage people, because that’s what we are good at, engaging your residents in your senior living communities or your corporate wellness members and strike up a conversation.   I could have gotten the answer right away if I just Googled it. 

If you haven’t Googled it yourself, in general you would find that the 12 Days of Christmas actually begins on Christmas and carries on for 12 days ending on January 5.  If you need a more detailed explanation, I recommend you Google it for yourself as it does vary between beliefs.

Back to me jumping on the band wagon to celebrate 12 days…  Join us via our Facebook page or Twitter for the 12 Days of Wellness starting tomorrow.  As we head into the New Year and establish those dreadful resolutions, take into account more than just the typical exercise more, lose 10 pounds, eat better.  There are more aspects to your overall wellness that will help you lead a healthier life.  Subscribe to our blog, we have some new authors from our staff in 2014 along with some great programs to share with you in our NIFS Best Practices series where we will feature some of our most successful programs in both Corporate Fitness settings and Active Aging communities.

Enjoy the holiday season and our 12 Days of Wellness!

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Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness active aging nifs fitness management senior living community 12 Days of Christmas 12 Days of Wellness

NIFS: Staying Healthy through the Holidays

mom and child handwashing resized 600With parties in full swing and family gatherings next week, the last thing you want to be is SICK!  Tis’ the season for sneezing and wheezing.  When you aren’t feeling 100% and you cough or sneeze, those germs float into the air and spread to the next person.  Take these steps to help prevent the sharing of germs so you can share gifts instead!

  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, if you can’t get a tissue in time cough into your elbow instead of your hands!

  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes where germs invade your system! 

  • Wash your hands often; your best option is with warm water and soap.  The most effective way to prevent the spread of germs is by washing your hands to kill those germs.

Hand washing 101... be smart about washing your hands.  Here are a few tips for when it’s important to be sure you are thoroughly scrubbing those hands between your fingers, backs of hands and your wrists!

Wash Hands Before:

Eating and preparing meals

When caring for an injured or sick person

Inserting or removing contact lenses

Wash Hands After:

Preparing food, especially raw meat

Changing diapers or using the bathroom

Taking care of animals

Handling garbage and cleaners

Use of Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer:

Choose those that contain 60% alcohol

Apply enough to cover hands completely

Rub hands together until dry

Have your family adopt these simple hand washing habits to help limit the transfer of bacteria and viruses to lessen your chances of being sick this holiday season!  

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Topics: nifs fitness management employee health and wellness health hand washing

NIFS Fitness Management's Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!!  Some of you have already been active by participating in a Turkey Trot or Drumstick Dash, others may be enjoying some morning coffee while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or on the road traveling to see family, and those extra special individuals are busy cooking today’s feast.  We all celebrate differently and have family traditions and things are thankful for.  We are thankful for our amazing staff and the hard work they put in year round.  We asked them to share what they are thankful for, what their favorite Thanksgiving dishes are, and about their family traditions.

Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday for the entire family to get together. When I married my husband at first we had to split Thanksgiving between the two families. After the first two years of doing this, my husband and I asked to hold the entire day’s events at our place and invite all family from both sides. We also invited family friends. This was turned into a wonderful tradition that allowed everyone to get together and not run from one place to another throughout the day. This leads to my thing I am most thankful for, which is my WHOLE family and that we do not have a division of "my family" or "your family."  -Cathy Hampe

We have some competitive people in the family, and they do a lot of “trash talking”.  We usually have some sort of dodge ball, kickball, or bball game….which is hilarious in itself because not all of us are athletic! I have one aunt that brings board games every year and no one ever wants to play, so that’s usually another funny episode because she’s trying to talk anyone and everyone into playing with her.  -Lisa Larkin

This probably started when we were teenagers, but my brothers and I would set a plastic trash can a certain distance from the throwing line. Then we would throw a football at the trash can to try to hit it. If we hit it, the trash can was moved farther away. If you missed, you were out. Very simple, but always a good time with my bro’s.   -Michael Boyle

My favorite part is introducing healthy options to my boyfriend’s family.  This is the 3rd year I will be cooking with his mom, it’s really fun to watch them devour the healthier options that they would have never imagined liking. I’m also thankful for the loving family I have supporting me, near and far.  –Sarah Johnson

My dad’s entire family started the family reunion type Thanksgiving back in the 1980’s with my grandfather having seven siblings. We used to rent out an old farmhouse and since have moved to various churches. The entire meal is a pot luck and having family coming from all over the world there is an amazing selection of food... Greek breads, German desserts, Asian salads, the best part of this meal is the homemade ice cream!  -Amy Briggs

My favorite part of the holiday is just getting to spend the day with my family.  It is so nice to be able to relax, enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for one other.  I am most thankful for my children, family, friends and health!  -Shawna Kendrick

I am thankful that a have the most amazing family, a wonderful job, my house, and my two awesome dogs!  After dinner, our entire family crowds into the living room to watch the Dallas Cowboys play football.  -Diana Price

My oldest son served in Iraq and missed Thanksgiving with our family for 4 years in a row.  Thanksgiving is so important to us because we feel so thankful that he is home and is able to spend Thanksgiving with us again! He has been home for the last 5 Thanksgivings, but I never forget the importance of being blessed when I look across the table and see him among us!  -Ruth Reyna

I enjoy waking up Thanksgiving morning to do a local 5k Turkey Trot with my family- no better way to start the day than with some exercise!  My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is pie, pie, and more pie. Did I mention pie?  -Stephanie Parsons

This isn't really a tradition, and it only happened last year. But my wife and I were trimming our turkey in one of those disposable tin foil turkey pans. Our dog was right under foot waiting for something to drop. After about 5 minutes we look down to see our dog's head soaking wet. Apparently the pan sprung a leak and the turkey grease was running off the counter right into our dog's mouth in what I can only imagine was pure bliss. Surprisingly not a drop touched the floor and I'm sure this goes down as one of the greatest days of our dog's life. So from now on, we'll probably give our dog some turkey grease with her food. (the turkey was good too!)  -Doug Trefun

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the dressing.  I only eat dressing once or twice a year and I ask my mom to make it.  She uses my grandmother’s recipe that I loved so much as a child.  -Matt Reeves

Our family tradition is getting in circle all holding hands telling what we are thankful for, toasting to them and then we do a gobble off. Whomever has the best turkey gobble gets to take the traveling turkey home for the year. For some reason the turkey has never made it to my home.  -Sheila Heavin

What is your favorite non-food related way you spend this holiday with your family? Every year we do a “Turkey Bowl”. My dad’s family gets together at the local college and plays flag football on the field. Last year we had over 50 people play from ages 4-65. We do a traditional tailgate in the parking lot after the game. It is a great way for us to get together before we go our separate ways to other relatives houses for thanksgiving dinner. It’s also a great way to be active before all the holiday treats.  -Mistie Hayhow

I’m thankful for our healthy girls and to not be pregnant and nauseous this Thanksgiving.  –Emily Davenport

My personal fav is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. But my grandmas pumpkin pie always has a strong family presence.  -Bethany Garrity

My family always participates in the Galloping Gobbler, which is a 4 mile race back in my hometown. My entire family dreads it but we all do it because it is something that my mother loves to do! She gets so excited every year, that she wakes us all up around 6 am to the Rocky Theme Song blaring!! It’s an interesting way to start Thanksgiving! -Margaret Allgeier

I am thankful for family.  -Christy Monday

My immediate family gets up at the crack of dawn and drives to Ohio where my great aunt and extended family gather for Thanksgiving lunch.  Afterwards, we take a walk around the farm to get in some activity after the big meal.  The rest of the visit is spent catching up with family, watching the Macy’s Day Parade and football.   -Melissa Cusick

 

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management employee health and wellness thanksgiving traditions

Free Workout Friday - Maintain Not Gain

Free Workout FridayOur staff is kicking off our annual Maintain Not Gain program at our client sites.  This program is structured to help individuals maintain their weight through those months filled with tasty food and delicious treats that surround the holidays.  As you gear up for the holiday parties and events stay on track by following our Free Workout Friday blog postings to keep your workouts on track.  We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy the food, we just suggest proper portion sizes and that you don’t skip out on your workouts! 

If you aren’t a member at one of our client sites and would like help staying on track, “like” NIFS Fitness Management on Facebook and join our Facebook edition of Maintain Not Gain.  Watch for the links to submit your initial weight November 16 – 22.  Watch your newsfeed for tips to stay on track and submit your final weight in January.  If you maintain and not gain through the holidays you will be eligible for a prize drawing! 

Now let’s get started with a great, easy workout to keep you on track! 

WARM UP with a 5 minute walk or anything to get your muscles warm!

10 squatsMNG logo

15 pushups

20 alternating lunges

25 bicep curls

30 jumping jacks

35 bicycles

STRETCH, you never want to stretch a cold muscle, so always do so once the muscles are warm!

Beginner: Repeat 3-5 times, with short or minimal breaks.

Intermediate-Advanced: Complete as many times as possible in 25 minutes. 

Topics: employee health exercise nifs fitness management maintain not gain