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

NIFS Member Speaks: Ashley Shirley, Fit After Kids

NIFS members speak

Ashley Shirley, one of our corporate fitness members out of Ohio, shares her story and the benefits of utilizing the NIFS Fitness Management staff at her onsite corporate wellness center.  After having two kids she relies on the NIFS staff for accountability and to keep her going!  

"Eating healthy and being fit was a way of life for me before having 2 kids. It was just something I wanted to do for myself. When I got pregnant with my first child I gained 75 lbs, so I went from 155 to 230 in a 9 month period. It was extremely hard on my body. After my second child I was pretty much right back to where I was after my first one. I was miserable because I knew that it wasn’t the way my body was made to be. It’s hard to work out when you have two little ones at home, so having the wellness center here at work is an extreme blessing for me. I take advantage of it every day on my lunch hour. I love the fact that we have an option to take classes if we choose to and I also take advantage of Monday boot camp and will be starting Wednesday TRX classes. Another reason I keep coming back is because I have accountability through Adrienne. She is awesome! She gives us the workout of our lives every time we walk in the wellness center. Member's Speak - AShirleyEven if I’m not taking a class with her she is always there for encouragement and to help me become the best I can be by educating me. She pushes me personally to be better than I knew I could be, and she stretches me way past my comfort zone! For her position, that’s a compliment! There isn’t a class I take that I don’t wake up the next day feeling it. She is all around a sweet person and really makes it a comfortable atmosphere to workout in. Since my last child was born last October I have lost close to 60 lbs! She has been there every step of the way cheering me on! I’m not the only one who feels this way either, we sure do love her!"

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

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Topics: corporate wellness employee health nifs fitness management employee health and fitness NIFS member speak testimonials

NIFS Fitness Management: Fitness Tricks and Treats

Fitness Tricks and Treats

Curious how many steps you need to take to burn off that Halloween candy?

Check out this Halloween Treat Calorie Counter

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Topics: corporate fitness nifs fitness management NIFS corporate fitness managment health and wellness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Pumpkin Workout

free workout fridayBefore you carve those pumpkins for Halloween, put them to use for a good workout!  NIFS Fitness Management staff in our corporate fitness centers had great success in offering pumpkin workouts to employees this month.  If you think about it, pumpkins are like a medicine ball and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate all intensity levels!   So grab that pumpkin off the porch and show your kids how to use a pumpkin for a workout!

Squat and Curl – Hold a pumpkin in both hands with arms extended down in front of your body.  Step feet wide with toes pointing out at an angle.  Keeping your chest up, lower into a squat and hold the position.  Now curl the pumpkin up toward your chest performing a bicep curl, lower the pumpkin slowly back down and perform 12-15 repetitions.

Full Sit Up – Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Holding the pumpkin on your chest, do a full sit up reach overhead with the pumpkin as you perform the movement.  Slowly lower to the floor bring the pumpkin back down to your chest in one smooth movement.  Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Toe TapsLay on the floor bringing your legs up toward the ceiling (bend your knees if a modification is needed).  Holding the pumpkin in both hands, contract your abs and crunch upward pushing the pumpkin toward your toes.  Rather than relaxing and lowering back to the floor, continue to quickly contract and release taping your toes with the pumpkin for 30 repetitions.

Overhead pressWith feet shoulder width apart, hold the pumpkin in both hands in front of your chest.  Press the pumpkin up over your head extending your arms, and then slowly lower to the starting position.  Repeat for 12-15 repetitions.

Push Up Plank – For an advanced option, place both hands on the pumpkin, if that is too much you can place one hand on the ground and the other on the pumpkin.  Extend your legs out behind you into a plank position.  Slowly bend your arms to lower your body toward the ground, push through your hands and shoulders to return to the starting position to complete a pushup.  Strive for 10 repetitions.  

Russian twist – Sit on the ground with the pumpkin in your lap.  Place your feet on the ground shoulder width apart, for a more advance move lift your feet up keeping your knees bent.  Holding your pumpkin lean back slightly, dropping your right shoulder and taking the pumpkin toward your right.  Slowly move back toward the middle and continue toward the left.  Continue side to side for 30 seconds.

Now get creative and share with us what your favorite pumpkin exercise is!!  

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

Wellness in Senior Living: Kit vs. Culture

senior woman stretchingUnless you live under a really, really big rock, you have no doubt heard about the importance of robust wellness opportunities as central to a successful senior living community. There have been some fabulous profiles lately on organizations that are doing an amazing job of connecting their residents and others in the surrounding areas to opportunities to live well. Two recent examples highlighted by LeadingAge are these:

What strikes me about both of these offerings is that they are wellness initiatives. I don’t know that the communities packaged them that way, but in fact, they are a model of innovative wellness programming at its very best.

The other element I find compelling about these offerings is that they’re culturally driven. That is to say that this type of creativity can only come from an organization that believes that living well is truly central to its brand.

When your senior living communities investigate what’s possible under the umbrella of resident wellness, it’s important to consider what it is you truly want to build. Is wellbeing something that leadership wants to cultivate, explore, and weave into the very fabric of the community? Or is the community focus elsewhere for now, such that wellness is more of a task that needs to be crossed off the long list?

Looking for the Wellness Kit?

If wellness for your community is about crossing something off the to-do list, then you might be looking for a kit solution. There are organizations that can help you, when you buy into their model, to plant monthly wellness initiatives at your community. Your activities director can typically fold them into the monthly calendar, and you can begin to dip your toe into the wellness water to get a sense of how your residents will receive programming and activities built around traditional wellness pillars like nutrition, physical activity, and so on.

But that's not how we do it. We're not about the monthly theme, unless it's right for your residents, and we're not about the pre-packaged materials, unless they've proven their value.

Wellness Culture Means Cultivating a Lifestyle in Senior Living

At the end of the day, a wellness culture is where we need to be headed. When we adopt a healthy culture as the way of life we’re building for residents, then we start to grasp what’s really possible.

But here’s the thing: culture is person-driven, not program-driven. There are not enough programs in the world to build a culture. Wellness is a way of life, not an activity, and it should be cultivated accordingly. Here are a few considerations if you’re contemplating the challenging and rewarding work that is wellness culture building in a retirement community:

  • Determining a hierarchy: Building a wellness culture means giving consideration to hierarchy for wellness and activities (or leisure services, or life enrichment, or whatever your organization calls the events coordinator at your community). I would challenge you to think about whether activities actually rolls up under wellness instead of wellness being a branch of activities. If you buy into the idea that wellness is a way of life rather than an activity, then challenging the status quo that activities is at the top of the programmatic/community calendar food chain warrants significant thought.
  • Hiring a wellness director: Building a wellness culture requires a dedicated and competent professional blazing the trail. I’ve written about hiring a fitness professional for your community. The principles in that blog apply to hiring a wellness director as well.
  • Thinking progressively and strategically: Building a wellness culture means thinking differently about how you program, and it requires a commitment to moving beyond the bocce tournament you’ve always done. It also requires you to strategically think through what program data you need, and how you’ll use the data to inform your next culture-building steps.

Make no mistake, building a culture is no easy task and you don’t ever really arrive. You just keep learning, building, and growing. You keep evolving to meet and anticipate the needs of your audience. You keep striving for the experience of a life well lived, for breadth and depth of lifestyle choices that provide meaning for each individual.

If this sounds daunting, it is. The wellness kit idea is much simpler to understand and to execute. But the real richness lies in the proverbial road less traveled. Partner organizations, including ours, can help you map out a path to get started.

Are you ready to do wellness better? Learn more about wellness consulting.

 

Topics: nifs fitness management senior center solutions senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center health culture fitness center for seniors

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Tabata

free workout fridayAre you looking for a new, quick, high-intensity workout routine? Then Tabata may be the training style for you! Be prepared to go all-out for short durations of time to increase your strength, while improving your cardio at the same time!  Tabata facilitates a workout which is so intense that 8 rounds will be completed in only 4 minutes! If 4 minutes are enough, then you have completed a full Tabata set, if not, choose a different exercise and repeat the Tabata!

The general set up of Tabata:

  • Go all-out for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 8 times (8 rounds)

The key points of Tabata:

  • Do as many repetitions as possible in the 20 seconds of work.
  • Pick weights which are hard enough to make you breathless after 20 seconds, but light enough to be able to complete all 8 rounds.
  • Pick an exercise which works most of your body.
    • I.e. Kettle bell swings, squat jumps, jump lunges, step ups

Tabata Exercise Example 1 – alternate between the following two exercises

  • Round 1,3,5,7 – Squat presses with a medicine ball
  • Round 2,4,6,8 – Burpee with push up

Tabata Exercise Example 2

  • Tabata 1: Round 1-8 Squat jumps
  • Tabata 2: Round 1-8 Plank one-arm dumb bell rows
  • Add on more rounds with different exercises to increase length of workout

Remember

  • Tabata training should be intense, always listen to your body and use modified options if necessary
  • Have the proper equipment to complete the exercises, if needed
  • Not all Tabata exercises need equipment, body weight exercises can be done at home with no equipment

Have fun, work hard, be creative, and make the workout yours!  What is your favorite Tabata style workout?

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

Benefits to offering Zumba Gold® in your Active Aging Community

senior woman dancingWhen I first began working at a CCRC a year ago I learned that Zumba® classes were being taught.  I was very intrigued and actually sat in on the class within the first couple days of being here.  Prior to attending the class, I kept thinking to myself that this was a pretty intense class to be taught to seniors.  After attending the class I was pleasantly surprised as to how enjoyable the class is for the participants.  The type of class that was being taught is actually called Zumba Gold® and was specifically designed for active seniors as well as those participants who may not be ready for full on Zumba®.  Zumba Gold® still uses the same concept of original Zumba® by incorporating exciting Latin and international dance rhythms.  Some of these dances include Merengue, Salsa, Cha Cha, Cumbia, and Belly Dancing.  You are guaranteed to get a full body workout but the exercises are modified for success and safety.  A lot of the moves may even be done at 1/2 tempo so that everyone is able to follow.  The most interesting thing that I observed was that many of the participants were seated during the Zumba Gold® class.  This makes the class available to everyone, including those who may be in wheelchairs or are unable to stand for long periods of time.

There are a wide range of benefits of Zumba®, these include:

  • Improved muscular strength and endurance
  • Improved cardiovascular system
  • Improved range of motion
  • Improved posture
  • Reduces depression, stress and anxiety
  • Opportunity to meet new people
  • Enhanced quality of life

The residents at our community absolutely love that this class is offered!  It is one of our most well attended classes at our community.  This population has grown up around music so what better way to get some exercise while dancing around to good music!  I hear over and over again from the residents that it doesn’t even feel like they are exercising because they enjoy the music so well and they just start grooving.

If you are interested in having Zumba Gold® at your CCRC you will first need to have a licensed Zumba Gold® instructor to teach the classes.  There are always training workshops being taught all over the United States you just have to find the one nearest to you.  You may find these training workshops at the following address Zumba Training.  Now the question is are you ready to live up to the Zumba® motto and ditch the workout and join the party?

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Topics: active aging nifs fitness management CCRC fitness center zumba gold senior group fitness classes

3 Programming Twists to Boost Fitness Center Participation

presentation groupRecruiting residents to participate in your community fitness offerings can be a challenge. Most communities offer a variety of standard services, classes, and programs to try to regularly engage their residents. Whether you are wanting to recruit new residents or spark some enthusiasm for your regulars, read on to learn about three nontraditional programming ideas that can help boost participation in your community fitness offerings.

Fashion Show – Yes that’s right, I said a fashion show. Many residents show up to exercise in their normal clothes (dress slacks, button-down shirts and all)! While this is OK for some modes of activity, educating residents on the importance of exercising in appropriate active wear, including proper footwear, can be inspiring and quite helpful for some individuals. Contact a local boutique with active wear apparel and host a fashion show at your community while providing residents with an option to purchase what they are seeing. You could work with the boutique to allow your residents to be the models so residents can see firsthand that exercise apparel can be fashionable, comfortable, and appropriate for older adults. Don’t forget about swimwear! Many older adults shy away from participating in pool programming because of not having purchased a swimsuit in perhaps decades. Bring the suits, water shoes, etc., to your fashion show and remove this barrier for your residents!

Philanthropic Program – Let’s face it, it can be a challenge to come up with prize ideas for residents to recognize their efforts in incentive programs that will truly get them excited. While older adults recognize the importance of physical activity for their own vitality, finding ways to ignite enthusiasm into their workout is still important to keep things fresh and fun. Connect a fitness program with a philanthropic approach instead of a traditional prizes like water bottles, t-shirts, or pedometers. Establish a community goal that if residents come together to achieve X minutes of walking or attend X number of group exercise classes in a month, the community will make a monetary donation to a local charitable organization. You could even include a canned food donation requirement as an entry fee to your group exercise classes for the month. Chart the residents’ progress through the month so they can see how they are doing and they can recruit their friends and neighbors to participate.

Educational Lectures – Well qualified fitness staff with an educational background in health and fitness can contribute more to resident wellness than exercise instruction alone. Tap into this educational background and recruit your fitness staff to share their expertise and educate residents on a variety of health and wellness topics on a regular basis. This can help some residents begin engaging with the fitness staff in a way they may otherwise never do if avoiding the fitness center. When your fitness staff can demonstrate that they are knowledgeable about various health conditions or other resident interests, they can begin building trust and relationships that will hopefully translate into engaging that resident in the appropriate fitness services for their needs.

Find out more about how NIFS provides these ideas and others through wellness consulting at senior living communities.  Or, check out how one client uses NIFS wellness consulting for better marketing outcomes in her communities.

VIDEO: How one client puts NIFS consulting to work

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior center solutions program planning

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Take it Outside

free workout fridayAre you sad that summer is coming to an end or getting bored with your workouts and just need a change? Taking advantage of the warmer weather is a good way to challenge your body and try different exercises outdoors before it’s too late and the cold winter months keep us all inside. I bet you pass several landmarks and unique open areas every day on your way to & from work that could be used for your next workout. Do me a favor and get creative the next time you are on your way to work or school and find a public place you can run stairs and a bench you can do lunges and tricep dips on.

Living in downtown Indianapolis there are a lot of very cool locations I’ve found to create my own outdoor boot camp workouts. I love to exercise outdoors but get tired of running all over the city (it’s not that large), so I started adding other things in and I’ve even got a few of my friends to try it with me! Yes, some days it’s hot & humid and it can be exhausting but you can always give it a try on a spring or fall day to get out of your corporate wellness center for a change of scenery.

Here is one of my favorite workouts to do, so get creative and find locations near you! Watch our videos for demonstrations to take this workout outdoors.

Topics: nifs fitness management employee wellness Free Workout Friday indianapolis exercise in the workplace

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