Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fall Prevention: Picking Proper Workout Apparel is Key

Could your exercise clothes be increasing your fall risk?  Wearing appropriate clothing is crucial when you are exercising. Injuries can occur because of improper equipment, which includes clothing and shoes. 


Proper Footwear: Wearing a supportive pair of sneakers is crucial. You’ll want to choose closed-toed shoes that fit comfortably as well as support and protect your feet, preferably with a rubber bottom.   Sandals are a no-no for both exercise classes and the Fitness Center.   In addition to causing a slip or trip, they do not provide the secure foot bracing that is needed in classes like aerobics or balance.   Open-toed shoes are unsafe and also dangerous in the gym, especially for use on treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes as they expose your feet to mechanical gears and moving parts. They also provide no protection if a weight were to fall on your foot. Ouch! For classes like yoga and Pilates where bare feet are the norm, special socks designed for these types of workouts have rubber grips on the bottom to increase your traction and reduce slips.

Comfortable Clothing: Comfort is key when choosing your clothing but wear items that are appropriate for your chosen activity.  Different workouts call for different clothes, so think about the kind of exercises you’ll be doing. If you’re headed to a yoga class, grab some stretchable fabric pants, shorts, or yoga pants. For classes requiring standing or a lot of movement, choose clothing that is loose but slim-fitting to your body.   Moving arms and feet can easily become entangled in baggy or flowing clothing such as draped shirts, wide-legged or palazzo pants.

Consider the Climate: In addition to the activity, also consider the climate. When available, choose lightweight breathable fabrics that wick sweat away from your body as opposed to pure cotton which only absorbs dampness and becomes heavy and bulky as it gets wetter. In addition to helping pull sweat away from your skin, fabrics made for performance wear can help cool your body down and sometimes even provide SPF protection from the sun.

Today, workout attire is relatively easy to find and doesn’t have to be expensive. Nearly every store, from Walmart to Nordstrom, carries their own line of fitness clothing. Previously only available in small, medium and large sizes, yoga pants, leggings, training pants and running shorts now come in all shapes and sizes, and the options are endless.   Athleisure wear is on the rise so chances are you’ll be able to find clothing and shoes that are made for your exercise style and safe for the activities you like to participate in.

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Topics: senior fitness exercise and wellness fitness for seniors

Creating a Simple Exercise Program

GettyImages-1304744611The first thing you want to do before building a workout plan is to start with the end in mind, what is your goal? Are you looking to lose weight, get stronger, increase flexibility, run a 5k? Once you figure out why you want to exercise it becomes easier to plan how frequency, duration, and what exercises you should do.

Building an effective strength training program can be simple when you follow this simple structure. Make sure each workout has a push, pull, squat, press, and hinge. These functional movement patterns incorporate all the muscles of the body. The movements are needed for activities we do daily.

A well-balanced exercise plan will incorporate different exercises that accomplish your goals. Mixing cardiovascular and strength training will give you great results, the best part is you can split it up into 10 minute exercise sessions. Try to incorporate these ideas into your next workout.

Struggling to get started and need some help? Reach out to your NIFS staff at your corporate fitness center, or your local gym to get you started with an individualized exercise prescription. Remember, when new to exercise, be sure to check with your physician before getting started.

Here are some examples of exercises using push, pull, squat, press, and hinge:


  • Pushups
  • Chest Press
  • Med Ball throw


  • Rows
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Pullups


  • Step ups
  • Squats
  • Squat Jumps


  • Overhead Press
  • Kneeling one arm overhead press
  • Front press


  • Good mornings
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Deadlifts

Try this quick strength plan today after a brief warmup, repeat 2-3 times:

10 Pushups

10 Rows

10 Squats

10 Overhead Press

10 Good Mornings

20 second Plank

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Topics: corporate fitness exercise program

Staff High Five: Tara VanNess

TVanNessWe say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.

  • Name: Tara VanNess
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 5 months
  • Position: Fitness Center Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was seeking a position to expand my experience in the health and exercise field.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: Connecting and working with a member that had a relatable injury from a past. It was easy to relate with her and share my experience of areas I could have rehabilitated better or different tools for success. Additionally, reconnected with a previous member who was a patient at my old job, before NIFS. He is hilarious and we constantly connect over his many injuries and training habits.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: I believe it is our ability to not only train but educate our members regarding our field. We can identify the reasoning behind why we have our members train a specific way or feedback on their training.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: The ability to build relationships with members. I get to see some of the same faces everyday and connect daily on what’s new in either of our lives. Lastly, I love learning something new every day such as various training styles, traveling, engineering, education, news, etc.
  • What motivates you: Personally, this question is heavily dependent on what goal I’m striving to achieve. However, as for as work the members and my co-workers are what motivate me to do my best and show up with a positive attitude.    
  • What is your favorite hobby: Currently, it is an outdoor light competition in my neighborhood for the holidays. On a regular basis, it’s spending time outdoors exploring with my dogs and boyfriend.

    Interested in learning more about our staffing services?  Click below for what best fits your needs.


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

Strategies to Avoid Overeating During Holidays

GettyImages-498303430The holidays are fast approaching and as we strive to help our corporate fitness members Maintain and Not Gain this season. Follow these tips and strategies to avoid tipping the scale or adding a notch to the belt over the next few weeks.

  1. Eat slowly - By eating slowly, you are giving the receptors in the stomach and intestines time to sense the expansion that occurs from your food entering and passing through your digestive track. It also gives your body time to release hormones that communicate with your brain that tell you that you’re full. The faster you eat, the easier it is to miss these communication signals which results in over-eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register the feeling of being full.
  2. Replace sugary beverages with water - Drink a glass of water before your meal. This will help you consume fewer calories and leave you feeling fuller. Drinking water before eating can help “prime” receptors in your stomach to send satiety signals to your brain before you take a bite. Symptoms of hunger and dehydration are similar, so you may overeat due to thirst if not properly hydrated.
  3. Eat until satisfied, not stuffed - During the holidays, this is much easier said than done. Avoiding the “food coma” feeling goes a long way though. If you eat until you are satisfied, you can avoid the cycle of overeating then napping right afterwards. If you eat until you are satisfied, you will still have the energy to go for a walk or play with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.
  4. Avoid distractions - When we watch TV or answer emails while eating, it causes us to tune out our body’s signals and scarf down whatever is in front of us. Being distracted leads people to consume more calories at that meal as well as later in the day compared to those who pays attention to their food while eating.
  5. Choose fiber filled foods - Foods that are rich in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, oats, and fruit, can help keep you feel satisfied longer and reduce the urge to overeat. A breakfast that is fiber-rich such as oatmeal leaves you feeling fuller leading to a smaller lunch portion.
  6. Eat protein rich foods - Protein can help you feel full throughout the day and curb your desire to overeat. Studies show that eating a high protein breakfast reduces hunger and snacking later in the day. It also tends to lower the levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates hunger.
  7. Decrease stress - Chronic stress increases levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that increases appetite. “Stress eating” is real. Studies have shown that being stressed can lead to overeating and weight gain.

As you head into the holidays we hope you will consider these strategies to avoid over eating. What tip(s) have you found most useful to you during the endless holiday meals and treats?

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Topics: employee health maintain not gain holiday eating

Aging Gracefully & Living Your Best Life!

GettyImages-1173389403When we think of aging, some think about wrinkles, aches, and pains and the negative associations of the aging process. Yet there is so much more to aging! No, we cannot stop the aging process, but we can choose to live a healthy lifestyle. This is the time to do things you have never done and find enjoyment.   Here are just a few things to consider when aging gracefully and living your best life!

Be nice to your skin

To keep your skin looking and feeling at its best:

  • Stay hydrate. On average we should drink 7-8 cups of water a day to keep our skin looking good and our body functioning appropriately. When we become dehydrated our skin can become dry and folded.
  • Wear sunscreen and even a hat to keep the sun off your face
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from sun damage
  • Use gentle skin care products
  • Make sure and have a yearly skin cancer screening


Regular exercise helps control your cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight, and reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries, stroke, and heart attack. A good fitness program conditions muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones to stimulate bone growth and helps prevent osteoporosis while keeping your body limber and lowering your chances of injury. Exercise is also good for managing low back pain, arthritis, and diabetes. Incorporating regular exercise into your life can help you feel better, sleep better and give you the endurance to enjoy your best life.

  • It is recommended to participate in cardiovascular exercise 3-5x/week for 30-60 minutes. Walking, dancing, and cycling are examples of cardiovascular exercise.
  • It is also recommended to do strengthening exercises 2-3/week. These exercises can be done with weights or bands.

Proper Diet

  • Eat food high in fiber to help with healthy digestion and to avoid constipation. High fiber foods will also make your belly full!   Men 51+ need 30 grams of fiber and women 51+ need 21 grams of fiber daily. When increasing your fiber intake start slow and work up to the proper daily intake.
  • Fill your plate with 50% fruits and veggies, 25% grains and 25% lean protein. Try to use fresh fruits and veggies that aren’t saturated in sugars and sauces. When choosing grains look for items that are whole grain such as bread, cereals, rice or pasta. And when choosing proteins go for the those that are lean in fat such as peanut butter, nuts/seed, bean, fish, or chicken.
  • Limit foods high in cholesterol, sugar and saturated or trans fats.
  • Refer to for more dietary guidelines for older adults

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Being happy and healthy goes a long way when it comes to mental health. Many factors can affect our mental health and some we don’t even realize. Being mindful of our stresses can improve our focus and our memory.

  • To keep your mental health in check surround yourself with good people. People who motivate you to be better and give off positive energy. Spend time with family, friends and loved ones.
  • Accept your age. Aging is unavoidable so learn to embrace it and live that best life
  • Get sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Shut off the electronics and let your brain relax and let your body rest. Getting enough sleep can help reduce stress, depression and even lower your risk of obesity.
  • Accept and live in the moment. Focus on the present and don’t stress over things you can’t fix. Engage in activities such as yoga or tai chi.

Though aging is inevitable we can influence how our journey goes.   It is never too late to start making healthy choices for a healthier happy future. Now is the time to age with grace and start living your best life!!

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Topics: active aging staying active healthy lifestyle healthy aging

Staff High Five: Angelica Patterson

We say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.

  • APattersonName: Angelica Patterson
  • City, State: Stone Mountain, GA
  • Years with NIFS: 6 years
  • Position: Fitness Center Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: a former co-worker who worked for NIFS   
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: During the program Personal Fitness Quest, I worked with a member for 6 weeks straight and to watch the improvement was amazing. Someone who started out needing a wheel chair after recovering from a fall all the way up to walking without assistance while improving overall balance.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Their attention detail when it comes to bringing value to different communities.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: Building relationships with the members, as well as helping in the professional development of the Health Fitness Specialist role. 
  • What motivates you: My family motivates me, I was taught at in early age that with anything you do you want to try your best as well as its not never too late to improve. 
  • What is your favorite hobby: Cheering on my favorite team the Philadelphia Eagles "Fly Eagles Fly".

    Interested in learning more about our staffing services? Click below for what best fits your needs.


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

The Recipe for Healthy Aging

GettyImages-896877320As we age, we are constantly looking for ways to continue living our lives to the absolute fullest. One key element to reducing the effects of aging and to warding off possible health threats is to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle!

Living an active and balanced lifestyle that incorporates a mixture of aerobic, muscular strength and endurance, and balance and flexibility exercises will help to ward off a wide range of diseases. For example, regular exercise helps the body control blood pressure, body fat, heart disease, anatomical and structural impairments, cholesterol, and can even help reduce cognitive decline.

More times than not have I heard clients tell me that the aches and pains, or other health issues they have is just part of aging. While this may be true to some extent, you can still improve your over well-being in your older adult years even if you have never exercised in the past. Of course, the earlier you get started with an exercise routine the better but even just by including a moderate amount of exercise has shown substantial health benefits particularly for adults 50 years and older. Now that you recognize that exercise can help turn around your health at any age, the next step is figuring out what types of activities you enjoy and will be able to stick with long term.

Beginning an exercise program later in life will require you to find more meaning behind why you are moving. As previously mentioned, you should choose activities in which you enjoy doing so that sticking to a regular program is easier. To avoid normal biological changes caused by aging, pursue kinder, gentler workouts that consist of slower and longer warm-ups and cool-downs, and exercise routines that focus on lowering the risk of injury while still promoting posture, strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and balance.

The most effective type of cardio training for an older adult is low impact physical activities. For example, swimming, walking, cycling etc. Many fitness professionals recommend a minimum of 20 minutes of cardiovascular training most days of the week. Personally, I have found it easier to get clients to commit to a cardio training program when they work their way up to 20 minutes. In other words, starting off small with bouts of cardio in 5–10-minute increments every day and then gradually increase the time. Just getting up and taking a walk around your apartment or through the halls can be a good way to burn some calories and get you moving!

Between the ages of 50-70 years old we lose 30% of our muscle strength. Sedentary adults beyond the age of 50 can expect to lose upwards of about 0.4 pounds of muscle per year. To slow this process down it is important to include strength training exercises into your routine at least twice per week. This way you will allow for adequate rest times for all muscle groups. It is important to have a strong upper body as well as a strong lower body. Increased leg strength has been shown to reduce the risk of falls with seniors greatly. Personally, I find it easier for my clients to stay committed to their strength training routine when they focus on the full body rather than splitting up their upper and lower body day.

One fear many older adults have is their increased risk of falling. On average falls are reported by 1/3 of all individuals over the age of 65. You can easily prevent your risk of falling by including regular balance training into your exercise program. Including a regular stretching routine into your overall exercise program can help to prevent injuries and can even help to increase blood flow to tired muscles, aiding in the recovery process.

The truth of the matter is that exercise is and will always be one of the main elements in living well across the lifespan. There are many ways to get started on an exercise routine. Everything from personalized exercise prescriptions, group fitness classes, and even personal training may be an appropriate starting point. There is something for every active ager out there, so get up and get moving!

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Topics: senior wellness active aging improving senior fitness

Senior living residents take on the NIFS Summer Games

Summer Fitness Games_AAEvery 4 (or 5) years a special summer event comes around that makes us all want to feel like an athlete. This year, residents in CCRCs from Minnesota to Florida showed that they have what it takes to compete in the NIFS Summer Games. NIFS fitness staff put together 8-10 different events that residents could compete in over the course of the Games. On the surface, this program looked like a way to celebrate the summer, but there was certainly more intention behind the design.

Functional Movements

The most obvious goal of the Summer Games program is movement. Each sport was chosen as a way for residents to motivate themselves to get some physical exercise into the day. But, while they were enjoying themselves, they were also performing functional movements in each activity. Some were obvious. For example, “gymnastics” was actually a series of balance exercises using cones, foam pads, and other tools. Walking and swimming events were also an obvious way to get more people to exercise to earn their medals. But what about sports like basketball, soccer, and table tennis? On the surface, it’s “just” tossing a ball at a hoop or kicking one into a basket, but have each of these incorporates other important skills as well. Think about it: to throw a basketball into a hoop you not only have to practice hand-eye coordination, cognitively calculate depth and force, but most people also perform a mini-squat to lob the ball up toward the hoop. For soccer, many of the same skills apply plus you have to balance on one foot to be able to line up and kick the ball.

Social Wellness

I think we can all recognize that the last 18 months have taken a toll on most people’s social and emotional wellness. One major barrier for some residents to come back to the fitness center and to group fitness classes is that they feel like they’ve lost their fitness. They are worried they won’t be able to keep up and so they are missing out on the physical benefits of regular exercise. One way to combat that feeling is to get people out of their homes and back into the social situations they love. Once they start to remember what they’ve been missing in the fitness center and with their friends and neighbors, it’s more motivating to come back to their regular activities.

And, of course, FUN!

At the end of the day there’s always going to be some element of trying to improve quality of life and infusing some fun into the community. For the NIFS Summer Games, much of the enjoyment for participants came from the competition aspect. Over 400 medals were handed out to participants across the program! Whether they were competing with other residents to see who could earn the most medals or challenging their own past performances, this one definitely brought out the athlete in everyone!

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Topics: senior living fitness programs for seniors

Testimonials Say It All – The Impact of Flexible Corporate Fitness Programs

Health You logo_CFMWhen members of our corporate fitness centers meet with our staff for a complimentary fitness evaluation or exercise prescription appointment, it has long remained our focus of meeting that employee where they are in their fitness journey. Whether they are rehabbing a knee replacement, looking to improve their half marathon time, or returning to work from maternity leave, our degreed and certified staff do a deep dive to learn about the employee’s goals, motivations, and barriers to tailor a program unique to their needs. Through the pandemic, meeting employees where they are has taken on new meaning as we developed a stronger capacity to support members beyond the four walls of their employer’s corporate fitness center. NIFS HealthYou programming provides an array of virtual fitness and wellness services to support employees as they work remotely or travel for business.

HealthYou has long been a value-added service for our corporate fitness management clients but the demand and awareness skyrocketed during the pandemic. Now that members have experienced the flexibility of fitness options that meet them where they are both personally and logistically, HealthYou engagement is here to stay - even as employees return to the office and have access to their onsite fitness center. After all, jumping into a fitness class on a Saturday morning or still being able to meet for your weekly training session while you travel for work are great solutions in helping employees stay active when they aren’t on campus. Don’t just take our word for it, here are a couple of fabulous testimonials from our members that speak to the achievements they’ve gained working with our staff with HealthYou virtual resources.


Crystal P. - Employee of Fortune 500 Company, Indianapolis, Indiana

“This has been a fabulous perk working for our organization. Working with a trainer once a week has really helped me and my husband get back into a routine. We can do it in our basement at any time. The workouts are short enough to do with little kids at home, they hit total body and met my goal of feeling stronger, more fit, and flexible! I have recommended this to a lot of coworkers and keep spreading the word. I hope you consider keeping this option around even after things return to normal or the new-normal. My trainer was Hannah and I loved working with her! Her workouts were challenging, yet fun. She is so positive and up-beat! Meeting her and getting to know her, also makes me more likely once back in the office to come down for a class or workout while she is there because I know her now. I told Hannah I wanted to get strong without the bulk and she came through. I am amazed at how I feel after doing her workouts and how much I did in a short amount of time. I feel meeting with her keeps me accountable to working out. Needing to report into Hannah is always on my mind, which in turn means I do my workouts, even when it is so easy to say I have other things to do. I am also connected to the Yammer page and the posts the fitness staff are making are great about classes, fitness tips and tricks, nutrition, etc. This perk helps me stay healthy, helps my family stay healthy and promotes fitness and health to our child! Please keep this the new norm, as something wonderful the pandemic has taught us! For me, this was a wonderful way to connect, meet someone new and grow! THANK YOU!”


Charlie - Employee of Fortune 500 Company, Indianapolis, IN Prove U Move_logo-01-3

“Thanks for the workout today. I thought I’d drop you a note to capture my appreciation. You have really been motivating and inspiring these last couple of months and I have really been impressed with both our live sessions and the wealth of materials (recorded library of workouts) that are available on-demand. As I do every year, I made a vow for New Years that I was going to seriously work to get back in shape. Thanks for helping me plan my goal of 300+ minutes of exercise per week. This has been a far more reasonable and attainable goal to track each week. I’ve successfully lost 16lbs in the last 8 weeks. Also when I was getting started on my game plan, I was looking at spending money on gym memberships and/or personal training options. The NIFS online content has actually been easier to use and easier to fit into my crazy work schedule, which means I’m much more likely to actually do it. I also really appreciate the monthly Prove YOU Move challenges which have kept me motivated and engaged. They actually work as little “above and beyond” challenges that add a little more to the daily routine.”

We’ve been promoting to our members that “your fitness is personal” and that’s not only in the design of their exercise program but also in exercising at a time and location that best meets their needs on a given day. The testimonials above are great examples of the personal fitness journey these members have been on over the past year with our amazing staff.

HealthYou can be a standalone service option for organizations who do not have an onsite fitness center or perhaps have employees to reach in various locations. HealthYou is also a value-added service for NIFS fitness center management clients to provide the flexibility and resources for employees to stay active with busy and dynamic schedules. Looking for additional resources on how to enhance your virtual wellness options, download our checklist or visit our website for more information on NIFS fitness center management.

Checklist for Building a Virtual Wellness Program


Staff High Five: Keith Ledbetter

We say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.

  • KLedbetterName: Keith Ledbetter
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 12 years
  • Position: Corporate Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I completed my internship with NIFS. I liked the NIFS model and how we are able to deliver our outstanding services to our clients and members. There are other ways of doing what we do, I think our way is the best.  
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: There are many moments that stick out in my mind, from people who achieved a large amount of weight loss to people who recovered from surgery, and gaining confidence after some traumatic life events and achieving their goals. The one that stick with me the most is when a member came down and started with NIFS PFQ program, then transitioned in to one of those “group fitness people.” She continued to see results and became the ignition point for the rest of her family to change some habits and get healthier too.  
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Curiosity. This trait is expressed in trying to find new ways to deliver programs, exercises, or new classes to our members. Furthermore, curiosity is expressed by asking how will this new thing help my people. We are able to take in all of these “tools” and apply them in the most appropriate way to the correct group of people.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: My people.
  • What motivates you: My members, I want to deliver what they are asking for in the best way for them. That keeps me looking and trying to find the wrinkle in the wellness world that will connect with them.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I have a few different hobbies, I like to garden, cook, bake, and some low level home DIY (floating shelves, tiling, what the wife sees on Pinterest and what I figure I can’t make it worse by trying). The through line of these hobbies being challenging myself and figuring out how to do something new.   


    Interested in learning more about our staffing services? Click below for what best fits your needs.


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff