Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Senior Living Lifestyle: Identify Your Wellness Champion

This series features insights on developing a robust wellness-based lifestyle at your community. Some content will cover practical tips and some will identify barriers to achieving success meant to spark conversation within your community. In part 1, I talked about defining wellness and the importance of how you use that word in branding. Read on for part 2.

Staff who work in senior living communities are some of the most compassionate, dedicated, and often creative people you will meet. Their plates are full, their to-do lists are long, and it can be a heavy lift to bring down the silos between departments, which is necessary to truly cultivate balanced lifestyle offerings for residents.

The problem is not that the staff are resistant to meeting with other stakeholders in resident well-being, having more dialogue, or planning differently. (Notice here I said planning differentlynot planning more. That is the key to this approach.) It’s that there is often a missing link in bringing these different people, talents, and departments together in a sustainable fashion.

Identify a Wellness Champion

ThisGettyImages-985893328 (1) is where it is critical that communities identify their wellness champion. This person can act as a catalyst in eliminating the silos and bringing everyone together to work from a unified vision of how lifestyle offerings and services are delivered to residents.

In NIFS’ case, where our staff members are regularly referring residents to therapy and the Registered Dietitian, or collaborating with activities or dining staff, shifting our onsite Fitness Manager’s focus to a Wellness Coordinator role has been a great fit in many client settings. It’s often a natural progression because residents and other departments are already accustomed to our staff bringing people together and fostering collaboration.

Our degreed and certified staff act as educators with community staff, and they also learn how to best tap into the personal passions and interests of the team members to improve buy-in to the process. After all, they’ve already been working with many of these stakeholders for some time on other programs. Now they are simply bringing everyone to the table with improved consistency and more structure.

Here are three tips when considering how to identify your wellness champion:

  • Your champion should talk the talk and walk the walk if they are going to advocate for the message of wellness and collaboration for your community. Ask yourself, “Who would be a good spokesperson at our community to message our wellness program to prospective residents?”
  • Your champion should have strong communication and interpersonal skills to foster collaboration among your wellness team. They should be able to determine how to tap into the personal passions and talents of those on the team to leverage strengths and improve buy-in.
  • Your champion should be well organized and have strong attention to detail. After all, they are the individual responsible for keeping the team organized, establishing timelines for special events, tracking completion of tasks, and more. The champion is once again that catalyst bringing everyone together and being responsible for maintaining cohesion among the team, so they must be organized.

Help from NIFS Consulting Services

Does your community need support identifying who your wellness champion is or how to shift roles and responsibilities to support this type of position? NIFS consulting services can help you answer those questions and many more to support a collaborative approach to wellness planning.

Find out more about NIFS Consulting Services >

Topics: nifs staff lifestyle philosophy in senior living nifs wellness consulting wellness-based lifestyle wellness branding wellness coordinator nifs consulting services

Senior Living Lifestyle: Don’t Let Wellness Definition Limit Potential

What Does Wellness Mean to You?

Wellness might be one of the most overstated and broadly defined terms in the senior living industry—at least in how it is modeled from one community to the next—and it can be exhausting trying to keep up. At community A, wellness might refer to your health service offices, therapy gym, or clinician staff; whereas wellness at community B might refer to your fitness spaces and programming. Neither of those models is wrong. Neither of those models is necessarily correct, either.

GettyImages-1161759077 (1)When we’re talking about whole-person well-being, it isn’t just the health care options available, or the fitness program offerings. Communities should be cautious about how narrowly they define “wellness” when connecting it to their physical spaces or services. This can have a significant impact in the messaging of your community culture to your residents and prospective residents. Supporting resident well-being should flow through every nook, cranny, department, and service under your roof; however, many communities miss opportunities because they want the word “wellness” labeled on a space or department.

Wellness Branding Barriers

Here are some remarks I’ve heard from communities through our consulting work, where they have unknowingly created barriers for themselves.

We can’t brand our lifestyle and wellness offerings because…

  • “We call our clinic our Wellness Center, and it will confuse residents.”
    You are right. If you want to put emphasis on sick care as opposed to preventative lifestyle offerings, this would cause confusion.
  • “We call our fitness room our Wellness Center, and it will confuse residents.”
    Once again, you are right. This sends the message to residents that the only space to support their well-being is associated with physical exercise.
  • “Our monthly “wellness newsletter” promotes our fitness offerings.”
    Once again, your communication channels with residents and how you promote monthly activities carry a connotation.

Slapping the term wellness on physical spaces, services, and communication channels narrows the potential, perspective, and understanding of how your community creates purpose and intention in resident lives. It also perpetuates the silos for staff and departments who have a stake in resident well-being, keeping them from seeing the potential of how their buy-in and collaboration can make an impact. (We’ll talk more about that collaboration piece in part 3 of this blog series.)

Questions for Starting a Wellness Branding Dialogue

Ask yourself these three questions as a guide in sparking dialogue in your community:

  • What person, space, or services would come to mind for our residents if we use the word wellness?
  • Does this connotation of wellness create opportunity for a broad application of purposeful lifestyle choices that spans the interests and passions of all residents?
  • What barriers can we identify that limit our potential for broadening that definition of wellness?

Identifying your current model and barriers is your first step in making positive change toward more effectively use that term “wellness” to your community’s advantage. And now that you’ve defined and branded wellness, part 2 of this series talks about the importance of designating a staff wellness champion for your community.

Wellness Consulting from NIFS

Need some support? NIFS provides wellness consulting to senior living communities across the US. Visit our website and download the “What to Expect from a NIFS Consulting Visit” for more information.

Find out more about NIFS Consulting Services >

Topics: senior living communities senior living fitness center communication lifestyle philosophy in senior living nifs wellness consulting wellness-based lifestyle wellness branding

Help for Foot Pain Could Be as Simple as Your Laces

GettyImages-1173137476 (1)Oh, my aching feet! More importantly, why do my feet hurt? Let me explain further. At times in the past, the top of my foot has felt like it was being crushed by the laces of my sneakers. I logically thought that all I needed to do was loosen the laces of my sneakers and it would solve the problem. It did not help. Really, all it did was create more problems because then my sneakers felt like they were going to fall off, and then the loose-fitting sneakers began to rub on and irritate my heels. On top of that, when I did loosen the laces, the shoes would then come untied too easily.

Asking a Podiatrist

I am a runner, and having this issue was becoming extremely frustrating. I even went so far as to try new running shoes (to no avail). After all of this, I began to think there was something wrong with my feet. I asked one of my friends, who happens to be a podiatrist, his thoughts. He began by asking me to take off my sneakers. (“Ugh,” I thought to myself, because I had just run in those things, and you could only imagine my embarrassment!) This first thing he did was take the insoles out of my shoes and examine them. He didn’t look at my feet—just my shoe insoles!

Then he said to me, “You have a high instep, and we need to create more space in your sneaker.” Create more space? I was perplexed. He then began to unlace my sneakers and re-lace them, avoiding lacing the middle eyelets of each shoe. I put my sneakers back on; and to my delight, I had no pain.

From there I began to think about how lacing your sneakers differently or more creatively could alleviate pain in your feet in other scenarios as well. Turns out, there is a plethora of information on the internet that speaks to that very topic.

The Important of Shoe Fit for Seniors

I am lucky enough to have a job doing what I love. I work in an active aging community, and so often I see people suffering with painful bunions, toe or foot deformities, and even arthritis. These painful issues combined with mobility problems seem to go together with people wearing ill-fitting shoes to accommodate their foot and/or mobility concerns. I see things like people buying shoes that are too big to make it easier to slide their foot in and out of, or trying to alleviate the pressure of a shoe pressing on an already painful bunion. Ill-fitting shoes can even increase your risk for a fall, and adversely affect things like circulation or neuropathy.

If balance or painful feet are an issue for you, you should start with your doctor first and from there consider meeting with a shoe-fit specialist only after your doctor has assured you that there is nothing that needs to be medically managed first. It may be something such as a shoe that is too large or small, or even just your laces!

I came across this article in Self magazine that speaks to creative lacing techniques. It made all the difference for me, and it might for you, too!

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Topics: shoes running active aging foot health foot pain pain

Transcending Generations with Wellness in One Word

NIFS is participating in the Wellness in One Word campaign sponsored by Monarch Collaborations and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA). The campaign will launch a digital photo gallery during Active Aging Week on October 1 – October 7, 2019 of individuals taking a picture or selfie while holding up their defined word of what wellness means to them in that moment. The goal is to collect and share 1,000 pictures to connect people, spark discussion and create a strong sense of community amongst participants across the world.

It is fascinating to think how this “word” can change for us so many times throughout the day depending on life’s stressors, our interactions with others, what we are able to accomplish in that day, etc.. It’s also interesting how this “word” might be felt or interpreted by different generations.

Emily.GratefulWhen I asked our NIFS team members to share their “word”, I received submissions of vitality, fulfillment, longevity, power, and balance. Our staff join our team from all walks of life and personal and professional experiences, yet their commonality is a strong desire and passion to work with seniors. Through providing individualized exercise services and teaching a variety of exercise classes, our staff are building relationships and helping improve the quality of life for older adults across the country. The tone and context of their submissions was similarly unified.

When I first started my career with NIFS, I managed a fitness program for a senior living client on the south side of Indianapolis. During my time at the community, I enjoyed sharing personal milestones with the residents of purchasing our first home, celebrating our first wedding anniversary, becoming pregnant with our first child and receiving a job promotion. As a young professional in that environment surrounded by active older adults with so many stories to tell about their own life experiences and rich histories, it helped me gain a strong perspective in how much one should truly cherish those milestones and experiences. While my job was to teach and lead the residents in various fitness programs, I learned so much from them in this perspective that I have carried with me through my career and life.

We can reflect on the emotional highs and lows of a given day or a given hour of a day when our words might be anxious, happy, excited, or accomplished. When it comes down to focusing on our overall well-being and pursuing a life of purpose and intention, I believe the “words” our staff are feeling transcend all generations whether you are a young professional at 23 beginning your career or an 83-year-old taking a balance class in a senior living community. The NIFS team is learning valuable lessons in how to appreciate those universal truths for all of us pursuing vitality, fulfillment, longevity, and balance. As I personally reflect on this campaign, our teams’ work serving older adults across the country, and what my “word” will be, I chose grateful.

Follow us on Facebook to see some of our Wellness in One Word submissions.

Topics: senior wellness continuing care retirement community active aging active aging week, inspiration wellness-based lifestyle

Fitness Staff Collaboration: NIFS Helps with Professional Development

IMG_2504Variety is the spice of life, and that’s what we’ll have in town this week at our annual managers’ meeting. Each year we fly our management team to our headquarters in Indianapolis for professional development, collaboration, and networking. Our passionate team arrives from across the U.S. from different client settings and with varying personal interests and backgrounds. Their one commonality is their passion for serving their members, and we love the dialogue and collaboration that unfold when everyone gets together.

3 Benefits of Collaboration for Fitness Staff

This connection and access to a wealth of resources is one of the strongest value elements we bring to our clients. They receive our onsite fitness staff managing their program and building relationships with members, plus the expertise of a national organization doing this work across the U.S. How does this routine collaboration truly elevate a fitness program?

  • They don’t feel like they are on an island. As a fitness professional in a corporate or senior living setting, it can feel like you are isolated without resources or like-minded individuals who have similar goals and job duties. NIFS has routine meetings, workshops, and events like our annual meeting in Indianapolis to bring new ideas, resources, and inspiration to your fitness program, keeping things fresh and exciting for your members as well as your fitness staff.
  • They can benefit from vetted programs and promotions. Sometimes it can be hard to execute a vision for a program or determine how to best reach a group of individuals because you aren’t quite sure how to get started or you are concerned about unanticipated road bumps along the way. NIFS managers regularly connect on a variety of platforms to discuss new ideas and ask for feedback among their peers. This provides members at our client sites with more finely tuned and professional programming.
  • They are connected to the latest trends. Fitness is a trendy industry, whether you are working with children, the general population, or seniors. By having staff from the four corners of the U.S. and a little bit of everywhere in between, this broad reach keeps our team connected to not only what is trending but how to educate and market new programming to members in our client settings.

3 Tips to Garner Collaboration for Fitness Staff

So what do you do if you aren’t connected to an organization like NIFS to help keep your staff connected?

  • Professional development: Provide funding to send your staff to workshops to help them stay plugged into the industry. Without an organizational connection they might still miss opportunities to learn how others are effectively implementing that type of programming in your setting, but it can certainly lead to some fresh ideas and keep staff inspired.
  • Create a network: Do you have neighboring communities or businesses with staffed fitness centers with which you could encourage collaboration? Perhaps there’s a network of senior living communities in your town where the fitness staff could get together once a quarter for idea sharing. Perhaps your group fitness instructors, trainers, and fitness manager at your corporate site could meet once a quarter to discuss what they are hearing from members, share ideas to attract new participants, etc. Your network can be in-house with existing personnel or branching out, but creating space for discussion among like-minded individuals can be advantageous.
  • Identify a strong contact: Whether or not someone at your setting is in-tune with the fitness industry, make sure your fitness staff has someone who has a good listening ear and an understanding of your fitness program’s goals. Fitness staff can feel less isolated in their decision-making when they have a partner at the site level who understands the work they are doing, and when they have someone in their corner for brainstorming or discussing member needs.

This collaboration is where the magic happens in taking a fitness program from good to great!

Find out more about NIFS Fitness Center Staffing

Topics: senior living fitness center fitness trends nifs fitness center management corporate fitness management onsite fitness center fitness center staffing nifs staff networking professional development

Partnering with NIFS—Not Your Average Fitness Contractors

IMG_1985One of my favorite things about my job is when I have the opportunity to visit our client sites and spend time with our staff. Not only are these team members exceptionally knowledgeable and creative in developing fitness offerings for active older adults, but their passion to serve their clients and residents never ceases to amaze me. I think this is what truly differentiates the service NIFS provides from a traditional contractor partnership—how our staff members become one of the team and integrate so seamlessly with the community’s staff and vision.

Examples of this were evident to me during a recent trip to Baltimore, where I had a chance to visit and connect with staff at three communities we serve.

We integrate with your team. Sometimes partnerships with contractors can feel like everyone is working in a silo, and opportunities to bridge communication, resources, and so on are missed. Our staff members are committed to learning about the culture at a community and building relationships with the key players who have a stake in resident well-being, including activities, dining, therapy, home health, and much more. Our staff members attend resident-care meetings, collaborate on upcoming programs and events, and fluidly refer residents to and from therapy services. For a client in Towson, Maryland, our staff meets regularly with the activities team to collaborate on a monthly programming calendar and a streamlined approach to what is offered to residents across the continuums of care. Each week, our fitness staff member also sets up the movie and serves popcorn in the theater at the movie matinee—they are part of the team and lend support beyond the four walls of the fitness center.

We learn about your residents. While many communities have similarities, what sparks enthusiasm and interest from residents can be different from one community to the next. Our staff members learn about resident interests through surveys, evaluating program outcomes, and tracking participation data to measure the impact of various programs. Then they hone in on niche offerings in which the residents are most receptive. In some communities, residents thrive on healthy fitness competitions, while others are more engaged in educational presentations. We tailor programs and services to the unique needs and interests of each community we serve. For a client in Pikesville, Maryland, our Fitness Manager has learned just what makes the residents tick, down to the time of day they schedule offerings for peak engagement. Our manager strikes just the right balance in maintaining steady favorites while introducing new programming to keep residents inspired and challenged.

We help you reach your goals. The community’s goals become our staffs’ goals, and being a part of the team helps us support those efforts. Our staff members have helped clients expand brain-fitness offerings, navigate construction and design projects, as well as bridge programs and services across the continuums to better serve residents in licensed-areas. Communities are regularly evolving to meet the needs of their residents and prospective residents, and we are proud to partner with clients in playing whatever role we can to support those efforts. For a client in Baltimore, Maryland, we have worked hand in hand with their architects and leadership on the design of a new fitness center as they undergo renovations. Our Fitness Manager has done a tremendous job navigating the messaging to the residents about transitions to temporary spaces, changes in class times, and so on.

Residents often don’t recognize our staff as contractors and have the impression that we are community personnel, and that is fine by us. The more fluid and integrated we are, the more the residents and our clients benefit. This recent trip to Baltimore exemplified this continuity at all of our client locations in the area, and I once again took pride in watching our staff in action, doing what they do best!

Find out more about a free consulting session with NIFS >

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior fitness management senior living community nifs fitness center management fitness center staffing

Creating Purpose for Residents in Senior Living

MMFC_Becca with member-1Fitness management is the cornerstone of our business. Recently we have seen an uptick in clients requesting our support in developing broader wellness programming for their residents through the continuums of care. Sometimes the need arises due to challenges with community personnel who don’t have the tools and resources to cultivate the desired lifestyle for residents. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have a point person to pull everyone together out of their silos across the continuums. Sometimes it’s both! Sound familiar?

How Well Is Your Community Collaborating on Purposeful Programs?

Ask yourself a few questions about how well your community is collaborating and building programs with purpose and intention:

  • Do activities staff collaborate regularly on program and service options across departments and disciplines such as dining, fitness, health services, the chaplain, and the social worker?
  • Do activities staff across all continuums of care collaborate regularly on programs and services and work toward common goals together?
  • Is your calendar full of activities to keep your residents busy (for example, cards, movies, speakers, shopping trips, and so on), or is your calendar crafted with activities that create purpose for residents?

A Visit with a Senior Living Client in New Jersey

I provided a solution to these answers during a recent visit with a senior living client in New Jersey. We have been providing our traditional fitness management services to this client for the past four years. The approach we discussed was shifting our degreed and certified staff into a Wellness Director role, who maintains fitness duties in the fitness center while also facilitating a strong collaborative approach with activities personnel in independent living and health care.

This particular client has come to expect creative and diverse program offerings from our Fitness Manager. Events offered last month for Active Aging Week included Yoga Poses and Doggy Noses (yep, that’s yoga with dogs folks), a Blood Drive, and Movies & Smoothies. Past events included their Polar Plunge, Mind Moves, and Healthy Habit Bingo. As the client recognizes the experiences we create for residents that promote engagement and movement versus sit-and-listen events, they begin to lean on us to support them more broadly outside the realm of fitness. We are also seeing a strong desire for the standard of programming cultivated within independent living to carry consistently through assisted living and health care environments. But we are aware of the struggle communities have to bring that to fruition.

NIFS Staff Members Make the Difference

Our strength lies in the people we hire—in their ability to build exceptional relationships with the residents who participate in their programs and also with the staff at the community with whom they collaborate regularly. Their background as health and fitness professionals empowers them with program solutions to support whole-person well-being. The tools and resources they have behind them from NIFS create the space for strategic planning with key stakeholders in resident well-being.

We essentially become a champion for your community by fueling ideas, breaking down the silos, and getting everyone working from the same playbook on a new standard of program and service offerings. If you are interested in hearing more about NIFS's support of broader wellness programming within your senior living communities, contact me or read on.

Find out more about a free consulting session with NIFS >

 

Topics: senior fitness management functional movement resident engagement senior living activities activities calendar senior living nifs staff

5 Design Considerations for a Senior Living Fitness Center

Sagewood - Kimberly 005This has been the year of design and consulting work for senior living clients who are renovating or building new fitness centers. I think I could give you the dimensions of a NuStep T4r model in my sleep (they are 60 x 27 x 24 inches, by the way). It truly is exciting to see the industry dedicating resources to well-designed fitness spaces to support quality programs and services for residents.

Although getting the right equipment and layout is important, these five design elements come up time and time again and should be considered early in the planning process. They might not be the same level of financial investment as your large equipment purchases, but they can significantly enhance your users’ experience and the program’s success.

  • Televisions and entertainment: Determine whether you will pursue wall-mount televisions or the integrated console option on the cardio machines. With some equipment like NuSteps and rowers not having the integrated TV option, you will want a wall-mount TV somewhere in your facility. With wall-mount TVs you’ll have to navigate the channel wars for the lifelong battle between Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, which individuals have VERY strong preferences for—imagine that! Consider an FM tuner option with headphones if needed, but we generally see residents politely following the first-come, first-served rule.
  • Water source: Don’t forget to dedicate space for a water fountain or hydration station in the fitness center and where group fitness classes are held, or within immediate proximity. It’s highly important to encourage hydration during exercise. The more conveniently located the water source, the better.
  • Balance training area: When designing a fitness center, most think of cardio equipment, strength equipment, and then a stretching area. Don’t forget about an area dedicated to balance training. This can be as simple as a wall with a handrail and a balance pad. A balance training area can be one of the busiest spots in your fitness center—particularly if you have qualified staffing to provide fall-prevention programming.
  • Mirrored walls: Coaching residents on how to perform exercises in front of a mirror can make a significant impact on reinforcing proper form and posture. This can be especially important in group fitness spaces or in areas of the fitness center where residents might be performing balance, resistance band, or dumbbell exercises.
  • Exercise chairs: We are big fans of the Resistance Chair for exercise classes, but if you are using traditional chairs, consider these specifications to make them more exercise-friendly. Armrests can be obstructive to a number of upper-body exercises, limiting a participant’s range of motion. Choosing an option without armrests or a slimmer armrest option is ideal. Also consider the height and weight of the chair; many chairs are used as a stable base of support and serve as a handle during standing exercises. Consider a chair with a taller backrest that can help residents maintain a tall, upright posture while performing exercises.

These minor details can make a big impact on the functionality of the space and programming options. We have designed dozens of senior living fitness centers and take these things and much more into consideration when creating the most functional and comfortable space for residents. Check out NIFS’ Senior Living Wellness Consulting page for more insight into how we support fitness center design projects across the country.

Find out more about a free consulting session with NIFS >

Topics: balance technology senior living fitness center fitness center design equipment senior wellness consulting

Build Relationships to Grow Your Wellness Program

As the manager of your wellness program, have you ever been at the point where participation has stalled a bit? Maybe January was huge with all the New Year’s resolutions and February was decent, but it slowed down in March and April. So how do you reach out to that crowd that’s a little less motivated to participate in your wellness programming?

Learn names.

Think about the last time you were new in a place—maybe a gym, maybe a church, maybe even your favorite restaurant. It’s a little uncomfortable, right? Even if you’re an extrovert and you love meeting new people, it’s not the same feeling as walking in to a group of friends. Now think of how much more at ease you would feel if you heard your name and turned around to see someone you knew. Take the time and make the effort to learn as many names as you possibly can. And then use them! Asking “Hello, Mrs. Smith, how’s your day going?” can go a long way toward building a rapport with Mrs. Smith and making her feel welcome in the fitness space.

Invite them out for coffee.

Get to know them! The point of this coffee date is not to probe them with questions about why they aren’t coming to this amazing triathlon event you’re having with all the prizes. The reason you’re sitting down and taking 20 minutes out of your day specifically for them is to build a relationship. Ask them about their family, their career, their hobbies. Get to know them on some level and show that you genuinely care about them as a person. That’s it. You don’t even need to invite them to come down to the fitness center sometime. You’re planting a seed. Then, eventually, if you’re hosting a wellness event that has something that might appeal to them, make a point to speak to them about it directly and see if they’d like to come.

GettyImages-483770407 (1)Hand-write cards and notes.

Yes, it’s impractical to hand-write every notice or invitation that goes out advertising your wellness program. But it is absolutely practical to take a minute to write someone a two- or three-sentence note in a birthday card once a year. Make people feel special! If there’s a program where you think “Mrs. Smith would be perfect for this,” write a sentence or two on the bottom of the postcard that’s going out with the information on it. Something as simple as “I hope to see you there!” can go a long way if it’s in your handwriting with your signature at the bottom.

Remember the details.

I struggle with this one because I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time so my memory isn’t great. So, I write it down. If Mrs. Smith comes to show me the 72 photos that she just received in the mail of her new baby great-granddaughter, I’m going to write a note to myself to remember that baby’s name so that I can ask Mrs. Smith about her in a few weeks. It seems tedious and small, but I promise you that remembering those details goes a long way in building trust with that member.

What other ways do you build relationships with people who interact with your wellness program?

Partner with NIFS to improve your senior living community

Topics: corporate wellness senior wellness motivation participation personal interest wellness programs relationships

Future Fitness: What’s Hot and Where Are Our Workouts Headed?

The fitness industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Fitness has gone through many transformations throughout history, with plyometric-based activities being the first main form of staying in shape. People trained for functionality and usability of techniques and strength in general. Today, we have become much more personalized and have many driving factors behind why and how we work out.

GettyImages-1132973672 (1)Fitness Fads vs. Classic Methods

Today’s fitness industry is wildly different from even 10–15 years ago. We have had many fads in the industry that have peaked and disappeared. Some of these were deserving of such a fate, but there are some staples that have seemed to stand the test of time. These types of fitness methods include standard weightlifting/bodybuilding style, pioneered by the generation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the marathon runs that started centuries ago with Olympic athletes. In my opinion, some people stick to traditional methods, and others like to go with what is new and fresh in the industry.

Group Fitness Trends

Group fitness classes are adapting to changing wants. These wants have gone from the likes of Tae Bo and Jazzercise to Boot Camp–style classes, CrossFit, hot yoga, immersive spin classes, and a mix of different styles like PiYo and others. This has shown that classes are becoming more varied, and are allowing people to be more specific in the type of class they want to participate in. I love this adaptation, and I hope it continues to grow for people who like the group environment. (Look here for more of what NIFS is offering in Group Fitness.)

The Impact of Technology on Fitness

Today’s fitness industry is quickly incorporating technology to improve not only the experience of working out, but also the data available afterward. People are becoming more educated about the effects of exercise from a physiological standpoint, and are tracking metrics normally not available to people even a few years ago. Wearable technology allows people to track their heart rates and performance in real-time, which provides an intrinsic motivation to continue on their workout routine. This is just one part of the industry that is quickly seeing changes.

Fitness equipment seems to be smarter and smarter by the day, with machines getting larger TV screens that give many options in real-time data, as well as entertainment like video games controlled by the exercise performed (such as with spin bikes and rowers).

My Predictions

All this advancement in technology has inspired my predictions on the future of the fitness industry. I believe the introduction of DNA-based fitness testing and performance measurement will make its way into the mainstream industry soon, as well as augmented-reality–based training, allowing individuals to escape the standard gym environment and become fully immersed in a new experience. It seems that social media is a large driving force for these new technologies and workout types, and I can see these being popular for people who want to try the newest and greatest technology in their workouts.

If you ask me, I will stick with the simple workouts: run and lift some metal. Call me old school, but with the advancement of fitness technology and equipment, the same task needs to be accomplished at the end of the day, and if I can simplify that process, I will go that route. However, I still look forward to what the future holds!

Topics: NIFS technology fitness trends group fitness workouts