Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to Start a Home Garden

Having a home garden is a simple and rewarding way to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs while also being physically active. Springtime is the perfect season to begin planning which plants you want to grow, organizing the layout for your garden, and preparing the space. Gardening can add value to your life no matter your time commitment, space, or experience!

Check out these steps to get your home garden started:

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  1. Where to Plant? Most plants thrive when they review direct sunlight, so you ideally want to place your garden in a spot where it will receive the most amount of direct sunlight throughout the day.
  2. What to grow? Most farmers recommend starting your first garden by growing items that you consistently eat now as well as items that can be easily preserved or stored. Each individual seed packet has directions referring to growing duration, when to harvest, and when to germinate the seeds. For best results, review each individual seed packet and plant based off those recommendations.
  3. Prepare the space. Some people opt to till-up the ground, talk about a great way to burn calories, others choose to build or purchase raised garden beds. The benefit of raised beds are that they allow you to maximize the space you have, especially if you live in a dense area such as the city or even an apartment. They also help to make gardening and more manageable for the first-time gardener. The downside of using raised beds are that you will need to invest more resources into the purchasing and building and filling the beds. Consider what material you use, increase nutrients to the soil by use of compost, manure, sand, and peat moss.
  4. Plant the seeds. It is best to refer to the seed packets for more specific instructions about depth, timing, and other important variables. Additionally, it is important to plant any tall items, such as tomatoes, corn, or anything grown on a trellis on the North side of the garden. This will allow the shorter items to still receive enough southern sun without anything impeding the direct light.
  5. Garden maintenance. Now that your garden is planted you want to maintain your efforts to help your garden flourish. Be sure to weed 2-3 times per week to h
  6. elp over growth or invasion of unwanted weeds. Water daily, keep your plants hydrated. Consider mulch or wood chips around the base of your plants.

Don’t let your lack of space keep you from gardening!

If you do not have a yard or have limit space on your property, then container gardening will be the best place to start. Many individuals will use small to large planters to grow various herbs and even some smaller fruits and vegetables. The same steps from above apply to container gardening: correct placement of the containers, proper sunlight, soil, and room to grow.

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Topics: outdoor exercise

4 Tips for Seniors to Maintain and Improve Balance

Talk to almost any senior about exercise and physical health and it likely won’t be long before they talk about a fear of falling. Falls become a major risk with every year one ages. For exactly this reason it is vital to prioritize balance and stability when training the senior population. Without the ability and confidence to walk comfortably, get on and off the floor, and move safely into and out of a seated position, seniors sacrifice a certain quality of life. On the contrary, improving balance and stability can dramatically increase the quality of life in senior populations. It’s easier to participate in more activities and socialize more if one is not nervous of stumbling or falling on the way there.

GettyImages-628029916I have found appropriate strength training to make a huge difference improving balance. Several regular attendees of our group fitness classes have remarked that they feel more stable while walking, that they feel more confident getting out of chairs or off of the floor, and that they feel their hips and leg muscles working more to stabilize their body while standing or walking. This improves confidence and allows them to walk further, perform more advanced exercise, and remain more active in their daily lives. Strength can be a life saver! Check out these four tips for seniors to maintain and improve balance:

1. Use your hips!

The entire lumbopelvic complex (core and hips) is helpful for full body balance. The more one improves their core and hip strength, the more these muscles can contribute to full body stability. In our group classes we perform sit to stands (standing up out of a chair), one leg balances (supported against a wall if necessary), seated leg extensions, seated or standing hip abductions, seated or standing marching, and many more exercises that strength train the hip complex to improve balance.

2. Walk more (as long as it feels good)

If you can walk comfortably and without pain, it won’t hurt to add a little extra walking to your daily routine. Every time we walk, we are training our balance as every muscle of our lower body has to constantly be stabilizing as we shift our weight from one foot to the other. Walking is one of the best and simplest exercises to perform and requires no equipment.

3. Stand when possible

Many exercises can be performed seated or standing. As long as you feel comfortable to perform exercises standing, you will be working your balance. Even exercise such as overhead presses or bicep curls will help improve balance as the hips and core need to be active while standing.

4. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it

One of the worse things we all witnessed during the strict COVID lockdown was the loss of physical ability. Daily physical movement that people took for granted was suddenly severely limited. Without a regular daily schedule it becomes very easy to pass the days with little to no physical activity. Many found that their strength, balance, mobility, and endurance had decreased over the course of the lockdown. The best way to avoid this is to find ways to practice balance throughout the day. We have already mentioned walking more, but practicing getting in and out of seated positions, practicing getting on and off the floor, and practicing exercise that help you improve balance will all be critical for maintain these abilities for as long as possible.

Let us know if you have any enjoyable or interesting ways to maintain and train balance! Is your community in need of balance programming? Check Balance Redefined below.

Learn more about our balance redefined programming

Topics: balance balance training balance training for seniors

Staff High Five: Hannah Nordin

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.

  • Name: Hannah NordinHNordin
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 1.5 years
  • Position: Assistant Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was working as a trainer at another gym, but I was eager to find a job that expanded my role. I felt like NIFS was a perfect fit because my role allows me to train individuals 1:1, create and teach fun group fitness classes, design and lead corporate programs, and more. I love using my knowledge and passion for fitness in creative ways with NIFS.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: I worked with a member who participated in the PFQ program. She used to be a collegiate athlete so had plenty of background knowledge about fitness. She hadn’t prioritized working out in a while and came to me for accountability. While she was working with me, she learned new combo moves, improved balance, improved stamina, and restored her passion for fitness. She even got her husband and her daughter involved in some of her workouts!
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: A NIFS fitness pro is dedicated to not only giving the members what they ask for, but going above and beyond. We care about the members as individuals and educate them so that they have the tools to succeed in their fitness journey. We provide creative ways to incorporate physical activity into our members’ daily lives and most importantly, we lead by example because we know how important is to not only talk about fitness but actively participate and prioritize it in our own lives.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I LOVE that the client prioritizes their employees health. They work with us to push out programs and information to all employees, not just the fitness center members. We work with some of the other contractors in the nutrition and wellbeing field to offer employees the best health experience possible.
  • What motivates you: I am motivated to help and inspire members because I know how much physical activity has positively impacted my life. I have had so many members start on a path toward a goal and in the process, find out that they are gaining so much more than what they expected. I like to say that physical fitness is just one component of well-being, but that it can be one of the most powerful sources of health and happiness.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love hiking, camping, and being outside as often as possible!

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Wellness Professional

wellness.nifs.orghubfsScreen Shot 2020-10-06 at 12.20.42 PMTwo of the most common challenges I hear from our fitness management and consulting clients is that they want to enhance their employee wellness offerings but (1) they don’t have an onsite fitness center or (2) they have a small fitness center and they are having a difficult time strategizing a broader program due to perceived space constraints. In both of these scenarios, there remains much opportunity to provide diverse programs and services. The key factor to driving engagement is having a wellness champion to garner participation within the four walls of your fitness center or developing motivating wellness initiatives to support employees in-person and virtually within your organization. A true health and fitness professional possesses the knowledge, skills and creativity to adapt wellness offerings to meet the unique needs of your organization. Here are the top 5 ways your organization can benefit from having a dedicated health and fitness professional at the helm of your employee wellness program.

  1. They can build relationships with your employees. Nothing garners participation like someone who understands the barriers and goals of your employees. The support and understanding to help employees identify their goals with checkpoints, support and praise in their journey is widely successful as employees crave accountability.
  2. They can help you deliver on your goals. You want to do better with robust wellness offerings for your employees but having the time to develop and execute on that vision can be a challenge. A qualified health and fitness professional knows how to collaborate and align programs and services in your wellness program to help you meet your goals.
  3. They can assess outcomes and innovate fresh offerings. Offering random health education lectures and fitness classes is a great start, but someone leading the charge of your wellness program can be better tuned into the topics, formats, etc., that are of the most interest of your employees. Setting program goals, conducting evaluations and surveys and assessing participation paves the way for innovating fresh new programs that keep your employees asking what’s next.
  4. They can drive collaboration. Whether it’s promoting services and resources within your EAP, collaborating with your cafeteria vendors on healthy dining options, or cross-promoting health services with your clinician staff, a multidisciplinary approach helps you meet the spanning interests and needs of your employees while also keeping promotion of the resources your organization provides at the forefront.
  5. The can champion your offerings. Sending out a company email about an upcoming health lecture is a great way to spread the word to the masses but having a trusted face and voice to connect with employees who could benefit from participating is a difference maker. You need an advocate who is connected with your employees to send invitations and rally participation in what you are offering.

Recognizing qualified staffing as a solution for your employee wellness program is one thing and knowing how to hire is another. Check out our best practices for tips in recruiting some of the best in the business. Looking for additional support in strategizing a plan to enhance your employee wellness program or an onsite fitness center, contact NIFS today for a complimentary consulting appointment.

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Bust Outdoors this Spring!

GettyImages-1225849007The winter months have come to a close and we have officially made it to April. It is the time of year when Spring has finally returned. The days are getting longer and warmer as we finally start getting back to a more normal environment. It’s time to take part in the many joys that Spring brings. During the winter months, we spend so much time indoors that by the time Spring rolls around our bodies are in desperate need of some Vitamin D. Make time to get outside each day to soak up that sun and warmth you have missed!

Check out these ideas and make the time to step outside:

  1. Go for a walk or run: For some, getting your steps in is hard during the winter months if you don’t have access to a treadmill or place to walk safely. Now that it is Spring, the outside can be your gym! Take your workout outdoors and find walking or running trails. You can also walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the seasonal changes.
  2. Garden: Try something new and work on planting a garden or try your green thumb at house plants. It doesn’t have to be anything too big. Start with a couple of vegetables or some different flowers. This gives you a great excuse to get outside and sneak some exercise in as well. If you are needing some inspiration of where to start with a garden, check out this link!
  3. Do your work outside: If you are working from home it can be very easy to get stuck in the habit of sitting at the same spot day in and out. If you have the ability and flexibility to, take your work or computer outside to the back patio. This change of scenery is a great way to get a breath of fresh air and soak up vitamin D.
  4. Grill out on the patio: Try planning to grill out a couple times a week or even take your lunch break outside. If you have kids at home, plan a picnic in the backyard for a fun activity. Spending some time outdoors at the end of the day is a great way to decompress after a long day.
  5. Encourage the family to get outside: Schedule a household recess. Take a break from technology and spend time with outdoor activities during the evening. A family walk or bike ride is a great way to burn some energy and build lifelong habits.

What do you most enjoy about spending Spring outdoors?

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Topics: outdoor exercise

NIFS is Supporting the Heartline Study and You Can Too

GettyImages-1200863072With NIFS non-profit mission rooted in research and helping people age successfully through the lifespan, we are excited to support a new research study from Johnson and Johnson, in collaboration with Apple. Heartline is a heart health study for individuals 65+ with the goal of helping participants understand and directly engage in their heart health and improve health outcomes.

As NIFS is currently partnered with dozens of senior living communities across the country and our residents love to learn about a variety of health topics, current research, and trending technology, we reached out to Heartline to learn more. What we discovered is that NIFS is uniquely positioned within the senior living industry to help support this study while also inspiring our residents with their desire to learn, contribute and be active.

Check out the website at www.heartline.com/NIFS as they do a great job describing the intentions of the study and how to get involved. Anyone residing in the US who is 65+ with an iPhone 6s or later and who has Medicare coverage is eligible to participate. Hello huge boomer population, we are talking to you! You don’t have to be personally invited or residing within a senior living community to get involved. If you meet the criteria above, you can visit the website to get started.

Here are a few things that I took away from our first discussion together that I really liked about Heartline and the helpful folks from Johnson and Johnson.

  • Ease of use: The study first launched in early 2020 giving them opportunity to gather user feedback on the Heartline app. If we were to introduce the study to our members, we knew that many would have questions on the ease of participating and using their iPhone or Apple watch. The Heartline app is in the app store and is currently rated at 4.6 stars with many positive reviews on not only how easy it is to participate but how individuals have increased their physical activity levels as a result of participating. Win #1.
  • Participant perks: By joining the study, individuals are not only contributing to medical research but they receive heart health education and have an opportunity to earn rewards. Again, reading some of the reviews within the Heartline app is a great showcase of how beneficial some participants have found the educational aspect to be in making positive lifestyle choices. Win #2.
  • Getting started: The knowledgeable team members from Johnson and Johnson made it easy for NIFS to get started in promoting Heartline by providing us with marketing collateral to help spread the word to our members. Not only did they provide flyers and newsletter article content we could use, but they helped us tailor it in a way that aligns with our messaging to our members while meeting their standards. Win #3.

NIFS is now promoting the Heartline study within the fitness centers we manage in senior living communities to be an advocate of research, heart health and technology in the realm of physical activity and older adults. You can be an advocate too by sharing the website with local senior centers, senior living communities, church groups, or the seniors in your life.

Topics: resident wellness programs improving senior fitness

Staff High Five: Tim Parrott

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.

  • TParrottName: Tim Parrot
  • City, State: Nashville, TN
  • Years with NIFS: Four years
  • Position: Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I came onboard with NIFS as a health fitness specialist near Chicago, IL. I was attracted to the opportunity to help older adults live longer, better lives using my education and fitness skillset.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: While a typical workweek is full of hundreds of interactions with members, I’m always encouraged when any member fights through a hard life event. While some breeze through surgeries or other setbacks, other members have a really hard time coming back. Working with Physical Therapy and other community leadership that value NIFS, I am impacted whenever I get to be a part of their recovery.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: NIFS has done a great job distancing ourselves from the inconsistent staffing standards of the fitness industry at large. Based on the need for experience, education, and specialized certification when working closely with older adults, NIFS sets the bar pretty high. Another huge distinguishing factor are the supervisors that communicate clearly and welcome conversations about new ideas.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: My favorite thing about working at my client site is being part of a community that prioritizes and invests in the health and wellness of their residents. A big example of this is the Healthy Life Center that will soon celebrate 2 years of operation. Having an intentionally designed fitness center, pool, and dedicated group exercise studio makes all the difference in my work and residents’ lives.
  • What motivates you: I am motivated by an internal drive to be the best husband, father, and version of myself that I can be.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love to woodwork and have created lots of furniture and cooking accessories for our home.

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

    ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff

Active Aging: Avoid Getting Rusty, Move More!

GettyImages-1287271703Actress Helen Hayes lived by these words, and lived a full and happy life well into her 90’s. So what do we mean by this motto….if you rest, you rust? Simply put, our bodies are made to move and if we become sedentary, our bodies get “rusty” as in our joints become stiff, our bones can become brittle and we lose muscle mass.

Many senior citizens are very active and live by these words, however there are still many that are not on board. I have heard over the years from inactive seniors that their fear is they will be in more pain. They already suffer from osteoarthritis and feel that exercise will make them feel worse. In actuality it is the exact opposite. Inactivity is causing the joints to become stiff and “rusty”! So how do we convince an inactive senior that it’s never to late to get started? How do we convince them that if they begin an exercise regimen that they will have less joint pain? We can start by giving them sound data from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).” Their stance is that physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain.” So now that we have them convinced, what are the best exercises for arthritis? We always want to include the modalities of cardiovascular exercise to increase endurance, strength training to increase muscle mass and prevent bone loss and lastly but probably most important is stretching to increase flexibility. Before starting an exercise program always consult your physician. Once cleared, one of the best places to be is in the pool! Aqua Aerobics, water walking or swimming offer the bouncy of the water to help ease joint pain and many facilities keep the water temperature warm at 78-83 degrees, which is considered therapeutic. Most aqua aerobics classes also offer strength training with aqua dumbbells and stretching at the conclusion of the class. If water isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps try a gentle yoga class, a chair yoga class, a low impact aerobics class or Tai Chi for gentle movement and balance. If group exercise classes are not to your liking, you may want to exercise in a fitness center. Cardiovascular equipment such as the stationary bike or a NuStep are great ways to increase your endurance. You might consider working with a personal trainer for help with strength training and flexibility and working with a trainer also helps with accountability.

The ACSM recommends exercising 150 minutes per week which is 30 minutes a day, 5 times per week. If you’re just getting started, work towards this goal. Just remember that famous line from Helen Hayes, “If you rest, you rust”! Keep moving forward, we’re not looking back!

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Topics: staying active

Staff High Five: Luci Wyatt

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.

  • LWyattName: Luci Wyatt
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 2.5 years
  • Position: Fitness Center Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I didn’t learn about NIFS until after I graduated from college (UIndy). I saw the job posting and as any good candidate would, I researched the company. After that, I was drawn in by the research partnership that NIFS has with IUPUI and that NIFS is a very unique commercial fitness center by being the only one. Furthermore, that the main NIFS building was the site for the Panam Games.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: There are so many to choose from! From providing challenging workouts to the active aging members, to my most recent feed back from a special member, but the one that sticks out the most would be when I was managing a corporate site, I had a member start coming to my group fitness classes that was in need of motivation. She started unable to do most of the core exercises, even with modifications. I kept encouraging her to just try her best and that time will be the key. Sure enough, about 6 months in she was able to keep up with me in the core class and even hang in there some of the younger class goers.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Working for the corporate fitness side of NIFS, we are able to be literally and figuratively closer to our members. We have more of an idea of what the work environment is like for our members and can meet the needs of what their “long day” brings. We can also encourage our members to come see us at the fitness center when the fitness center is usually just steps away from their desk. This advantage helps build confidence and consistency in our members’ returning for services.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I enjoy the different backgrounds of people, like, we have engineers, graphic designers, lawyers, executives, account managers, and the like. When all of these different people come to the gym, it seems to level the playing field. And of course, when I would teach in person group fitness, I’m the boss!
  • What motivates you: It’s cliché but, I love working with people. To define “working with”, I love to get to know them on a personal level, what their likes and dislikes are outside of fitness, how they decided to take the path they are on for their career and so on. I love the stories that people carry with them, depending on their age, they could be walking time capsules. When members reach out to me about wanting to participate in a program or service, it’s my chance to become part of their story.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love to garden and tend to my house plants! It’s always exciting to get a new plant baby.

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff

Staff High Five: Tylene Costello

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.

  • T.CostelloName: Tylene Costello
  • City, State: Howell, MI
  • Years with NIFS: 1 year, 8 months
  • Position: Director of Lifestyle and Health
  • What brought you to NIFS: Throughout my fitness career, I have always enjoyed working with seniors. Many years ago, I worked at another wellness and fitness facility. I had to create programs for post-rehabilitation, pool programs, and was introduced to Silver Sneakers, a government subsidized senior fitness program. I loved teaching Silver Sneakers classes, and teaching and educating the older population on the multiple facets of fitness training. Several years later, I was in search of a similar position, and that is where I found a listing for a part-time health fitness specialist with NIFS. I have loved every minute that I have been working for the Active Aging group for NIFS at my community location.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member:  There are too many special moments that I have shared with members. I can’t pick one. Each and every one of my members have such a unique and interesting background and history. I love that they share memories of their families, and past jobs with me. I really enjoy when they come into my office and just want to talk about their day. Each and every moment that I get to learn about them has made an impact on my life.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: I think what separates us the most is that we learn about our community. We make fitness fun. We form communities of people and social groups. We make fitness an overall healthier well-being physically and emotionally.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I love my job! I love my co-workers and especially the members and residents. They make every day coming into work fun and enjoyable. It is a blessing in my life.
  • What motivates you: My members motivate me. They are so full of life and energy. I love observing my ninety year old members walking, exercising, and using the machines. They are a strong group of people.
  • What is your favorite hobby: My favorite hobby is being active with my family. I love to hit the gym with my 13 year old son, and 16 year old girl. I love ice-fishing, fishing, hiking, shooting bows, and spending time with them. Both of my kids are on the archery teams (one in middle school, and one in high school), I love watching them shoot. My daughter also dances, and I love watching her perform. But it is always nice, to sit and relax with a good movie and chill.

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

 

Topics: nifs staff