Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Fitness: Is P90X for You? (Part 1 of 2)

This blog was written by Penny Pohlmann, MS. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

How many times have you seen the infomercial for P90X while sipping coffee, sitting on yourdumbbells resized 600 couch on a Saturday morning? Maybe too many times to count and like any product you’ve seen advertised on TV you may have asked yourself, “I wonder if it really does work?”  

The featured “real-life” success stories are pretty amazing and motivating for anyone hoping to improve their appearance, strength, and health. But if you’re like me, you may be pretty skeptical of anything available for purchase from TV in just “three easy installments of $39.99” (not including shipping and handling). Before I shell out $120 bucks, I want to know what I’m committing to and if I’ll really be satisfied with the product.

Well, here’s a review that might help you determine whether this 90-day at-work workout program is for you. In this post I review the pros. In the next post, I'll review the cons.

  • The program can be done entirely at home in your living room.
  • The DVD set includes workouts for the muscles of the whole body as well as cardio, stretching, and yoga workouts.
  • The DVD set also comes with a schedule detailing which days to do each DVD, a nutrition plan, and a fitness guide that explains the exercises and steps for progression.
  • You get online access to the P90X online support club. This online resource provides tips and advice on your 90-day fitness journey.

Check back to read about the cons of the P90X program.

Topics: corporate fitness exercise at home exercise fitness

Pain at the Pump Fuels a Boost in Employee Health

This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

walking, biking, gas pricesAs gas prices creep higher and you’re forced to dig deeper into your pocketbook, it can certainly be difficult to look at the bright side of what seems to be that inevitable price spike as the weather warms up. However, the next time you grudgingly fill up your tank, ponder the health benefits that are to be had as a result of higher prices.

First, there’s the most obvious: people will bike and walk more (and use public transportation), which certainly makes sense in a country where 50 percent of commuters are traveling five miles or less to the office. Traveling by bicycle or on foot provides moderate-intensity exercise that is generally safe for individuals of all ages and fitness abilities, and can provide a quality workout for someone who is pressed for time by the demands of work and family.

With fewer vehicles on the road comes less pollution, beneficial to both the environment and health. Less traffic fatalities also result, due not only to the decreased amount of cars but the simple fact that motorists drive more slowly to conserve gas. Speaking of saving gas, instead of making circles around the parking lot to snag the closest spot, now is the perfect opportunity to heed that oft-heard tip of parking in the farthest space from your destination!

The effects can trickle down to lifestyle choices as well. With less spending money to be had, families will be more likely to cook healthier meals at home as opposed to eating out. Outings for the family or for couples can include activities like biking or hiking instead of trips to the movies or a restaurant.

And while you're pinching pennies, don't forget that your corporate wellness center provides an affordable alternative to an expensive gym membership. This season, make that pain at the pump work in your favor toward a healthier body!

Topics: exercise at work exercise at home exercise walking corporate fitness centers biking

Weight Loss Success in the Work Place

People always ask me, "what's your secret?" and I laugh and tell the it's no secret.  Thanks to a huge lifestyle change and the wonderful support system of work buddies, friends, and The Body Shop (worksite fitness center) and it's staff (NIFS) I have lost almost 100 pounds, maybe more!

A couple of years ago, the girls I ate lunch with every day decided to lose weight.  I had been down the path before and was not excited.  I hadn't weighed myself in well over a year and had no intention of starting.  Because my friends were doing it, and I didn't want to eat lunch alone, I gave a half hearted effort.  I decided to stop drinking regular soda and participate in whatever physical activity they did.  And that is exactly what I did, and miraculously my clothes started getting bigger.  We were just walking on the treadmill or outside at our lunch time and giving up soda and I could see results. 

As the initial loss, whatever it was, had slowed because the changes I made were only mild, and as I saw my friends who were already participating in Weight Watchers begin to lose more rapidly, I wanted to make bigger changes too.  So I had to finally weigh myself.  By this time, I had started at a size 24 and was now in a 22, and some 20's, but still hadn't stepped on a scale.  When I finally did I weighed 238 lbs.  I cried the entire day, and thought how did I let myself go this far?  And so I began to count calories, and changing everything about my life.  Eventually through regular physical activity, tracking what I ate and counting calories, I have made huge changes.  It's still a struggle every single day, but when I fall off the wagon, I started again immediately and you know what, the struggle is worth it.  I have zero health issues and I can keep up with my kids.  I look like a different person and I feel like a different person, a happier, much healthier person.

Do you have a support system at work to motivate each other to reach your weight loss and health goals?

 

Topics: corporate fitness employee health motivation weight loss corporate wellness NIFS corporate fitness centers employee wellness weight management

A Corporate Fitness Professional Looks at the Paleo Diet

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

As corporate health and fitness professionals, we are often the first people our members come to with questions about new diets they come across. We all know that fad diets don’t work, plain and simple, but sometimes these new diet trends are disguised just enough to be appealing to even the most health-conscious people.

Recently, a corporate fitness center member asked for my thoughts on the Palecaveman diet, paleoo Diet. While this is not a brand new diet, it has recently become more trendy. The basis of the Paleo Diet (also referred to as the Caveman Diet) is that the most beneficial foods for the human body are the ones that our Stone Age ancestors would have hunted and gathered. Vegetables, fruits, meat, and seafood are the staples of this eating regimen.

At first glance, it looks okay. It includes all-natural foods rather than pushing any premade meal plans or supplements. However, this program recommends a much different meat-to-plant ratio than what we’ve all been taught in our basic nutrition classes. It suggests that up to 68 percent of our diets should be meat, or calories from animals.

Many metabolic functions can be compromised with an extremely high protein intake. A diet consisting of more than 30 percent protein can be linked to kidney problems and dehydration.

Remind your corporate fitness center members that the word “diet” usually indicates that there is some form of restriction. The healthiest mindset towards food is one that acknowledges all foods are permissible. Our main priority should be filling our bodies with nutrients while leaving room to enjoy treats in moderation. When an eating plan makes claims like “Lose weight!,” or the “World’s Healthiest Diet!,” chances are, it isn’t a lifestyle plan that will stick.

Topics: corporate fitness nutrition weight loss

Employee Health: How to Increase Fruit and Veggie Consumption

This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

You probably know that eating fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that eating sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. The actual amount of fruits and vegetables a person needs varies by age and gender. Use the table below to find out how much you should be eating, and visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for more information.

Fruits

Vegetables

 

Age (years)

Amount

 

Age (years)

Amount

Women

19–30

2 cups

Women

19–30

2½ cups

31–50

1½ cups

31–50

2½ cups

51+

1½ cups

51+

2 cups

Men

19–30

2 cups

Men

19–30

3 cups

31–50

2 cups

31–50

3 cups

51+

2 cups

51+

2½ cups

From http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

If you consider yourself to be a picky eater, or don’t particularly like fruits or vegetables, try using these tips to help boost your consumption:

  • Add extra vegetables to sauces and soups. You can even grate them in so they go undetected!
  • Top your pizza with extra veggies, not extra cheese.
  • Add grated carrots or zucchini to muffins and homemade bread.
  • Serve up a smoothie for a nutritious snack or dessert! Use fresh or frozen fruits as your main ingredient.
  • Top your cereal with fruit, not sugar. You will get the same sweetness, and a lot more nutrients!
  • Grate or dice vegetables to add them to main dishes such as chili, lasagna, or casseroles. You can even puree cauliflower, carrots, and squash and add them to macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes.
  • For more ideas and recipes, visit sneakychef.com
Topics: employee health nutrition worksite wellness

Helping Corporate Fitness Clients Find Motivation for Exercise

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

The fact that exercise is beneficial for your health is common knowledge these days. It would be hard to find someone to say that he or she shouldn’t exercise. The problem lies in mustering up the motivation to begin a routine and stick with it week in and week out.

yoga at workThis article provides tips for parents on setting healthy examples for children when it comes to exercise. The ideas could be applicable to anyone, though. One of the most important tips it touches on is to stop thinking of exercise as a chore. We all have never-ending to-do lists, parents especially, but exercise can be a stress relief and something you do to better yourself. Yes, it should be planned for, but rather than seeing it as the next chore in your list, think of it as a personal time-out.

The article offers other valuable lessons, too—planning ahead for your exercise, setting realistic goals, and bouncing back from setbacks. As a corporate fitness professional, the advice that struck me the most was the importance of finding your personal motivation or your reason for exercise. Knowing that you should isn’t always going to help you get off the couch, and in fact, can lead to feelings of guilt and shame when an exercise program isn’t adhered to. Material rewards can be nice, for instance treating yourself to a massage or a new pair of jeans, but those prizes can also cease to spur you on day after day. An intrinsic desire to be healthy and a personal drive to stay committed yield the best results.

As a visual example of motivation, poll some of your corporate fitness center members and ask them what their reasons for exercise are. Post this on a bulletin board along with their pictures for all to see as examples of sticking with it!

Topics: corporate fitness motivation exercise

The Truth about ROI and your Corporate Fitness Center (part 2)

In part 1 of this blog series, I came out and said it.  Corporate wellness isn't all about ROI - it's about people, about doing the right thing, treating people right, making it easier for employees to choose better health. 

So onto the second consideration...the intangibles, the things we cannot measure, but that have unlimited value.

  • A call center employee has never exercised, but when she startsworksites with your company, she ventures into the onsite fitness center to take a look. She makes a connection with the compassionate staff and within a few weeks of her hire date, she starts exercising in your fitness center. One year later, she is 15 pounds lighter, free from depression medication, and getting better sleep each night. She has less out-of-pocket expense (measureable), the company is paying less for her health care (measureable), and she is more productive for and loyal to your organization for the support she received in the corporate fitness center (unquantifiable).

  • The middle manager has smoked for years. Lacking the confidence to stop on his own, he enters your worksite program and finds success with the support of free nicotine replacement therapy, group cessation classes at work, and the collaborative support from the corporate fitness staff. He swapped his costly nicotine habit for daily 30-minute walks. He is free from the routine cost of buying cigarettes (measurable), the company doesn’t carry the extra cost burden associated with employees who use tobacco (measureable), and his heart health, confidence, and outlook on life are forever changed (unquantifiable).

Value is in the eye of the beholder. Create an environment that encourages employees to participate, and your investment will come back to you—not through an algorithm, but in testimonials.

Have a testimonial to share about the ways your employer has supported your efforts to choose better health?  Tell us about it!

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness centers; return on investement

The Truth about ROI and your Corporate Fitness Center (part 1)

 

The thing aboutcoporate wellness ROI ROI and corporate wellness is, well, it's tricky.  Don't believe me?  Ask the experts. They’ll tell you that accurately calculating ROI can be done, but that it is very hard to do it the right way. What’s worse is that attempting to isolate ROI for a specific element of your company’s wellness strategy may prove even more elusive.

There are so many variables in worksite wellness that it takes significant resources and substantial practice to have any confidence in the ROI figures that might be generated from your program. Trying to ferret out specific ROI by wellness program components, like the fitness center, is nearly impossible. Expecting ROI may set up your corporate fitness center for failure.  

Try looking at your investment with a different lens.

Measure what you can by capturing all the data you can and then looking at all sides of it to determine what is happening for your organization as you shift the health culture.

  • How much money do you save every time someone lowers (or gets off) of their blood pressure, diabetes, or cholesterol-lowering medication? Start your corporate fitness program by assessing how many members are on those medications. In year 3, 5, and 10, figure out how many of those who started the program in year 1 are now off those medications.

  • How much money do you spend on employee turnover annually? Poll your workforce to find out how many feel added loyalty to your organization because of the well-equipped and staffed corporate fitness center.

Return doesn't haven't to be all about the money - there's much more to investing in employee health.  We believe it's about the people...what do you believe?

 

Topics: employee health corporate fitness centers; return on investement