Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Wellness Coordinator and Dietitian loves the Farmers' Market

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, Wellness Coordinator and Registered Dietitian at NIFS. 

C  Documents and Settings kgootee My Documents Dropbox Images New couple at market resized 600One of my favorite things to do in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town.  As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.  Here are my top five reasons why visiting your local farmer’s market is a must.

1.  Support for the local community – Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy.   Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market you are cutting out the middle man and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store. 

2.  Eating foods that are in season – Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season.   The produce tastes richer and more flavorful and the nutrients are better retained.  Check out the downtown City Market website for what products are available during the months the market is open.

3.  It is good for you – The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  The current recommendations are 9 servings per day.  Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9 serving per day goal.  This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer fighting antioxidants too.  Locally grown produce is lower in pesticides and chemicals also.

4.  You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat - You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it.  When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?

5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule – I love being able to go to the City Market farmers’ market on my lunch break downtown and sampling the hot, fresh kettle corn, picking up sweet corn, and getting homemade cookies on Wednesday afternoons.  Saturday mornings it is off to the Carmel farmers’ market to purchase bon bons from Holy Cow Cupcakes, homemade pasta, and a whole assortment of fruits and veggies for the week.  To find out where the location of a farmers’ market is close to you check out this website .

Whether you are picking up items for dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store.  Try to get there early to get the best variety and options.  Not all vendors accept credit cards so be sure to have cash on hand.  Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

Topics: employee health health culture nutrition NIFS weight management healthy habits Food for Thought

UV Safety Awareness for Corporate Wellness

This blog was written by Kara Gootee-Robinson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

describe the imageSummer has arrived along with barbeques, pool parties, ball games, and all those outdoor activities we enjoy this time of year. When those events are planned, you are most likely prepared to wear your hat and sunglasses and to apply sunscreen. But what about those everyday occurrences? Long walks from the car to the office, a bicycle commute to work, walk-at-work events, or simply enjoying your lunch outside expose the skin to harmful ultraviolet rays.

Tips for Reducing Skin Cancer Risk

Skin cancer kills thousands of Americans each year. The main cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation, and there are many ways to prevent skin cancer and reduce your risk:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are the strongest.
  • Use sunscreen daily, with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Protect your skin with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Self check―be sure to watch for changes in your skin.

Promote Employee Sun Safety

July is UV Safety Month and a great time to promote sun safety for your employees. Spread the word in your workplace. Let your coworkers and employees know how easy prevention is. Easy ways to increase awareness and encourage sun safety in the workplace include the following:

  • Post signs and posters about sun safety.
  • Offer skin cancer screenings onsite.
  • Provide sunscreen samples.
  • Designate a shaded area for outdoor lunch breaks.

Even on a cloudy day, grab that hat and apply sunscreen because even on the haziest of days the sun’s rays are powerful and damaging!

Topics: disease prevention corporate wellness cancer employee wellness

Employee Health: Healthy Teeth Make a Healthy You!

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

oral health, mouth careHow would you rate your oral health?

It’s not just about staying away from sugar to protect your teeth from cavities! Poor oral health can lead to a lot of other health issues. I feel that parents are always on their kids about brushing their teeth, but in actuality, a lot of adults don’t take care of their own mouths.

It’s also not just about brushing your teeth, but brushing your teeth the proper way and flossing on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be something you rush through in the morning. You need to spend some quality time on your mouth; you get only one set of adult teeth.

Scheduling the recommended regular dentist visits can help to save your life! Not taking care of your teeth can lead to infection, which can also spread to other areas of your body. Practicing good oral health can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Dental hygienists can also screen you for serious health problems, such as oral cancer, diabetes, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Here are some tips to help you maintain good oral health:

  • Drink fluoridated water.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Avoid foods and snacks that are high in sugar.
  • Visit the dentist regularly.
  • Floss daily.
  • Don’t brush really hard; relax and take your time.

Take this quiz to discover how your mouth affects your general health.

Topics: employee health healthy habits oral hygiene

Corporate Fitness: Your Body Speaks to You. Don’t Ignore It.

This blog was written by Mara Winters. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

strain, backache, overuseFitness fanatics have all been there. You are so excited about working out, living the diehard active life. Who can give up running, aerobics classes, racquetball, and all the other fitness fun? Then you hear it, that voice that says, “This twinge you have had isn’t going anywhere.”

You know you feel aches but you ignore it. Nothing can keep you down. Not even a small limp on your right side. Soon you may feel that discomfort increasing and regret not listening to your body. If you feel pain (different from soreness) lasting more than five minutes after a workout session, or you have to alter your gait to complete an exercise, this may suggest you have sustained an injury.

There are visual indicators of injury, in which exercise should be stopped immediately. Swelling, discoloration, broken bones, or dislocations are causes for ceasing an activity.

While it can be a letdown, activity should be modified until the symptoms of the injury dissipate. This allows the body to heal and prevents further injury. Rehabilitation exercise and light limbering activity are acceptable during this time. Recovery times may vary depending on the severity of the injury.

As a corporate fitness trainer, I understand that people who enjoy physical activities are not thrilled to sit out for a while. Trust me, rest is the best. People who sustain reoccurring or overuse injuries usually don’t allow time for healing. Bones, ligaments, and muscles all need time to rebuild, which will make them stronger.

Another way to keep enjoying your favorite activity is to prevent injury altogether by doing the following:

  • Wearing protective equipment when necessary.
  • Avoiding overtraining. Vary your high-intensity exercise sessions throughout the week and give your body time to rest.
  • Always warming up before exercise and cooling down after workouts.
  • Cross-training to strengthen bones and muscles.
  • Building skills required for your favorite activity. For example, if you enjoy skiing, hiking, or surfing, you may want to add balance exercises to your training.
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to build a healthy body.  

Always listen to your body. Know what discomfort you can work through but also know when you need to take some time to rest.

Topics: corporate fitness exercise injury

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

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

one arm push up, advanced exerciseIn an earlier post I discussed the pros of buying and trying the P90X workout program. Now let's talk about the cons.

  • Although the program can be done at home, the use of a pull-up bar is an integral part of several of the workouts and is not a piece of equipment most people have at home. However, there are several pull-up bars available online that can be installed easily in a doorway.
  • There is a daily time commitment of at least 60 minutes if not more. This may be more time than a new exerciser can realistically commit to.
  • Many of the exercises are advanced and might not be appropriate for beginner exercisers. Additionally, each exercise is performed for very high reps (15 to 25 or more), which can put participants at risk for pain and injury.
  • There is a nutrition guide included in the program materials. However, it requires detailed planning and tracking and does not leave much room for error or slipups that are a part of life. While the nutrition plan is probably the most significant contributor to the actual transformation participants have experienced, it may not be appropriate for people with dietary restrictions and food allergies.
  • Finally, as a fitness professional, I feel that many of the exercises demonstrated in the DVDs are high risk for experienced and beginning exercisers. Excessive jumping, questionable stretches, and unusual joint angles combined with excessive loading could set up participants for injury.

Is P90X for you? If a structured program that you can do at home is appealing to you, P90X may be a good option. However, if you are interested in a safe and progressively challenging routine that is specific to you and your needs, seek the help of a qualified personal trainer or other health and fitness professional. Additionally, a registered dietitian can help you develop a program of healthy eating for weight loss. Check with your corporate fitness center professional for advice specific to your needs.

Topics: corporate fitness exercise at home exercise