Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Fitness Management Kicks Off Active Aging Week

Active Aging Week LogoNIFS managers are gearing up for an exciting week of wellness-based programming at our CCRC client sites across the country. NIFS has coordinated a week’s worth of programs for Active Aging Week and the participating communities will also take part in our Around the World in Five Days competition. Through resident participation, communities will advance to various destination points around the world with the goal of being the first community to visit each location.

Active Aging Week is kicking off at each location today with an opening ceremony event where we will educate residents on each day’s program while promoting the community competition. Our Active Aging Week programs and events were designed with the following considerations:

1. Seven Dimensions of Wellness: the programs throughout the week encompass elements of the seven dimensions of wellness to broaden the resident experience beyond physical wellness.
2. Resident Volunteers: we have incorporated resident volunteers into the planning to better allow residents to champion and promote the programs.
3. Resident Interests & Abilities: the variety in the programs not only spans varying resident interests but also provides opportunities for residents of all ability levels to participate.
4. Budgetary Support: the programs were designed so communities with minimal financial support for Active Aging Week to still fully participate. 
5. Community Nuance: flexibility was built into the development process to allow the individual community’s flavor and flair to enhance the core program offerings.

NIFS fitness managers have been working diligently since early July to prepare for this exciting week of events and we are ready to kick things off! The residents are excited for the new programming opportunities as well as gearing up for the NIFS competition. The expectations are high at each community and we suspect things will really heat up as the week progresses! Follow us on Facebook for updates all week on the status of the competition!

Corporate Wellness, Employee Engagement, ROI, oh my

Pardon me while I use our blog to rant.  It doesn't happen often, but apparently there was no amount of pounding the pavement (aka running) that was going to get this out of my head.  Lacking other healthy tools to cope with very bad corporate wellness practice, I'm turning to the blog to pound it out on the keyboard.  You should stop reading if you don't care about employee engagement, human capital, and ROI in corporate wellness.  Shamelessly, this blog is more for me than it is for you. 

Ok - disclaimer provided.  Here we go.

There's so much buzz around corporate wellness, it's dizzying.  Who can keep track of all the apps, gadgets, providers, platforms, and statistics in employee health promotion?!  We're too busy helping people make better choices to keep track of this stuff.  Thus, I join other organizations who provide me with updates in the industry periodically; it takes the burden off me feeling like I always have to be search, search, searching for what's up and coming.

It all started with an email.

So the other day I got an email, much like many other emails, in which a promotion around employee engagement was being peddled.  You get these emails, I know you do.  This one, in particular, was from a well-known clearinghouse of resources for corporate wellness professionals, and my hunch is that they have a HUGE reach across the US.  Provider organizations pay to be promoted by via email to the membership list for this "clearinghouse organization". 

Let me be clear - I'm not begrudging the organization who sent me the email, or the provider company who paid to reach my inbox. (Though I do feel a little sorry for both who may not know the painful truth about outbound marketing.) The marketing message in that email, however, is at best suspect, and at worst, completely misleading and disingenuous to the hard fought, small gain work that is employee health promotion. 

"Got Engagement" 

This was the focus of the marketing email - the vendor was offering their product/service and promoting that they had the key ingredient for employee engagement.  Maybe they do (it's kind of the silver bullet in corporate wellness...who knows, maybe this groupcorporate wellness recipe has it all figured out).  But to promote it in a way that engagement from employees is something you go "get", that it's algebraic or formulary, that there is something you simply add to your corporate wellness strategy recipe, is completely off the mark.  You don't add a vendor, a worksite fitness center, a health coach, or change a policy about flex time and BAM!  Engagement! (Cue triumphant music.)

No, ladies and gentlemen, absolutely not.  The battle for employee engagement in corporate health promotion is won in relationships and over time, and with the evolution of trust and loyalty in the workplace.  Offering biometric screenings and cool online HRA that gives you a personal wellness score isn't enough.  An onsite fitness center isn't enough. (Believe me... for NIFS business, I wish it was!)  And you can't buy your way into the hearts of your employees with trinkets and trips, and other incentives.

If you want engagement in your workforce around your corporate wellness initiatives, you start with relationships.  You have to work at it by working with your workforce to understand them, their needs, their fears, their hopes.  You have to give a little, learn a little, and step out on that relationship-building edge a little. 

(I feel a sappy song coming on, so I'll wrap it up here.)

You want your workforce to engage?  Treat them like people, get your head out of the corporate wellness ROI clouds, and for crying out loud, quit referring to your workforce as "Human Capital".

Want to confess...I mean comment on this post?  Have an entirely different point of view?  Share it below.  Maybe it'll be the start of a beautiful relationship!


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Topics: corporate wellness healthy workforce Wellness in the Workplace worksite wellness corporate fitness centers; return on investement control healthcare costs

When Upper Management Exercises in the Corporate Fitness Center

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

workplace fitnessWe’ve all learned that exercise can play an enormous role in lowering one’s stress level and boosting a person’s mood. Supervisors in the workforce are no different—regular exercise has been shown to help those in management roles more effectively cope with their stressors.

This article writes that, unfortunately, when supervisors become overwhelmed with workplace pressures, their direct subordinates are the ones who become victims of the supervisors’ venting, hostile behavior, or negative comments. Therefore, regular exercise routines can not only enhance the physical and mental health of the supervisors, but also the wellbeing of the employees working for them.

Another reason why supervisors, especially those in a company’s upper management, should exercise is to lead by example. When you talk to an average new employee about exercising at the worksite, one of their fears is that their boss might view them as slacking off or just looking for ways to get out of work. When supervisors make exercising in their corporate fitness centers a priority, it shows to their subordinates that taking time for one’s own health is important and acceptable, provided that work duties and deadlines are still being met.

On a larger scale, when upper management, including CEOs and vice presidents, make fitness a priority, it sets a healthy climate for the entire company.

If you are a supervisor of even one individual, consider how your healthy—or unhealthy—choices can impact those around you. Set the standard in your work environment by becoming a leader in health.

Topics: stress corporate fitness centers productivity businesses corporate rewards Fitness Center health culture

Corporate Fitness and Nutrition: Food for Optimal Energy

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

yogurt, health snackEver wonder what and when you should be eating to optimize performance and energy levels? Numerous resources are available to the general public outlining food and dietary guidelines; however, many people remain unaware as to what types of foods are best to eat and when.

Whether working or working out, these guidelines will be useful in helping you plan meals and snacks to increase energy and sustainability.

Pre-exercise Meals

  • Carbohydrate meals help fuel muscles and prevent depletion of glycogen stores. Glycogen is the body’s main form of stored carbohydrates; it is a main source of energy during work and exercise. You should choose complex carbohydrates like fruits and whole grains to help sustain energy levels for long-duration activities. Try to avoid high-sugar foods such as soda and candy, as these cause high peaks in blood sugar and tend to give you a quick burst of energy that soon fades away.
  • Watch high-fat foods—they are hard to digest and may cause an upset stomach during high-intensity exercise. In comparison to carbohydrates, high-fat and high-protein meals take longer to digest and therefore require more energy for their breakdown.
  • Try to have a meal with complex carbohydrates four hours prior to exercise and a small snack one or two hours before exercise.


Whole-grain cereals, yogurt, whole-wheat pasta, fruit, whole-grain bagels, oatmeal, raisins, some energy bars (check that they are not too high in fat or protein).

Post-exercise Meals

  • Your muscles need to recover after exercise, as this is when your metabolism is at its peak.
  • Refueling should begin within 30 to 45 minutes after exercise to restore glycogen and repair muscle tissue.
  • Carbohydrates and protein will enhance the process of rebuilding and repairing muscles.  


String cheese and a piece of fruit, peanut butter and jelly on whole-grain bread, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, soup, nuts (raw, unsalted are best), whole-grain cereal with reduced-fat milk.

Remember to stay hydrated! Dehydration slows your metabolic rate by 2% and can also leave you feeling sluggish. Feel your best by drinking at least eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water daily!

Topics: exercise corporate fitness nutrition

Corporate Fitness: Four Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles

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

elderly woman stretching resized 600When starting a new exercise program, you may get sore. Muscle soreness comes from the breakdown of muscle fibers. But don’t let that drive you away from the corporate fitness center. Here are four good ways to ease the pain.

  • Rest from lifting and go for a light walk. More than likely, you are sore from strength training or lifting weights. Your body may need a rest day from the weights, but go for a light walk to get some blood flow to the sore muscles. Sitting around could make the soreness worse.
  • Take a hot bath. Soaking in a hot bath will help your circulation and soreness.
  • Use foam rollers or massage. Rolling out your muscles on foam rollers will help to work the soreness out, although it may hurt a little at first, just like with massaging the muscles. Start out gently rubbing or rolling the muscles, and then as you work the soreness out you can target the muscles more aggressively.
  • Stretch after you work out. Don’t skip the stretching component of fitness! Spend about 20 minutes stretching after your workouts.

 If you are just getting back into working out, always start out slow. If you start with long, intense workouts and then cannot move the next day due to such painful muscle soreness, you will be more likely to skip the next few days. Don’t skip days; just focus on areas of the body that are not sore.

Next time you overdo it in the corporate fitness center, remember these tips for relieving your pain and keeping up your workouts.

Topics: exercise at work exercise corporate fitness centers weight training