Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Nutrition News: Eat Better…Work Better?

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz. 

woman eating fruit resized 600We have all heard the phrase that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but who knew that eating a balanced diet would also make you more productive at work? That is what a recent study found.

The study was conducted by Brigham Young University on 19,000 employees from three large companies and was published in the Population Health Management Journal. It was discovered that employees with unhealthy diets were 66 percent less productive than those who ate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

So, how can you be a more productive employee? Try these three simple ways to eat a more balanced diet and then get ready to impress your boss!

  • Whole-grain goodness: Swap out your old rice, pasta, bread, and cereal for grains that are higher in fiber and are less processed. Brown and wild rice are excellent alternatives to white rice. Whole-wheat pasta, couscous, quinoa, millet, and oats are more whole-grain options to incorporate into your diet. When it comes to breads and cereal, check the label. Choose options that have at least three grams of fiber per serving. Check out the Whole Grains Council for more information.
  • Fabulous fruits: Most people need three pieces of fruit per day to meet their individual requirements. You can do this easily by incorporating a fruit into your morning cereal or oatmeal, grabbing a piece of fruit for a quick and portable snack, and having a bowl of sweet fruit after dinner for dessert. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in fruits are all great reasons to include them in your diet.
  • Vary your veggies: One of the most challenging food groups to get into your diet, but also one of the best ones for you, is vegetables. It can be difficult to meet the four to five recommended servings per day, so how can you get these in to help balance your diet? One thing is to make sure that you are spreading them out throughout the day by including a vegetable serving at lunch and snack time. At lunch, grab portable veggies such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, and sugar-snap peas to add some variety and crunch along with your typical sandwich. Or nibble on veggies with a hummus dip for an afternoon snack. Make it a goal to try one new or different vegetable each week.

 If you live in the Indianapolis area, consider registering for our Lite ‘N Up weight management program that helps build a healthy attitude toward food and fitness. Or contact me at to answer your individual nutrition questions.

Topics: nutrition weight management whole grain NIFS productivity

Employee Health: Healthy Eating on the Night Shift

Many shift workers struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s easy to understand why. The body’s natural routine, or its “circadian rhythm,” is significantly disrupted when they work the night shift.

When you have less access to fresher, healthier foods, eating well can be a challenge. Shift workers may also be unable to find an eating schedule that suits them. One idea that may work well is to eat a main meal before the start of a shift in the evening. Since this meal can be eaten unhealthy food options resized 600at home, you have more control over its nutritional content and the cooking methods used.

Once at work, it’s imperative that you bring along healthy snacks; avoid the vending machine and its processed, high-fat food at all costs! Some type of protein mixed with a small amount of carbs and fat is best because it helps you remain alert. Snacking and a light meal at break time can prevent hunger, and another light meal with healthy carbohydrates after work but before sleeping will promote rest and relaxation.

Avoiding caffeine toward the end of the shift is a must. It’s also a good idea, regardless, to replace coffee and pop with plain water or decaf tea.

Employers can help their night-shift workers in a number of ways, such as providing healthy food options, preventing tobacco use, offering 24-hour worksite gyms, and making employee wellness education available at a variety of times.

Topics: employee health nutrition worksite wellness employee wellness sleeping patterns

NIFS: Plan for a safe Halloween

halloween kids resized 600With Halloween right around the corner, it is quickly creeping up on us.  Those creative little minds leave us trying to figure out what costumes we will be coming up with.  Mummies and super heroes to princesses and rock stars the costumes are unlimited.  I’m in charge of the butterfly this year, grabbing wings from the play closet and a leotard from the gymnastic drawer I think we have it pretty easy this year.  What extremes do you go to for that perfect costume to make your youngster happy to go trekking for candy, do you buy or craft the costumes yourself?

The festivities that surround the holiday such as costume parties, fall festivals, and trunk or treat events make it important to keep your family safe.   Costume accessories should be plastic and not become a hazard, talk to you child about being safe in their costume.  Consider how you can help keep your child seen while out in the dark hours; provide them with a flash light and instruct them to remain on the sidewalks.  Our household decided this year we will be handing out glow sticks and glow necklaces to help promote safety in our neighborhood.  Pairing these with pretzels and minimal candy options we definitely went with the safe and healthier Halloween options to promote wellness.  Is your house a strictly candy house, or have you gone to the ways of play-doh and pretzels?

For more tips to have a SAFE HALLOWEEN the CDC has provided some tips to prepare your child to have an enjoyable and safe Halloween!  Trick or Treat!!

Topics: healthy mom halloween safety

Retirement Community Fitness Centers - Is Bigger Always Better?

This post was updated on May 7, 2018.

There is a trend NIFS | Senior Fitness Center Designamong owners and operators of senior living communities toward a focus on resident wellness. The movement is based in research findings which indicate that opportunities for residents to live actively are important both to prospective residents as well as to their family members. Couple those findings with the constant news updates about how good regular exercise is for older adults and its easy to see why communities are so focused on ramping up their resident wellness programming. 

Perhaps the most visible element in a community's overall wellness program is their exercise offerings. When I consult for senior living clients on their fitness program, I am often asked if size matters when it comes to their physical space for exercise. Does it matter that their fitness center is small, with only a few pieces of equipment? Does it matter that they don't have dedicated group exercise class space? They can't afford to put in a pool - is that a problem for growing their exercise program?


Size isn't the only consideration.

Size is an important consideration, but it shouldn't be the only consideration. Much positive and fulfilling life can be lived by your residents in even the smallest spaces. We've worked with several clients who are small on space, but significant on providing meaningful and effective programming designed to engage rather than entertain residents. The challenge becomes accommodating as many participants as possible when your footprint is tight. Creative thinking can often help you solve issues like not enough equipment or overcrowding in exercise classes.

Where size does matter is when we're looking at the passion, personality, and skills of the individual(s) leading the exercise programming at your community. Even the biggest, shiniest, most state of the art fitness centers, pools, and other healthful spaces will become like a ghost town if there is no staff presence (or it’s the wrong staff presence) there to connect with your residents. Staff personality and capability reign supreme when it comes to a quality, compelling, and invitational programming at your community. 

[Learn More: Read our case studies on the impact of staff for a successful exercise program]

Get the size of your staffing just right.

There are a few ways you can invest in quality staffing for your exercise program:

  • You can provide your own staffing.
  • You could also consider tapping an existing partner for this service. We see therapy groups sliding into this market.
  • You can partner with a group like NIFS who does fitness center management as a core business.
Be careful about hiring your own exercise specialist; it's not rocket science, but there is likely more to hiring, training, and providing ongoing support for your new fitness manager than you realize. Also understand that if you connect with your therapy partner for exercise programming, your fitness environment and services will remain clinical in nature. Outsourcing is an option and when it comes down to weighing the full value proposition, it may not cost your community more than hiring your own fitness professional. 
Is outsourcing fitness center management right for your community?

There’s a lot at stake here.  Not enough staffing, or the wrong staff member(s) could poke a serious hole in what should be an uplifting, feel-good offering at your community. If you don’t have the money to spend on the bricks and mortar, make sure you have the resources to effectively operate what space you do have, or the entire investment could provide less than stellar results.

Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness fitness center staffing

Top 3 reasons to outsource fitness center management

Emily works with member.jpgOf course, it’s horribly self-serving for us to say that staffing your onsite fitness center and wellness initiatives isn’t a DIY (do it yourself) project.  We’re not above shameless self-promotion, but the truth is, the consequences of making fitness center management a DIY initiative can be costly.  Read on to learn NIFS top three reasons to outsource fitness center management of your retirement community or worksite fitness center. 

Reason #1: Your actual dollar cost is only part of the cost/benefit picture

If you’re reading this thinking, “Outsourcing is expensive – way more expensive than hiring my own personnel”, you’re right.  Of course, costs come in two types: direct and indirect.  So don’t stunt your thinking about this by looking only at the invoice from the outsourcing partner against your compensation profile for your own employee.

Reason #2: Outsourcing fitness center management provides expertise you can't build on your own

We would never lean toward such exaggerations as to say that health promotion, fitness, wellness (insert your favorite name for it here) is akin to rocket science.  It’s not hard, like organic chemistry hard.  But it’s challenging in that call center, customer service kind of way.  Let’s face it, anyone one who works in customer service knows that the hardest, and most rewarding, part of their job is working with the customer.  NIFS staff are in that same customer service spot.

To that end, there is a benefit to having a pool of like-minded peers who are doing the same type of work, sharing in successes, problem-solving through challenges, and brainstorming new ideas together.  When you hire an outsourcing organization to provide your staffing, they have that built in peer support.  When you hire your own wellness professional – they’re essentially on their own to build a peer network of support.

In NIFS case, the support network extends well beyond peer support.  Our staff-built intranet provides program creation ideas, internal form links, peer-to-peer continuing education and more.  All of these staff resources are a benefit to our clients. When they hire NIFS, they not only get their own manager, they get indirect access to our other 70+ like-minded professional peers.

Reason #3: Outsourced partners are experts in fitness so that you don't have to be.

Risk management related to both the physical spaces and the programming connected to those spaces is an important consideration for our clients.  They don’t lose sleep over their liability exposure in our programs though.  Maybe that’s because we’ve been managing corporate and CCRC fitness centers and wellness programs for more than 20 years.  Maybe it’s because all of our staff -- administrators, managers, and specialists – are all fitness and wellness experts.  We know the industry standards for waiver language, pre-activity screening, industry-appropriate certifications, subcontractor liability management, etc.  Speaking of which, when was the last time you checked the status of the liability insurance for your contracted group fitness instructors?

For more on assessing liability in a corporate fitness program, download our white paper here.

To read about managing liability in a retirement community fitness center, download this white paper.

If you’re the “I’ll fix my own brakes” or, “I’ll build my own home addition” type, then you’re more adventurous then I and perhaps you should hire your own wellness professional.  If you’re looking for an outsourcing solution that is more trustworthy and reliable than your mechanic, and less expensive than your home addition, consider checking NIFS out. 

Read our case studies (Sagewood | Marquette | NextGear) to see how we’ve provided scalable and cutting edge solutions for our clients.

Is outsourcing fitness and wellness right for you?

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness Wellness in the Workplace employee wellness senior center solutions corporate fitness centers senior fitness fitness success Fitness Center

Senior Wellness: Can a healthy community culture can help your marketing department?

group of seniors with thumbs up

This blog was written by Emily Davenport.

As part of Active Aging Week, NIFS managers coordinated a Wellness Conference in which various community personnel and residents came together to speak about the wellness-based lifestyle programs and services available at the community. Many residents commented on being aware of certain programs and services, but not previously recognizing how cohesively the different departments worked together to provide an integrated wellness program.
Following the event, residents immediately approached our manager about the missed opportunity of filming the event for future viewing by new or prospective residents. We felt this resident response was a testament to how much current residents value their community wellness-offerings.
From the perspective of new residents to the community, existing residents identified the importance of early education about the wellness program at the community and to quickly integrate new residents into it. This speaks to the resident’s desire to keep not only their community vibrant and engaging, but to also enhance the lives of these individuals moving into the community. (If that doesn’t speak to a caring and nurturing environment for new residents to be welcomed into, I don’t know what does.)
From the perspective of prospective residents to the community, existing residents identified how critical these lifestyle options were for the active older adult and how marketable the community’s program is. It raises the question of what residents at this community might share with their friends and family about their lifestyle and how that may compare to residents of other communities without such an engaging wellness culture. Not only can a community’s image be impacted by having an engaging wellness program, but what are your best marketing assets spreading outside of the community about their lifestyle.
We are pleased that our Wellness Conference as part of Active Aging Week helped to further educate residents on the wellness offerings at the community and how whole-heartedly these individuals are embracing the programs for themselves and for others. 

Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center