Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS: Back to School, Back to a Routine

great_ideaFor the past couple of months, we have been able to enjoy the nice, warm weather, cookouts, vacations, and even those occasional lazy days.  While summer is not quite over, this time of year marks getting back to your everyday grind, preparing children to go back to school and hopefully including fitness in both of those plans. Why is it important to include fitness you ask? Well, it is no secret that obesity is on the rise in our country not only for adults, but children alike. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 17% (or about 12.5 million) of children and adolescence ages 2-19 are obese. If this scary statistic for children is anything like the obesity trend in adults, then we only know it will get worse. Why not set your children up for success this school year by not only getting them ready for their education but also their health and well-being! There have even been numerous studies that highlight the benefits of physical activity in regards to improved academics. If you want to read them for yourself, the website, SPARK, is a great resource. They are a research-based, public health organization dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating program that promote lifelong wellness for children and adolescents in schools. Of course, once the school year starts, time is a factor especially with making sure they get their homework and projects done.  So when adding fitness to your routine why not incorporate time as a family as well to make it a fun time together. This also helps you to achieve the time you need to be active as well. If you find it difficult to incorporate this routine or even need some great ideas, keep reading!

  • Either organization or chaos can come from the amount (or lack of) of proper planning and preparation. The best idea is the make a schedule of your family’s activities then plan your fitness time in just like you would do any  other event. Remember, if you don’t plan time to do it, most likely it won’t get done! Even 10 minute increments will work.
  • Your fitness doesn’t need to happen in a corporate fitness center or local gym to count. You can do a lot of activities with just your bodyweight or even get a quick cardio session in. Parks also provide some good places for fitness; some were even built for that reason. Working out at kids’ practices counts too; just as long as you are moving and not sitting in the bleachers.
  • Pack your bag the night before, so you won’t rush in the morning and potentially exclude it out of your routine. It also serves as a great reminder to work out that day.

Lastly, with all of these activities going on for your family, still make sure to schedule “me” time. There’s nothing worse than getting burnt out on different activities. Schedule time to yourself and even time for the kids to relax. You will greatly appreciate it!

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Topics: wellness health and fitness

NIFS: Out of ideas for a great workout?

exercise_with_friendsAre you getting burnt out on the same workout routine day in and day out? Have you tried to look up new exercises or is it easier to stick with the same familiar routine everyday? There are endless options available to find something new to try! Whenever I run out of ideas, there are several routes I take to spice up my usual workout routine. Below, I have only provided you with the typical routes I use.

Ask Your Fitness Friends: I am sure you friends who have knowledge about the fitness life or are a part of the so-called “#fitfam” would be more than happy to help. You never know, they may even put together a new workout plan for you if you ask!

Browse the Internet: The web is full of fitness related blogs and websites. You can even YouTube specific exercises or quick workouts. Whatever suits your fancy!

Pinterest: This is my constant ‘go-to’ website. It’s considered a social network that fits into the category of visual bookmarking. You can create an account for free, create several categorized boards, then use the search engine to find and follow fitness related posts that come from the interweb. After finding the ‘pins’ that interest you, you can ‘repin’ them to your categorized board.  This is a great way to save several routines or readings that you find interesting and go back later to read. This website is an online supplement store, contains workout programs, daily content, and blogs from those within the fitness community.  The tabs allow you to perform specific searches. You can even narrow your search to find exercises for each muscle group on your body!

SmartPhone Apps: You can look up the top apps downloaded in relation to fitness. A couple of my favorites that I have tried include the Nike + Training Club (N+TC) and NIFS mobile app. The N+TC mobile app is a free app with over 100 full body workouts that are inspired by the top Nike athletes and designed by NTC Master Trainers. It will even track your progress! The free NIFS mobile app provides you with a group fitness schedule, facility hours, offers, and promotions. NIFS offers over 80 group fitness classes Sunday through Saturday! There are over 25 different types of classes, so you’re sure to find one you like too!

Talk to a Trainer: NIFS staffed trainers are there to help you and answer any questions you have. They work to help you reach your goals and support you along the way. Members have the opportunity to get unique exercise programs designed around their health and fitness goals. If you are interested in the other services provider, you can meet with someone in the fitness center management staff who will send you in the right direction!

There are endless opportunities, so if you are unable to stop by your corporate fitness center or local gym try one of these options to create a better you!

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How to get employees moving with great wellness programs

logoOur staff has found that getting employees moving can be difficult.  It is very often that our members speak of a variety of barriers that prevent them from exercising.  We have all experienced hectic schedules that interfere such as work meetings and events, overtime, family events such as a child’s activities.  It’s our job to help our members find ways to fit it in to their schedule, make time for themselves to live a healthier lifestyle.   Be Active Be Fit is a program that was developed to encourage participants to strive for 150 minutes of physical activity a week for 8 weeks.  Participants are encouraged to count any time they are doing physical activity no matter what the activity.  Whether you prefer to bike or run, maybe you walk or swim, right down to mowing the yard and cleaning the house with reasonable effort can count. 

This program was implemented at a couple different client locations earlier this year.  One staff member implemented an intranet site to better reach employees who don’t visit the fitness center to allow them to participate.  Sixty percent of participants surveyed post program stated that they liked being able to view the program online.   Also implemented were weekly challenges to encourage members to strive to try new things.  This staff member provided educational pieces to help his members better understand portion sizes and caloric intake.  One challenge educated participants on how to establish their estimated target heart rate, 34% indicated this was something they learned due to the program.

The simplicity of implementing and participating in this program really helped with its success.   Members entered their weekly minutes via a survey where the staff could export the weekly results for quick access to the program data.  This program successfully encouraged people to be more active with 55% indicating that Be Active Be Fit helped motivate them to continue with their program. 

Consider these simple steps when implementing a wellness program similar to NIFS Be Active Be Fit:

  • Establish a goal – what are you wanting members to achieve and how do you plan to reach your goal?  Establish what you want to achieve and outline what you can do to best implement and achieve the results you are hoping for.
  • Educate participants – use this opportunity to educate your employees about health and wellness.  Establishing an educational component further delivers the message you are trying to deliver about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Promote and encourage – make sure you are spreading the word about the program.  Use all of your resources to best introduce the program and increase awareness.  Incorporating weekly reminders help keep them going and improve the success rate of the program.
  • Evaluate the program – survey your participants post program.  This will help you better understand the needs of your members as well as better understanding success rate of your program. 

Interested in other ways we engage our clients with great programming?  Subscribe to our Best Practice Series and receive 10 other Best Practices established in NIFS Corporate Fitness Management.

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Topics: nifs best practices nifs fitness center management

NIFS Nutrition News: For the Love of Peanut Butter

Who finds themselves able to eat peanut butter by the spoonfuls and straight from the jar? Have you ever thought about taking a peek at the nutrition label or does that scare you out of your wits, so you just continue to enjoy your delicious creamy peanut butter? You’d be surprised at what you might see, whether you notice the crazy amount of fat per little bitty serving size or the calories. Go ahead, find your nearest jar of delicious creamy peanut butter, but hold that spoon and checkout those facts. See them? Are you shocked? Are you still conscious, breathing, and maybe in slight panic thinking you have to give up your love for peanut butter? Just wait, I want to share my all time favorite substitution with you!

While there are several substitutions available and eating regular peanut butter does have healthy fat and is okay to eat in moderation, I find myself enjoying a newer product called PB2. It’s a powdered peanut butter, with 85% less fat calories than traditional peanut butter. Interested in the secret? PB2 states that their superior quality peanuts are first slow roasted then pressed to remove 85% of the fat and oil. It’s still deliciously rich in taste and wonderfully healthy. Let’s take a minute and compare the PB2 with the traditional peanut butter using the serving size of 2 tablespoons:

Traditional Peanut Butterpeanut_butter

Calories 190

Calories from fat 144

Total Fat 16g

Sodium 140mg

Total Carb. 8g

Sugars 3g

Protein 7g

Bell Plantation PB2

Calories 45

Calories from fat 13

Total Fat 1.5g

Sodium 94mg

Total Carb. 5g

Sugars 1g

Protein 5g

After seeing the comparison, you can see which is the better option of the two. PB2 is all-natural with no additives. Coming from a peanut butter lover myself, I found the switch to be easy and I actually enjoy it more without the feeling of guilt afterwards. Yes, there is one more step to turning the powdered peanut butter into creamy peanut butter and that is mixing 2 Tbsp of the powder with 1 Tbsp of water then simply put on your veggies or sandwich. You can always add more water to reach your preference. Curious where to find such a thing? A single jar of PB2 can be found at GNC, select Target stores, Wal-Mart, or Kroger. To order in bulk, you can order it from Amazon or the Bell Plantation website. If this doesn’t suit your fancy, feel free to learn about other substitution options through the NIFS by contacting Angie Scheetz for a nutrition consult.

NIFS: Importance of Sun Safety at an Early Age

sun_safetyI may be pale now, but you’ll be wrinkly later!

Sun safety is a big topic amongst 30somethings and up, but what about the younger generations? I reminisce (and lament, now) about the days when I was a teenager, riding my bike to a friend’s house, slapping on the baby oil and baking ourselves for hours so we could get the “perfect tan”. Health had no hold over vanity back then, but had I known then what I know now, I may have chosen differently.

At the age of 29 I was diagnosed with melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. The tumor was localized to one area so it was removed with no extra treatment necessary. Unfortunately, melanoma has a very high rate of recurrence and now at 34 years old, I’ve had 12 surgeries and have all of the scars to prove it.

Getting back to the vanity side of the issue, had I ever looked closely at the face of a 30 or 40-something who tanned regularly, I’d have traded the baby oil in for some SPF 15, at least. UV exposure causes a breakdown to the collagen in the skin that increases the appearance of aging, making us look older than we are. From what I remember, most kids think looking older will give the appearance of maturity and sophistication, but what adult goes out of his or her way to look older?

In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t avoid the sun like a vampire. I still enjoy the beach, playing outdoor sports, and backyard BBQ’s in the summertime, but I protect myself as well as I can. Most sources will tell you to avoid sun exposure between 10am – 4pm, but for those of us who actually want to have a life during the warmer months, that’s just not feasible. Simple things you can do instead: wear sunscreen SPF 30+, always, as if your life depends on it; wear a hat, the bigger the brim the better; always wear polarized sunglasses; and if you forego the hat, don’t forget to put sunscreen on the tops of your ears and head (getting sunburn where you part your hair stinks!).

Skin damage doesn’t just happen to the fair-haired and light-eyed, all skin tones are susceptible to damage from UV rays. This advice applies in the winter months, too. The overcast conditions and reflection of the sun from snow can cause skin and eye damage as well. Educate yourself on the differences in sunscreens, and there are differences.

I’m not telling you to hide from the sun, I’m only encouraging you to protect your skin.  Incorporate education into your employee wellness program to stress the importance of daily sunscreen use.  Sunscreen and a hat are far less expensive than surgery to prevent you from looking like the Crypt Keeper!

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