Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How Do NIFS Business Partners and Contacts Benefit Our Clients?

Corporate_Fitness_Center-1-2Clients regularly ask me whether we have any recommendations or contacts for certain exercise equipment, or if we have any successful models in place for collaborating with rehab departments or cafeteria vendors. The bulk of our contacts in the world of fitness are with current clients where we have our professional staff on the ground managing their fitness program, or with consulting clients where we are providing support and resources to enhance their existing program. However, we also have a large network of industry contacts that we partner with, allowing us to (1) provide the quality service we do to our clients and (2) support other businesses outside of a client setting.

Once clients experience the ease of replacing their cardio equipment or launching a multi-vendor wellness initiative with our support, they recognize the added value that expertise brings to the partnership they have with NIFS. I love seeing clients supported on both sides—with our passionate staff on the ground in their fitness center serving their members, as well as with our administrative support helping guide their leadership team’s decision-making on broader facility and program needs.

Read on to learn about the relationships we build and the scope of our reach in supporting clients in 14 states across the US.

  • Equipment vendors: From balance and fall-prevention equipment, to group fitness supplies, to the latest trends in strength-training equipment, we have vendor partners across the US who help us find equipment solutions to meet our clients’ needs. For our senior living clients, we know which manufacturers have equipment that meets the unique needs of an active older adult population. For our corporate clients, we have partners who outfit facilities across the US with the latest and greatest equipment to create a welcoming and inspiring space for your employees. Not to mention, the relationships we have with equipment manufacturers provides us with national buying power, which we can pass along to our clients.
  • Architect and design firms: Particularly in a senior living setting where strong emphasis on quality, high-end fitness amenities for the aging population is on the rise, forward-thinking architects and designers reach out to us for consulting support on how to create a truly functional space that will best support a strong program when renovations or new construction are complete. These firms benefit from our end-user perspective, and we often pick up on some new ideas to file away in our bank of resources for future projects with clients.
  • Client vendors: At the site level, our staff regularly partners with other health and wellness vendors on campus to effectively bridge programs and services for their members. We work closely with rehab providers, cafeteria vendors, registered dietitians, employee health services, and many more. Some of these providers have a similar reach as we do in their profession across the US, and others are local providers, but we build strong connections with all to best serve our clients.

While the fitness industry can be full of fads, an ability to build strong relationships is a trend that will never go out of style and is essential for the success of any fitness program. We pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our clients, members, and vendor partners and love bridging new connections for clients to enhance their programs.

Interested in more information on the value we bring our clients? Read this quick read on 5 Reasons to Hire NIFS to Manage Your Fitness Center.

DOWNLOAD NOW

Topics: senior fitness management nifs fitness center management equipment corporate fitness management vendors networking senior wellness consulting corporate wellness consulting

Walking Group Safety for Retirement Communities: Have Fun and Be Safe!

HarrogateBelieve it or not, warm weather has arrived in some parts of the country, and is quickly approaching in others. As the sun peeks out from behind the clouds and nature begins to call, many older adults will be heading out the door for a walk outside. This is a very good thing, and should be encouraged for most people. Some retirement communities may even establish walking groups, which can be an extremely rewarding and fun activity for everyone.

If you plan to start, or join, a walking group near you, this blog is for you! Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare to walk.

Prescreening

If you are responsible for heading up a walking group, keep prescreening in mind. Walking, like any form of exercise, does carry risk. Prescreening is a great tool used in all fitness programs to ensure participant safety, identify risk, and reduce liability of fitness professionals. It is very likely that most people who will want to participate in your walking group will have already been screened during their membership application, and are good to go. However, it is important to make sure everyone in your group has been prescreened and understands the risks involved in exercise prior to joining. This is the first step toward protecting others and yourself.

Plan Ahead

Before you embark on your first walk as a group, make sure everyone knows where you’re going. If you’re the group leader, be sure to go over the route with your participants before you leave. If you’re a participating member of the walking group, be sure to ask where you’re headed if you don’t already know. By sharing the route with all participants, you’re reducing the chances of anyone getting lost along the way. As the leader, you should also share your planned route with someone who will not be joining you. This way, in the event of an emergency, your group will be accounted for.

Don’t Go Empty-handed

Speaking of emergencies, they do happen. Walking is very safe for most people, but health and safety issues can arise quickly. In these cases, it would serve yourself and your group to be prepared. I recommend taking a few important things with you on a walk. If you are a member of the walking group, make sure to bring weather-appropriate clothing, water, and a cell phone with emergency numbers easily accessible. If you are leading the group, I recommend bringing the following:

  • Water for yourself
  • Extra water for others
  • A cell phone
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • A map of your route
  • A first-aid kit
  • A light folding chair

That last one may sound strange, but it is important for anyone experiencing a health issue or needing to rest on the trail to have the option of sitting down. Benches may not always be available in an emergency situation, so bringing another seating option along with you is a good idea.

Walking groups are a wonderful way to experience nature when the weather finally lightens up. Whether you are leading the group or joining it, be sure to take some precautions. By making sure everyone in your group has been prescreened, you make the walk safer for yourself and others. Planning and sharing your route before you leave reduces the chances of navigation issues, and ensures that your whereabouts are well known. Finally, by bringing along a few key items on your walk, you’ll be much more prepared for an emergency if it should arise. All of this together will make your walking group experience safer and more fun. Enjoy your walk!

Interested in how NIFS can help your community improve your fitness program?  See how we helped a client turn their program around, click below.

How we improved an already successful fitness program

Topics: senior wellness prescreening tools safety senior living activities starting a walking program

Nutrition and Exercise Are the Keys to Healthy Aging

GettyImages-482817556 (1)The more we age, the less we move, and the more we start to take our health for granted, especially if we have been “healthy” for most of our lives. We often hear about the need to exercise more as we get older, but what about the nutrition aspect? Eating healthy foods is just as important as exercising. There are some good practices and tricks to maintaining a healthy diet and exercising plan as we age.

Why Healthy Eating Is Important

The first thing you must understand is why it is so important to eat healthier as you age. The number-one benefit is lowering risk of having chronic diseases such as cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, and bone disorders. Exercising and healthy eating work together, especially when talking about weight management.

Everyone Is Different

Individuality is a key component, and it’s very touchy when talking about exercise and the nutrition that goes with that because everyone responds to certain foods and exercise differently. Talking to a medical professional about a healthy weight based on age is a good starting point.

Choosing the Right Foods

The best and worst part of nutrition is deciding what foods to eat and which ones you will need to avoid from now on. The more we age, the more our plates should look like a salad bowl rather than an egg carton. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk, seafood, and lean meats are all good food sources to consider when taking a better approach to healthy eating. Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar, salt, and butter, and fewer nutrients.

Portion Control

Before thinking about a healthy exercise plan, understand that you do not need to eat as much as you did when you were younger. Portion control is very real and can be the deciding factor when it comes to gaining or losing weight. Tips for avoiding overeating include

  • Don’t let yourself be distracted by entertainment and lose track of how much you’re eating.
  • Read about the nutritional facts on food labels.
  • Once you are full, stop eating.
  • Avoid going out to eat because restaurants give more food than they should.
  • Try to cook meals at home that look like a salad bowl.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge before you make plates.

Evaluate Your Physical Activity Needs and Find an Activity You Like

Aging happens every day, so take a step back and evaluate what needs your body has when it comes to physical activity. The first step of being active is talking to a physician about precautions you should take, especially if it has been a while since your last physical activity session. Aerobic endurance, resistance training, and balance should be the focus when it comes to being active and aging. The ACSM guidelines for adults and aerobic endurance is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity. Older adults should strive for at least 2 days of strengthening their muscles, and they should practice improvements on balance at least 3 days a week.

Physical activity does not have to be in a fitness center; finding something to enjoy is the key, such as corn toss, pickleball, shuffleboard, water aerobics, Tai Chi, yoga, or pool volleyball. Of course a balance class also helps meet goals for active older adults who are driven to exercise.

Aging can be challenging and unpredictable, but with both healthy eating and exercise, it can be easier and more fun.

Click below for our free download on the benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach.

Benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach >

Topics: nutrition weight management healthy eating exercise and aging healthy aging

Motivating Your Family to Be Healthier with Nutrition and Exercise

Getty Images - family With the weather changing for the better and the days becoming longer, this is as good of a time as any to get the family up and moving. It has been a long winter, and most of us have fallen into boring routines of being indoors binge watching Netflix or playing video games to stay out of the cold. Finally, spring is here, so it’s time to break those boring routines and switch it up!

Start with Small Trips Outside

Motivating the family to be healthier can seem like a challenge. Some tricks I use to get my family back outside is just starting small. It could be walking the dog around the block. If that seems more like a chore, try making a trip to the park. Play with the kids on the playground or find trails to walk. Bike rides and participating in local 5K run/walk events can also be a great way to get the family back up and moving after long, dreary days! 

Don’t Forget Nutrition with Fresh, in-Season Produce

Getting the family to take a healthier approach is not just about physical activity; think of nutrition as well. This is a great time to restock the fridge with some of your favorite fruits and vegetables because most likely they are fresh and in season right about now. Fresh fruit and cold-cut vegetables are great to pack for family gatherings, picnics, and even school lunches. Slow approaches to getting the family into healthier habits gives them time to adjust to the changes and make them habits. A great way to change up their nutrition is trying a new fruit or vegetable at least once a week. This way everyone will be excited to try something different while also finding new foods that are nutritious.

Healthy Habits for Life

Motivating your family to be healthier does not have to be a challenge. Encourage fun activities that the whole family will enjoy. Starting healthy habits when children are young can help them keep these habits in the future. If not everyone is ready for exercise, try motivating the family to make healthier food choices. Finding common ground can be key to getting the whole family motivated. If one person gets motivated first, it could help fuel the rest of the family’s motivation to be healthier.

What are your family's favorite activities to do together,         comment below!

Topics: motivation winter exercise for kids seasonal eating fruits and vegetables

Healthy Gut for Life: Healthy Habits for Whole-body Health

GettyImages-962782170 (1)I keep finding more and more news stories, magazine articles, social media ads, and even store displays that contain the words “Gut Health.” 10 years or more ago, you never heard that phrase anywhere, but now it’s all the rage. So, why all the buzz? Well, it turns out that research has linked gut health to a variety of functions in your body.

Let’s Dig Deeper

Gut Health is basically a generic term referring to a diversity of issues that can occur in the GI tract or digestive system. The GI tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. The digestive system includes the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. That’s a large variety of issues and organs for such a small term. “Gut microbiome” is another phrase that goes hand in hand with gut health and refers to the community of bacteria that makes up your digestive system. There are billions of bacteria in your gut microbiome, and much of that bacteria is very beneficial. However, when there is bad bacteria or damage to your microbiome or gut, your body reacts in a negative way.

The Unhealthy Gut

Some signs of an unhealthy gut include upset stomach (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn), unintentional weight changes, lack of sleep or sleep disturbances, skin conditions or irritations (eczema), autoimmune conditions, or food intolerances. Researchers and physicians are finding more and more conditions that are directly linked to gut health.

Now comes the big question: what do you do? Fortunately there are a lot of ways you can change your gut health. It definitely takes time, but you will notice a difference in how you feel.

The Healthy Gut

Here are some things to do to prevent bad bacteria from forming in your microbiome, and boost those healthy bacteria levels to increase your gut health. Even if you don’t experience any symptoms mentioned above, these are good practices to keep your whole-body health in check:

  • Lower your stress level. Easier said than done, of course! Exercise, meditation, socializing with friends and family, and even having a pet are all ways to reduce stress.
  • SLEEP! You truly do need that uninterrupted 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Believe me when I tell you that sleep really matters! My gut health tells me when I am not sleeping well. I can’t digest any food properly and I feel groggy, bloated, and ill half of my day. As soon as I have several days of good sleep in a row, my body thanks me and responds appropriately.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food. Your food will digest better, and it helps decrease any bloating, gas, constipation, etc.
  • Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps the mucosal lining of the intestines and promotes digestion.
  • Take prebiotics (food) or probiotics. This is something you should discuss with your physician or healthcare provider because probiotics are not for everyone. Prebiotics are in foods and help generate good bacteria. Some examples are bananas, apples, oats, garlic, and onions. Probiotics are actual living bacteria and can be taken in a supplement form or in foods such as yogurt, kefir, and kimchi. Too many probiotics can cause bacterial overgrowth, so be sure to discuss it with your physician.
  • Check for food intolerances. If you notice consistent gas, constipation, bloating, rash, nausea, fatigue, or abdominal pain after eating certain foods, you may have a food intolerance. Your healthcare provider can help you test for these. Once you identify trigger foods and eliminate them, your digestive system and how you feel may improve.
  • Change your eating habits. Eliminating processed foods, trans and hydrogenated fats, refined oils and sugars, conventional meats, and even pasteurized dairy products could lead to better gut health and a healthier microbiome. These foods have been shown to cause inflammation in the body, which can contribute to an unhealthy gut.

It’s Your Turn

This is a lot of information, and may even sound overwhelming! However, this is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Much of your body functions based on your gut health. The healthier your gut, the healthier you are in general. I am speaking from experience when I tell you that making the small changes listed above can truly help you feel better and be healthier.

You can read more about gut health here.

Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: hydration sleep stress relief gut health digestion