Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fitness through the Holidays

 

GettyImages-638573962 (1)The holidays are always such busy times! Managing all the things from day to day tasks, much less the extra holiday parties, celebrations, decorating, shopping, etc. Many times people decide to skip  workouts or cooking at home to make time for holiday activities. You shouldn't forgo your normal routine and it's best if you try to maintain some normalcy when it comes to your exercise routine and eating healthy. Take a moment to pause and incorporate even just 30 minutes of activity that includes the whole family.

One way to manage your time between celebrating and exercising is to choose an activity with friends and family that involves exercise. There are a lot of festive activities that involve activity. Ice skating as a family is great exercise and can be done indoors or outdoors. During a snow fall, you can shovel and offer to help neighbors who may not be able to. Involve the whole family in building a snowman or snow fort to burn energy. One of the best snow activities is going sledding. Climbing those hills is not only a great leg workout, but also a cardiovascular workout. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of indoor activity centers. If you belong to a gym or club, you can certainly use their facilities to do a traditional workout, play basketball or even swim as a family. Many area high school pools also offer open swim time.  Trampoline parks have become a trend for family fun and instead of watching your kids jump, parents can join in on the fun. It’s quite the workout to jump for an hour, just use caution! Check out other options in your town such as laser tag, rock climbing, indoor batting cages and indoor playgrounds. Most of these involve a fee but if you plan ahead you can often get group discounts and coupons to make it affordable.

Don’t have time to plan ahead or need to save time? Create games and workouts at home. If you have stairs you can all walk or run up and down the stairs and do an activity at the top and bottom to create your own workout. Turn up the music for a family dance party and take turns choosing your favorite songs.  The possibilities are endless, just think like a kid and use your imagination, or simply let your kids choose the activity!

Instead of grabbing food on the go, involve your kids and make it part of family time. Make your own pizzas at home and everyone can vote which is their favorite. Make a healthier Christmas cookie recipe together. There are great recipes that minimize processed sugars and flours. Allow your kids to pick the meal if they help make it. These are all ways that you can still spend family time together without disrupting your healthy eating.

The most important thing is to keep up as much of a routine as you can. If you are used to exercising and eating well then you should keep doing it as much as you can through the holidays. You can certainly take a break but don't disrupt your routine, make the holidays about friends and family, but you can also maintain your health as a priority.

Topics: balanced diet fitness routine workout motivation staying active during the holidays

Kicking off 2020 with the 5 Star Fit Club

GettyImages-494388997 (1)It should come as no surprise that most people aim to improve their lives in one way or another with the start of a new year. Particularly when it comes to focusing on better health and fitness, January’s clean slate seems to be the ideal time to get back on track and into shape immediately following the busy holiday season and prolonged period of indulgence. This seems to be a universal practice as we have found that to be no exception for our members and residents in senior living communities!

NIFS partners with communities across the US to manage their fitness center programming. Similar to most public gyms, our staff also notice patterns related to New Year’s resolutions. In the first few days of January we have come to expect an influx of participation, but these numbers start to decline after a few weeks as old routines creep back and resolutions are abandoned.

Knowing how to set goals, find motivation, build better habits, and remain consistent are all huge components of why so many “resolution-setters” fail. In fact, one study conducted by the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people stick to their resolutions, so we saw this as an opportunity to better support the communities and residents we serve and developed NIFS Five Star Fit Club. We piloted this program in ten communities for the first time in January 2019 and it resulted in:

  • Total visits: An average increase of 21% in total resident participation to the fitness centers in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • Group Fitness Visits: An average increase of 28% in participation in group fitness classes in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • Appointment Volume: Resident engagement increased by 135% in the number of appointments conducted in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • New Members: Across the communities, a total of 43 residents began participating in their fitness center for the first time as a direct result of the Five Star Fit Club program.

This incentive program is three weeks long and includes both a personalized assessment and exercise prescription as well as an interactive workshop where residents learn how to effectively change their habits and routines. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit their community’s fitness center independently and attend a set number of group fitness classes. The premise of the program is for participants to earn five stars over the three-week period by participating in the mentioned programs and services. In doing so they are being recognized and rewarded, experiencing accountability, and sensing small wins all while creating sustainable healthy habits and routines to keep them on track for the remainder of the year!5-Star Fit Club

In 2020, even more NIFS clients are kicking off the New Year with the 5-Star Fit Club and we look forward to hearing about the healthy habits and lifestyle choices residents adopt. Robust programs like the 5-Star Fit Club are a great way for senior living providers to support resident well-being while increasing utilization of amenities such as their fitness centers and pools. Click here for some other programming twists brought to NIFS clients.

Get Our Guide to Successful Fitness Programs

Topics: fitness programs for seniors senior living communities NIFS programs adding fun to senior fitness

Sticking with your Routine through the Holidays

GettyImages-864508820 (1)The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Multiple family gatherings, end of the year projects, tons of shopping, yet somehow you have to find time to exercise. Consistency is key with almost everything in life if you want to continue to have motivation towards something important to you. Often times individuals find themselves taking one or two days off from something and those couple of days turn into a week or a month. Exercise is especially something that can be difficult to get back on track after a short break, so continuing your normal routine is vital.

Tips for Fitting it In:
  • Schedule it - add a time to your calendar and treat it like an appointment
  • Pack your bag the night before and set it by the door - take active steps to be prepared
  • Wake up and exercise - the day of an event, or function, start your day with exercise
  • Short bouts - if time doesn't allow, 10 minute bouts are better than none!

This time of year also brings about a lot of stress. Exercise is proven to reduce stress in various ways such as swimming, biking, running, lifting, yoga, and many more. Exercise has benefits in reducing feelings of anxiety, fatigue, anger, frustration, and even depression. Along with stress, this time of year also brings about depression and sadness for many. Continuing with a routine not only helps you stay on track even after the holidays, but can also be beneficial to help you get through them. Exercise helps provide structure during the day. If it is something individuals are used to, it is important to continue that during a long break from work. The Food Diary mentions that having a consistent routine helps individuals stay on track with proper meals, getting proper sleep and provides a “framework” for the day to keep you prioritized and on schedule.

Aside from the mental benefits, there are physical benefits to sticking with a routine with exercise. It does not take that many days off to lose everything you had been working for throughout the year. Endurance declines quickly when taking too many days off from exercise. Studies have shown that when a regular exercise routine is disrupted and an individual stops working out, the de-training process begins within a couple of weeks. In addition, it is a time of year where weight gain can quickly occur. Continuing with the same workout routine can help prevent this from occurring and allow you to better maintain your weight. If the exact same routine cannot be managed due to access to proper equipment, shorter maintenance workouts should still be followed so that exercise is not stopped all together.

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Topics: holidays fitness routine workout motivation staying active during the holidays

Transportation on Foot and the Benefits of Walking

GettyImages-936397332 (1)Walking everywhere is slowly becoming a bigger trend, specifically in states that it never used to be. As fitness trackers are being used more and more, step challenges are increasing both at work and at home. Research is discovering the benefits of walking and ensuring that people are getting their steps in every day. Walking is one of the best means to reach physical activity recommendations and by meeting those recommendations, individuals lower their risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and many more.

Disease prevention is the number one benefit of walking. Diseases such as dementia are being researched more thoroughly and it has been found that physical activity is being proposed to be a prevention factor. Walking is a primary factor to address the obesity epidemic, which can help reduce the risk of major non-communicable diseases mentioned previously. Compared to other activities, walking meets the recommendations of physical activity and creates a lower risk for injury. With little impact on the joints compared to higher intensity exercises, it prevents high risk of injury while being physically active. There are also some psychological benefits to walking, it can improve blood pressure, glucose control and many more, which overall can lead to a much more relaxed lifestyle.

Walking also produces indirect benefits as well. If more people choose to walk as a means of transportation, it will reduce air pollution, which can lead to lower rates of cancer and asthma. Walking or hiking also allows for more interaction with nature, which has also been shown to improve mental health. Walking  is typically associated with social interaction, therefore improving social health and greatly impacting overall mental health and decreasing an early mortality rate. Lastly, by showing more initiation of walking regularly, it can greatly influence the lives of our children. They will see that walking is a regular daily activity and will be more likely to follow in those footsteps. There are many programs that encourage biking and walking to school to increase physical activity in children. Incentive programs are a new norm specifically for increasing activity, by utilizing a program it could also indirectly influence their parents as far as walking as a means of transportation goes.

The benefits of walking are never ending whether it be a direct or indirect association. If individuals learn and understand these benefits, walking can be the new norm for every day transportation. It will not just occur when it is the first warm day of the season or the last warm day of the season as many do now. The benefits of walking and the fact that it can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle physically, mentally, and socially, should be more than enough reason for individuals to ditch their cars or a seated lunch break and walk more regularly.

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Topics: employee wellbeing walking tips fitness routine traveling movement nature