Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Staff High Five: Tracy Yost

We say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.

  • Name: Tracy YostTYost
  • City, State: Redding, CT
  • Years with NIFS: a little over 2 years. However, I started as a per diem sub so add in an additional 3-4 months of sub work.
  • Position: Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was looking to work in fitness on a campus with an older population. After working a few shifts for the previous manager, I knew I liked working at my client site. Then I saw the Fitness Manager's role posted online. I immediately applied. As they say, the rest is history. I find tremendous satisfaction in working with an older population. I understand that it takes effort for them to get to fitness class/gym. I try to make sure that they feel it was worth the effort. I often find that the super seniors, as I call them, are so grateful for every workout, every balance challenge, every tip, etc. In some ways, I work for the daily reward of making a difference in people's lives. 
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: I like to do a loving kindness meditation practice in November. I find that it sets the stage for a better Thanksgiving Day. There was no established mindfulness practice here so I took a risk and introduced a morning meditation class. We had half a dozen participants (which is good for us). One particular day after 3 weeks or so of practicing loving kindness every weekday morning, the energy/the flow was particularly powerful in the room. My voice & pace just right, no outside noises, no late comers, etc. As I was reading the script, I could feel the charged emotion in the room and in my own body. I looked up and eyes were closed but tears were streaming down most faces. I believe it was a moment of true forgiveness combined with the power of group energy.  It's hard to describe but it was profound. In fact, those of us in the room still feel connected to each other. I was able to build on that connection during the year of Covid isolation. I added those residents to my weekly call list. 
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: The resources and the support. We are able to tap into a group of fitness professionals who understand the age population and the dynamic of a continuing care community. We share best practices and best programs. However, it's the next step that truly separates us: we are able to use what we have learned and tailor it to our individual site. Suggestions and answers are a phone call or email away. 
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: The people, it's always about the people & relationships for me. I love working on a campus and connecting residents to all the resources available on the campus. Right now, my absolute fave thing is providing scavenger hunts that allow residents to walk and explore every nook & cranny of the community.
  • What motivates you: Feeling part of...a team, a community, a family. Helping people. I like connecting to residents with conversations, learning about their lives before moving into the community. I also like feeling part of the team that ensures that residents are getting the assistance that they need. As the Fitness Manager, I see residents daily and thus see/hear/notice changes that I am able to share with the transition team. 
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love my 2 dogs. I love day hikes. On Sundays, my husband and I (with our dogs) are currently exploring The Charles Ives Trail in our area of Connecticut. It's an 18-mile trail (that we had never heard of) that travels through the nearby towns in our area. I love crochet but its's currently on hold. Instead, I am sewing intricate felt Christmas stockings for my family. It's been a long process.  I play a crazy mah jongg solitaire game with real tiles (not online). I read a lot of books. I actually listen to books- as I drive, as I sew, as I exercise. My daughters live in California.  I love visiting them and exploring with them. Lastly, I run races but not because I like running. I run races because somehow, I am able to convince friends to do one with me. It becomes more about the race weekend and the time spent together with friends than the actual race. Ironically a friend just reversed roles & convinced me to join her in a 50-mile race called Rock the Ridge. 

Interested in learning more about our staffing services? Click below for what best fits your needs.


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

The Weather is Warming Up and So Should You!

GettyImages-1188764106Y’all, spring is HERE! This means sunshine, beautiful weather, and outdoor activities! Whether you plan on exercising outdoors, playing games with the family, or maintaining the yard, please don’t forget to warm up first. Warming up helps get your body ready to move and helps reduce the likelihood of suffering an injury.

Don’t forget these few tips about exercising outdoors! Avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day and start exercising now, so you’ll be better adjusted to the heat before summer gets here. Hats and sunscreen are a must! Also, be sure to bring water to stay adequately hydrated. If you are concerned about altering your exercise routine, be sure and speak to your doctor.

Warming up your body immediately before exercising helps you get the most out of an exercise routine, not to mention helping you prevent injuries. Try to warm up for at least 5 minutes before starting to exercise. You can know that you have completed a good warm up when you’ve started to sweat, have used most of your large muscle groups, and you’ve performed dynamic movements similar to what you will perform in your exercise routine. Starting to sweat means that you have increased your body temperature and your muscles and joints are ready to go!

So, what might a warmup look like?

Before exercising, try a five-minute walk or bike ride!

Or you could try this routine. Make sure you have something sturdy nearby to hold onto for balance and try to maintain your good posture while warming up!

  • Walk in place for 30 seconds.
  • Walk a little forward and backwards for 30 seconds.
  • Step side to side for 30 seconds.
  • March with high knees for 30 seconds.
  • Kick your foot up behind you (be sure and keep your knee pointing to the ground!) Alternate legs for 30 seconds.
  • Hold onto something for balance, shift your weight onto one foot, and lift the other. Roll the lifted foot around in a circle 10 times one direction then the other. Repeat on other foot. This exercise also works well seated!
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground and your hips facing forward, then twist your torso side to side 10 times.
  • Pull your hands back behind you, then swing your arms forward and give yourself a hug. Repeat 10 times.
  • Let your arms hang down by your sides, then swing one up and over your head. Alternate your arms and windmill them for 30 seconds.
  • Turn your head side to side, as far as is comfortable, while keeping your back straight and your chest facing forward. Repeat 10 times in each direction.
  • Try this warm up before exercising or completing strenuous activities or use it as your break during long, stationary activities. Personally, I add these exercises into my weekend yard work, as a way to keep limber while weeding my flower beds! Now it’s your turn! Be sure and comment your favorite warmup exercises!
Topics: exercise and wellness exercise and aging

Cross Training: Is it right for you?

GettyImages-181139737Cross training in exercise can make you a stronger athlete and help you achieve your fitness goals faster and more efficiently. Consider cross training in the workplace, and how learning or developing new skills can help to improve business, experiences, and job satisfaction – this isn’t much different in the realm of fitness! Simply put, cross training consists of adopting an exercise regimen which consists of a variety of modalities. To get started, consider your fitness goals, and the type of exercise that compliments them. Take running for example, instead of hitting the treadmill or pavement daily, try adding in Yoga or Pilates a few times a week for to help improve your flexibility and balance, or a strength training routine which targets the muscles you rely on to carry you across the finish line.

Runners, along with any athlete (yes, I’m looking at you!), participating in sport or recreational activity can benefit from adding a consistent strength training program into their training. The addition of resistance training multiple times a week will help increase muscular endurance, power and strength. What about yoga, flexibility training, and cardiovascular exercises like swimming, cycling, and rowing? Adding in a variety of these training methods will help to improve cardiovascular endurance, agility, balance, and posture, and make you more well-rounded which translates to how you feel and move in everyday life.

Still not sure cross training is for you? Some other benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of injury: By cross training, you will be more likely avoiding overtraining of just one set of muscles and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Enhanced weight loss: Using multiple forms of exercise is a great way to increase metabolism and calorie burn. A proper diet, exercise and decrease in caloric intake will create a deficit, assisting in weight loss, if that’s a goal of yours.
  • Overall Improved fitness: Adding other modes of training outside of your regular sport or recreational activity can have benefits of increased agility, aerobic capacity, flexibility, and balance. Giving you an overall improved level of health and fitness.
  • Reduced risk of exercise boredom/burnout: Most people, at some point in their training, have experienced burnout or boredom from doing the same routine daily, monthly, etc. Adding cross training to the mix can spice things up and keep you fresh and focused! Cross training also allows the body to experience different types of stress to the body's systems.

There are so many ways to mix up or tweak your weekly workout schedule by adding something different into your routine. Try something new and refreshing, like a group fitness class, or a partner workout, and allow your body to recover from its normal routine. Remember not everyone’s cross training will look the same - speak to your NIFS fitness staff if you would like help creating a cross training schedule based on your personal fitness goals.

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Topics: fitness success training for a race cross-training

How to Start a Home Garden

Having a home garden is a simple and rewarding way to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs while also being physically active. Springtime is the perfect season to begin planning which plants you want to grow, organizing the layout for your garden, and preparing the space. Gardening can add value to your life no matter your time commitment, space, or experience!

Check out these steps to get your home garden started:


  1. Where to Plant? Most plants thrive when they review direct sunlight, so you ideally want to place your garden in a spot where it will receive the most amount of direct sunlight throughout the day.
  2. What to grow? Most farmers recommend starting your first garden by growing items that you consistently eat now as well as items that can be easily preserved or stored. Each individual seed packet has directions referring to growing duration, when to harvest, and when to germinate the seeds. For best results, review each individual seed packet and plant based off those recommendations.
  3. Prepare the space. Some people opt to till-up the ground, talk about a great way to burn calories, others choose to build or purchase raised garden beds. The benefit of raised beds are that they allow you to maximize the space you have, especially if you live in a dense area such as the city or even an apartment. They also help to make gardening and more manageable for the first-time gardener. The downside of using raised beds are that you will need to invest more resources into the purchasing and building and filling the beds. Consider what material you use, increase nutrients to the soil by use of compost, manure, sand, and peat moss.
  4. Plant the seeds. It is best to refer to the seed packets for more specific instructions about depth, timing, and other important variables. Additionally, it is important to plant any tall items, such as tomatoes, corn, or anything grown on a trellis on the North side of the garden. This will allow the shorter items to still receive enough southern sun without anything impeding the direct light.
  5. Garden maintenance. Now that your garden is planted you want to maintain your efforts to help your garden flourish. Be sure to weed 2-3 times per week to h
  6. elp over growth or invasion of unwanted weeds. Water daily, keep your plants hydrated. Consider mulch or wood chips around the base of your plants.

Don’t let your lack of space keep you from gardening!

If you do not have a yard or have limit space on your property, then container gardening will be the best place to start. Many individuals will use small to large planters to grow various herbs and even some smaller fruits and vegetables. The same steps from above apply to container gardening: correct placement of the containers, proper sunlight, soil, and room to grow.

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Topics: outdoor exercise

4 Tips for Seniors to Maintain and Improve Balance

Talk to almost any senior about exercise and physical health and it likely won’t be long before they talk about a fear of falling. Falls become a major risk with every year one ages. For exactly this reason it is vital to prioritize balance and stability when training the senior population. Without the ability and confidence to walk comfortably, get on and off the floor, and move safely into and out of a seated position, seniors sacrifice a certain quality of life. On the contrary, improving balance and stability can dramatically increase the quality of life in senior populations. It’s easier to participate in more activities and socialize more if one is not nervous of stumbling or falling on the way there.

GettyImages-628029916I have found appropriate strength training to make a huge difference improving balance. Several regular attendees of our group fitness classes have remarked that they feel more stable while walking, that they feel more confident getting out of chairs or off of the floor, and that they feel their hips and leg muscles working more to stabilize their body while standing or walking. This improves confidence and allows them to walk further, perform more advanced exercise, and remain more active in their daily lives. Strength can be a life saver! Check out these four tips for seniors to maintain and improve balance:

1. Use your hips!

The entire lumbopelvic complex (core and hips) is helpful for full body balance. The more one improves their core and hip strength, the more these muscles can contribute to full body stability. In our group classes we perform sit to stands (standing up out of a chair), one leg balances (supported against a wall if necessary), seated leg extensions, seated or standing hip abductions, seated or standing marching, and many more exercises that strength train the hip complex to improve balance.

2. Walk more (as long as it feels good)

If you can walk comfortably and without pain, it won’t hurt to add a little extra walking to your daily routine. Every time we walk, we are training our balance as every muscle of our lower body has to constantly be stabilizing as we shift our weight from one foot to the other. Walking is one of the best and simplest exercises to perform and requires no equipment.

3. Stand when possible

Many exercises can be performed seated or standing. As long as you feel comfortable to perform exercises standing, you will be working your balance. Even exercise such as overhead presses or bicep curls will help improve balance as the hips and core need to be active while standing.

4. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it

One of the worse things we all witnessed during the strict COVID lockdown was the loss of physical ability. Daily physical movement that people took for granted was suddenly severely limited. Without a regular daily schedule it becomes very easy to pass the days with little to no physical activity. Many found that their strength, balance, mobility, and endurance had decreased over the course of the lockdown. The best way to avoid this is to find ways to practice balance throughout the day. We have already mentioned walking more, but practicing getting in and out of seated positions, practicing getting on and off the floor, and practicing exercise that help you improve balance will all be critical for maintain these abilities for as long as possible.

Let us know if you have any enjoyable or interesting ways to maintain and train balance! Is your community in need of balance programming? Check Balance Redefined below.

Learn more about our balance redefined programming

Topics: balance balance training balance training for seniors

Staff High Five: Hannah Nordin

We say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.

  • Name: Hannah NordinHNordin
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 1.5 years
  • Position: Assistant Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was working as a trainer at another gym, but I was eager to find a job that expanded my role. I felt like NIFS was a perfect fit because my role allows me to train individuals 1:1, create and teach fun group fitness classes, design and lead corporate programs, and more. I love using my knowledge and passion for fitness in creative ways with NIFS.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: I worked with a member who participated in the PFQ program. She used to be a collegiate athlete so had plenty of background knowledge about fitness. She hadn’t prioritized working out in a while and came to me for accountability. While she was working with me, she learned new combo moves, improved balance, improved stamina, and restored her passion for fitness. She even got her husband and her daughter involved in some of her workouts!
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: A NIFS fitness pro is dedicated to not only giving the members what they ask for, but going above and beyond. We care about the members as individuals and educate them so that they have the tools to succeed in their fitness journey. We provide creative ways to incorporate physical activity into our members’ daily lives and most importantly, we lead by example because we know how important is to not only talk about fitness but actively participate and prioritize it in our own lives.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I LOVE that the client prioritizes their employees health. They work with us to push out programs and information to all employees, not just the fitness center members. We work with some of the other contractors in the nutrition and wellbeing field to offer employees the best health experience possible.
  • What motivates you: I am motivated to help and inspire members because I know how much physical activity has positively impacted my life. I have had so many members start on a path toward a goal and in the process, find out that they are gaining so much more than what they expected. I like to say that physical fitness is just one component of well-being, but that it can be one of the most powerful sources of health and happiness.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love hiking, camping, and being outside as often as possible!

Interested in learning more about our staffing services? Click below for what best fits your needs.


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Wellness Professional

wellness.nifs.orghubfsScreen Shot 2020-10-06 at 12.20.42 PMTwo of the most common challenges I hear from our fitness management and consulting clients is that they want to enhance their employee wellness offerings but (1) they don’t have an onsite fitness center or (2) they have a small fitness center and they are having a difficult time strategizing a broader program due to perceived space constraints. In both of these scenarios, there remains much opportunity to provide diverse programs and services. The key factor to driving engagement is having a wellness champion to garner participation within the four walls of your fitness center or developing motivating wellness initiatives to support employees in-person and virtually within your organization. A true health and fitness professional possesses the knowledge, skills and creativity to adapt wellness offerings to meet the unique needs of your organization. Here are the top 5 ways your organization can benefit from having a dedicated health and fitness professional at the helm of your employee wellness program.

  1. They can build relationships with your employees. Nothing garners participation like someone who understands the barriers and goals of your employees. The support and understanding to help employees identify their goals with checkpoints, support and praise in their journey is widely successful as employees crave accountability.
  2. They can help you deliver on your goals. You want to do better with robust wellness offerings for your employees but having the time to develop and execute on that vision can be a challenge. A qualified health and fitness professional knows how to collaborate and align programs and services in your wellness program to help you meet your goals.
  3. They can assess outcomes and innovate fresh offerings. Offering random health education lectures and fitness classes is a great start, but someone leading the charge of your wellness program can be better tuned into the topics, formats, etc., that are of the most interest of your employees. Setting program goals, conducting evaluations and surveys and assessing participation paves the way for innovating fresh new programs that keep your employees asking what’s next.
  4. They can drive collaboration. Whether it’s promoting services and resources within your EAP, collaborating with your cafeteria vendors on healthy dining options, or cross-promoting health services with your clinician staff, a multidisciplinary approach helps you meet the spanning interests and needs of your employees while also keeping promotion of the resources your organization provides at the forefront.
  5. The can champion your offerings. Sending out a company email about an upcoming health lecture is a great way to spread the word to the masses but having a trusted face and voice to connect with employees who could benefit from participating is a difference maker. You need an advocate who is connected with your employees to send invitations and rally participation in what you are offering.

Recognizing qualified staffing as a solution for your employee wellness program is one thing and knowing how to hire is another. Check out our best practices for tips in recruiting some of the best in the business. Looking for additional support in strategizing a plan to enhance your employee wellness program or an onsite fitness center, contact NIFS today for a complimentary consulting appointment.


Bust Outdoors this Spring!

GettyImages-1225849007The winter months have come to a close and we have officially made it to April. It is the time of year when Spring has finally returned. The days are getting longer and warmer as we finally start getting back to a more normal environment. It’s time to take part in the many joys that Spring brings. During the winter months, we spend so much time indoors that by the time Spring rolls around our bodies are in desperate need of some Vitamin D. Make time to get outside each day to soak up that sun and warmth you have missed!

Check out these ideas and make the time to step outside:

  1. Go for a walk or run: For some, getting your steps in is hard during the winter months if you don’t have access to a treadmill or place to walk safely. Now that it is Spring, the outside can be your gym! Take your workout outdoors and find walking or running trails. You can also walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the seasonal changes.
  2. Garden: Try something new and work on planting a garden or try your green thumb at house plants. It doesn’t have to be anything too big. Start with a couple of vegetables or some different flowers. This gives you a great excuse to get outside and sneak some exercise in as well. If you are needing some inspiration of where to start with a garden, check out this link!
  3. Do your work outside: If you are working from home it can be very easy to get stuck in the habit of sitting at the same spot day in and out. If you have the ability and flexibility to, take your work or computer outside to the back patio. This change of scenery is a great way to get a breath of fresh air and soak up vitamin D.
  4. Grill out on the patio: Try planning to grill out a couple times a week or even take your lunch break outside. If you have kids at home, plan a picnic in the backyard for a fun activity. Spending some time outdoors at the end of the day is a great way to decompress after a long day.
  5. Encourage the family to get outside: Schedule a household recess. Take a break from technology and spend time with outdoor activities during the evening. A family walk or bike ride is a great way to burn some energy and build lifelong habits.

What do you most enjoy about spending Spring outdoors?

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Topics: outdoor exercise

NIFS is Supporting the Heartline Study and You Can Too

GettyImages-1200863072With NIFS non-profit mission rooted in research and helping people age successfully through the lifespan, we are excited to support a new research study from Johnson and Johnson, in collaboration with Apple. Heartline is a heart health study for individuals 65+ with the goal of helping participants understand and directly engage in their heart health and improve health outcomes.

As NIFS is currently partnered with dozens of senior living communities across the country and our residents love to learn about a variety of health topics, current research, and trending technology, we reached out to Heartline to learn more. What we discovered is that NIFS is uniquely positioned within the senior living industry to help support this study while also inspiring our residents with their desire to learn, contribute and be active.

Check out the website at as they do a great job describing the intentions of the study and how to get involved. Anyone residing in the US who is 65+ with an iPhone 6s or later and who has Medicare coverage is eligible to participate. Hello huge boomer population, we are talking to you! You don’t have to be personally invited or residing within a senior living community to get involved. If you meet the criteria above, you can visit the website to get started.

Here are a few things that I took away from our first discussion together that I really liked about Heartline and the helpful folks from Johnson and Johnson.

  • Ease of use: The study first launched in early 2020 giving them opportunity to gather user feedback on the Heartline app. If we were to introduce the study to our members, we knew that many would have questions on the ease of participating and using their iPhone or Apple watch. The Heartline app is in the app store and is currently rated at 4.6 stars with many positive reviews on not only how easy it is to participate but how individuals have increased their physical activity levels as a result of participating. Win #1.
  • Participant perks: By joining the study, individuals are not only contributing to medical research but they receive heart health education and have an opportunity to earn rewards. Again, reading some of the reviews within the Heartline app is a great showcase of how beneficial some participants have found the educational aspect to be in making positive lifestyle choices. Win #2.
  • Getting started: The knowledgeable team members from Johnson and Johnson made it easy for NIFS to get started in promoting Heartline by providing us with marketing collateral to help spread the word to our members. Not only did they provide flyers and newsletter article content we could use, but they helped us tailor it in a way that aligns with our messaging to our members while meeting their standards. Win #3.

NIFS is now promoting the Heartline study within the fitness centers we manage in senior living communities to be an advocate of research, heart health and technology in the realm of physical activity and older adults. You can be an advocate too by sharing the website with local senior centers, senior living communities, church groups, or the seniors in your life.

Topics: resident wellness programs improving senior fitness