Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Sit-to-Stand is the new go-to move for senior living residents

07.2021_sit to stand_CHPK 2This summer, eight different NIFS fitness managers lead their residents through the Sit-to-Stand Challenge. Residents were asked to set a goal each day and complete a certain number of sit-to-stand exercises. They could group them all together or break them up throughout the day. The program was received with much enthusiasm as residents completed an average of 367 sit-to-stands per person during the month!

So, why build a program based all around one exercise? For one, it gives everyone an attainable goal. Someone might say no to something where they are asked to do 10 exercises at a time even if it’s just three days a week, but everyone has time to just do one exercise per day, right? But why the sit-to-stand? Check out these benefits:

Maintain Independence

The seemingly simple movement of getting up out of a chair is something many of us take for granted. Have you ever counted how many times you stand up throughout the day? My guess is that it’s a lot. Giving older adults the continued confidence that they can get out of a chair with no help is huge for maintaining independence and comfortable living.

Fall Prevention

When older adults are looking to maintain independence, their main concern is often fall prevention. Many times when people thing about fall prevention, they think of balance-specific exercises like a single-leg balance or a tandem walk. What’s sometimes missed is the strength and coordination aspect of balance training. The sit-to-stand is a great lower-body exercise because it incorporates most of the big muscle groups in the legs and hips. Strengthening those muscles helps maintain stability and therefore prevents falls.

“Prehab” and Injury Prevention

Another major benefit of strengthening leg muscles is the support those muscles then give to joints in the hips, knees, and ankles. If someone is thinking about a knee or hip replacement, one of the things that a surgeon might suggest is to do some “prehab” or basically to strengthen the area around the joint before surgery so that recover will be easier and rehab will be more familiar. Think of it as giving yourself a head start on recovery. Who doesn’t want that?

Just about every piece of feedback on the Sit-to-Stand Challenge sent by participants was about how much stronger they feel after just one month and about how they want to continue doing the sit-to-stands in their normal exercise routine.

Check out what our participants are saying about the impact this simple challenge had on their strength and their confidence:

“About one quarter of the way through the challenge, I found it so easy to get up out of a chair. I was amazed at how easy it was getting up. I will be keeping it up from now on, but with 8-10 per day rather than 40 per day. Good program!” –Virsile, Chelsea, MI

“LOVED the sit-to-stand challenge along with all the other motivational activities.” –Jennie, Palm City, FL

“Probably many of us hadn't realized how much more sitting we were doing during COVID quarantine. I can tell I am stronger all over, not just lower body, from the continuous reminders to stay active and fit.” -Nancy, Indianapolis, IN

If you could choose one exercise to focus on perfecting over the course of a month, what would it be?

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Topics: senior living senior living wellness programs sit to stand

Staff High Five: Ashley Smith

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.

  • ASmithName: Ashley Smith
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 13 years
  • Position: Coverage Supervisor and Account Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS:
    I completed my internship in 2008 in the Fitness Center at NIFS headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. Being a college grad I quickly needed to find a job and one that I had just spent 4 years earning a degree in would be nice!! Corporate Fitness made sense and sounded fun. I applied for a coverage position and spent time floating around the Indianapolis sites NIFS managed which was cool, I also got to meet a TON of really cool people.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: I think we all experience small and big wins while working with our members each day. It’s always great to see someone hit a goal, gain muscle, knock that PR out of the park or just make it through a tough workout! For me, the most impactful moments were spent creating relationships with members. When you listen to people you learn a lot about them and how to work with them in order to achieve things they didn’t know were possible.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Our staff make it personal! They take the time to work with people 1-1 to customize workouts and plans to fit individual needs.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: We have a great NIFS group at each site, I enjoy getting to chat with everyone each month and seeing staff help each other grow. In addition, we are lucky enough to be asked a couple times a year to help with big onsite events like judging a Bocce Ball Tournament and Run a 5K with the CEO. It’s nice because we all can get together for these events!
  • What motivates you: Positivity and Albanese OR Haribo gummy candy… preferably bears, worms, things like this… but I don’t judge a gummy!
  • What is your favorite hobby: It’s always changing but currently, I enjoy gardening, house planting, decorating for Halloween, arts and crafts with the kids, front yard baseball, hanging out with family and hiking, well in general just chillin’ in nature! 😊

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff

Creating a Parkinson’s Specific Group Fitness Class

GettyImages-1225625994 (1)In this blog, we covered some of the basics of how exercise is vital to those living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in slowing the progression of the disease and managing symptoms. Now let’s chat about creating a Parkinson’s specific group fitness class for your members with PD. For me, group fitness is one of my favorite ways to exercise – something about the fun and engaging group atmosphere, accountability, motivation, and support from peers makes solo-exercise feel especially unappealing some days. Participating in group exercise can have huge benefits for your PD population too, but not just any group class is appropriate. Parkinson’s specific exercise classes can address common symptoms of PD including impaired balance and coordination, stiffness, freezing, poor posture, and limited flexibility/mobility which can in turn help to improve quality of life and help perform ADL’s more easily. Through a carefully developed exercise routine, individuals with PD may be able to slow the progression of the disease and improve their mobility and independence.

First, ensure that you (if you are the instructor), or your fitness staff have had adequate training and educational background on PD and are specialized in the training of individuals with PD to ensure classes are both safe and effective. You’ll want to encourage your members to check with their physician prior to starting a program and we recommend obtaining medical clearance as well.

While considering the unique training needs of members with PD, classes should be adapted to accommodate a variety of ability levels and include a variety of exercises which require both focus and effort. Each member should also be working at a moderate to vigorous intensity for the most effective workout. Utilize the RPE scale to ensure they are feeling somewhere between a 4-6 (moderate) or 7-8 (vigorous) out of 10. The components you want to include are aerobic, strength, balance, multitasking and flexibility for a complete workout. We recommend timing classes to be 50+ minutes in length so you have adequate time to warm up and training time inclusive of all components.

Structuring your classes: Start off with a warmup which includes raising the heart rate, warming up the body, stretching and flexibility exercises and of course some deep breathing. We want our PD members to really focus on deep breaths so they can relax and get a good stretch which in turn will combat muscle rigidity and assist in ADL’s.

Next, shift your focus to include aerobic training and strengthening exercises. Again, for aerobic exercise we want our participants to be working hard! This might be a time to consider adding in some dual tasks for cognition and coordination too! Dual tasks can be combined with any of the other training modalities so make sure to pepper those in often throughout your class. Try things like walking while counting backwards, catching a ball, standing on a foam pad while answering questions, or a variety of compound exercises. For this, just think “multitask” and have participants do two (or more!) things at once. For strengthening exercises, aim to hit the major muscle groups, but at the very least, you want to strongly address the muscles of the core, quads, glutes, back and triceps as they all lose strength and lead to poor postural changes.

Balance training is another essential training component in class as members with PD are two times more likely to fall when compared to those without PD due to slower reaction time, freezing, decline in mobility and balance, and lower body muscle weakness. You’ll definitely want to practice balance exercises and safe movement techniques in every exercise session!

Some other movements to add into your classes include boxing movements, yoga or tai chi practices, big movements, utilizing the voice loudly by counting or singing, and brain teasers or cognitive challenges. As always, end with adequate time to allow the body to cool down, stretch and some more deep breathing.

A few additional considerations as you develop your PD class include choreography and music! Studies have shown dancing and choreographed movements can help with balance, gait, confidence, movement initiation and QOL. Similarly, using music can reduce stress, improve breathing and voice quality, and make it FUN for you participants!

DOWNLOAD: 3 Keys to Adding Group Fitness Classes at your Community>

Topics: active aging senior fitness group fitness for seniors improving senior fitness Parkinson's Disease