Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

The Recipe for Healthy Aging

GettyImages-896877320As we age, we are constantly looking for ways to continue living our lives to the absolute fullest. One key element to reducing the effects of aging and to warding off possible health threats is to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle!

Living an active and balanced lifestyle that incorporates a mixture of aerobic, muscular strength and endurance, and balance and flexibility exercises will help to ward off a wide range of diseases. For example, regular exercise helps the body control blood pressure, body fat, heart disease, anatomical and structural impairments, cholesterol, and can even help reduce cognitive decline.

More times than not have I heard clients tell me that the aches and pains, or other health issues they have is just part of aging. While this may be true to some extent, you can still improve your over well-being in your older adult years even if you have never exercised in the past. Of course, the earlier you get started with an exercise routine the better but even just by including a moderate amount of exercise has shown substantial health benefits particularly for adults 50 years and older. Now that you recognize that exercise can help turn around your health at any age, the next step is figuring out what types of activities you enjoy and will be able to stick with long term.

Beginning an exercise program later in life will require you to find more meaning behind why you are moving. As previously mentioned, you should choose activities in which you enjoy doing so that sticking to a regular program is easier. To avoid normal biological changes caused by aging, pursue kinder, gentler workouts that consist of slower and longer warm-ups and cool-downs, and exercise routines that focus on lowering the risk of injury while still promoting posture, strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and balance.

The most effective type of cardio training for an older adult is low impact physical activities. For example, swimming, walking, cycling etc. Many fitness professionals recommend a minimum of 20 minutes of cardiovascular training most days of the week. Personally, I have found it easier to get clients to commit to a cardio training program when they work their way up to 20 minutes. In other words, starting off small with bouts of cardio in 5–10-minute increments every day and then gradually increase the time. Just getting up and taking a walk around your apartment or through the halls can be a good way to burn some calories and get you moving!

Between the ages of 50-70 years old we lose 30% of our muscle strength. Sedentary adults beyond the age of 50 can expect to lose upwards of about 0.4 pounds of muscle per year. To slow this process down it is important to include strength training exercises into your routine at least twice per week. This way you will allow for adequate rest times for all muscle groups. It is important to have a strong upper body as well as a strong lower body. Increased leg strength has been shown to reduce the risk of falls with seniors greatly. Personally, I find it easier for my clients to stay committed to their strength training routine when they focus on the full body rather than splitting up their upper and lower body day.

One fear many older adults have is their increased risk of falling. On average falls are reported by 1/3 of all individuals over the age of 65. You can easily prevent your risk of falling by including regular balance training into your exercise program. Including a regular stretching routine into your overall exercise program can help to prevent injuries and can even help to increase blood flow to tired muscles, aiding in the recovery process.

The truth of the matter is that exercise is and will always be one of the main elements in living well across the lifespan. There are many ways to get started on an exercise routine. Everything from personalized exercise prescriptions, group fitness classes, and even personal training may be an appropriate starting point. There is something for every active ager out there, so get up and get moving!

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Topics: senior wellness active aging improving senior fitness

Senior living residents take on the NIFS Summer Games

Summer Fitness Games_AAEvery 4 (or 5) years a special summer event comes around that makes us all want to feel like an athlete. This year, residents in CCRCs from Minnesota to Florida showed that they have what it takes to compete in the NIFS Summer Games. NIFS fitness staff put together 8-10 different events that residents could compete in over the course of the Games. On the surface, this program looked like a way to celebrate the summer, but there was certainly more intention behind the design.

Functional Movements

The most obvious goal of the Summer Games program is movement. Each sport was chosen as a way for residents to motivate themselves to get some physical exercise into the day. But, while they were enjoying themselves, they were also performing functional movements in each activity. Some were obvious. For example, “gymnastics” was actually a series of balance exercises using cones, foam pads, and other tools. Walking and swimming events were also an obvious way to get more people to exercise to earn their medals. But what about sports like basketball, soccer, and table tennis? On the surface, it’s “just” tossing a ball at a hoop or kicking one into a basket, but have each of these incorporates other important skills as well. Think about it: to throw a basketball into a hoop you not only have to practice hand-eye coordination, cognitively calculate depth and force, but most people also perform a mini-squat to lob the ball up toward the hoop. For soccer, many of the same skills apply plus you have to balance on one foot to be able to line up and kick the ball.

Social Wellness

I think we can all recognize that the last 18 months have taken a toll on most people’s social and emotional wellness. One major barrier for some residents to come back to the fitness center and to group fitness classes is that they feel like they’ve lost their fitness. They are worried they won’t be able to keep up and so they are missing out on the physical benefits of regular exercise. One way to combat that feeling is to get people out of their homes and back into the social situations they love. Once they start to remember what they’ve been missing in the fitness center and with their friends and neighbors, it’s more motivating to come back to their regular activities.

And, of course, FUN!

At the end of the day there’s always going to be some element of trying to improve quality of life and infusing some fun into the community. For the NIFS Summer Games, much of the enjoyment for participants came from the competition aspect. Over 400 medals were handed out to participants across the program! Whether they were competing with other residents to see who could earn the most medals or challenging their own past performances, this one definitely brought out the athlete in everyone!

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Topics: senior living fitness programs for seniors

Testimonials Say It All – The Impact of Flexible Corporate Fitness Programs

Health You logo_CFMWhen members of our corporate fitness centers meet with our staff for a complimentary fitness evaluation or exercise prescription appointment, it has long remained our focus of meeting that employee where they are in their fitness journey. Whether they are rehabbing a knee replacement, looking to improve their half marathon time, or returning to work from maternity leave, our degreed and certified staff do a deep dive to learn about the employee’s goals, motivations, and barriers to tailor a program unique to their needs. Through the pandemic, meeting employees where they are has taken on new meaning as we developed a stronger capacity to support members beyond the four walls of their employer’s corporate fitness center. NIFS HealthYou programming provides an array of virtual fitness and wellness services to support employees as they work remotely or travel for business.

HealthYou has long been a value-added service for our corporate fitness management clients but the demand and awareness skyrocketed during the pandemic. Now that members have experienced the flexibility of fitness options that meet them where they are both personally and logistically, HealthYou engagement is here to stay - even as employees return to the office and have access to their onsite fitness center. After all, jumping into a fitness class on a Saturday morning or still being able to meet for your weekly training session while you travel for work are great solutions in helping employees stay active when they aren’t on campus. Don’t just take our word for it, here are a couple of fabulous testimonials from our members that speak to the achievements they’ve gained working with our staff with HealthYou virtual resources.


Crystal P. - Employee of Fortune 500 Company, Indianapolis, Indiana

“This has been a fabulous perk working for our organization. Working with a trainer once a week has really helped me and my husband get back into a routine. We can do it in our basement at any time. The workouts are short enough to do with little kids at home, they hit total body and met my goal of feeling stronger, more fit, and flexible! I have recommended this to a lot of coworkers and keep spreading the word. I hope you consider keeping this option around even after things return to normal or the new-normal. My trainer was Hannah and I loved working with her! Her workouts were challenging, yet fun. She is so positive and up-beat! Meeting her and getting to know her, also makes me more likely once back in the office to come down for a class or workout while she is there because I know her now. I told Hannah I wanted to get strong without the bulk and she came through. I am amazed at how I feel after doing her workouts and how much I did in a short amount of time. I feel meeting with her keeps me accountable to working out. Needing to report into Hannah is always on my mind, which in turn means I do my workouts, even when it is so easy to say I have other things to do. I am also connected to the Yammer page and the posts the fitness staff are making are great about classes, fitness tips and tricks, nutrition, etc. This perk helps me stay healthy, helps my family stay healthy and promotes fitness and health to our child! Please keep this the new norm, as something wonderful the pandemic has taught us! For me, this was a wonderful way to connect, meet someone new and grow! THANK YOU!”


Charlie - Employee of Fortune 500 Company, Indianapolis, IN Prove U Move_logo-01-3

“Thanks for the workout today. I thought I’d drop you a note to capture my appreciation. You have really been motivating and inspiring these last couple of months and I have really been impressed with both our live sessions and the wealth of materials (recorded library of workouts) that are available on-demand. As I do every year, I made a vow for New Years that I was going to seriously work to get back in shape. Thanks for helping me plan my goal of 300+ minutes of exercise per week. This has been a far more reasonable and attainable goal to track each week. I’ve successfully lost 16lbs in the last 8 weeks. Also when I was getting started on my game plan, I was looking at spending money on gym memberships and/or personal training options. The NIFS online content has actually been easier to use and easier to fit into my crazy work schedule, which means I’m much more likely to actually do it. I also really appreciate the monthly Prove YOU Move challenges which have kept me motivated and engaged. They actually work as little “above and beyond” challenges that add a little more to the daily routine.”

We’ve been promoting to our members that “your fitness is personal” and that’s not only in the design of their exercise program but also in exercising at a time and location that best meets their needs on a given day. The testimonials above are great examples of the personal fitness journey these members have been on over the past year with our amazing staff.

HealthYou can be a standalone service option for organizations who do not have an onsite fitness center or perhaps have employees to reach in various locations. HealthYou is also a value-added service for NIFS fitness center management clients to provide the flexibility and resources for employees to stay active with busy and dynamic schedules. Looking for additional resources on how to enhance your virtual wellness options, download our checklist or visit our website for more information on NIFS fitness center management.

Checklist for Building a Virtual Wellness Program


Staff High Five: Keith Ledbetter

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.

  • KLedbetterName: Keith Ledbetter
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 12 years
  • Position: Corporate Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I completed my internship with NIFS. I liked the NIFS model and how we are able to deliver our outstanding services to our clients and members. There are other ways of doing what we do, I think our way is the best.  
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: There are many moments that stick out in my mind, from people who achieved a large amount of weight loss to people who recovered from surgery, and gaining confidence after some traumatic life events and achieving their goals. The one that stick with me the most is when a member came down and started with NIFS PFQ program, then transitioned in to one of those “group fitness people.” She continued to see results and became the ignition point for the rest of her family to change some habits and get healthier too.  
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Curiosity. This trait is expressed in trying to find new ways to deliver programs, exercises, or new classes to our members. Furthermore, curiosity is expressed by asking how will this new thing help my people. We are able to take in all of these “tools” and apply them in the most appropriate way to the correct group of people.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: My people.
  • What motivates you: My members, I want to deliver what they are asking for in the best way for them. That keeps me looking and trying to find the wrinkle in the wellness world that will connect with them.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I have a few different hobbies, I like to garden, cook, bake, and some low level home DIY (floating shelves, tiling, what the wife sees on Pinterest and what I figure I can’t make it worse by trying). The through line of these hobbies being challenging myself and figuring out how to do something new.   


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


Topics: nifs fitness management staffing nifs staff