Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fitness Staff

Recent Posts by Fitness Staff:

NIFS Fitness Management Kicks Off Active Aging Week

Active Aging Week LogoNIFS managers are gearing up for an exciting week of wellness-based programming at our CCRC client sites across the country. NIFS has coordinated a week’s worth of programs for Active Aging Week and the participating communities will also take part in our Around the World in Five Days competition. Through resident participation, communities will advance to various destination points around the world with the goal of being the first community to visit each location.

Active Aging Week is kicking off at each location today with an opening ceremony event where we will educate residents on each day’s program while promoting the community competition. Our Active Aging Week programs and events were designed with the following considerations:

1. Seven Dimensions of Wellness: the programs throughout the week encompass elements of the seven dimensions of wellness to broaden the resident experience beyond physical wellness.
2. Resident Volunteers: we have incorporated resident volunteers into the planning to better allow residents to champion and promote the programs.
3. Resident Interests & Abilities: the variety in the programs not only spans varying resident interests but also provides opportunities for residents of all ability levels to participate.
4. Budgetary Support: the programs were designed so communities with minimal financial support for Active Aging Week to still fully participate. 
5. Community Nuance: flexibility was built into the development process to allow the individual community’s flavor and flair to enhance the core program offerings.

NIFS fitness managers have been working diligently since early July to prepare for this exciting week of events and we are ready to kick things off! The residents are excited for the new programming opportunities as well as gearing up for the NIFS competition. The expectations are high at each community and we suspect things will really heat up as the week progresses! Follow us on Facebook for updates all week on the status of the competition!

NIFS Nutrition News: Take It Off, Keep It Off!

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

NIFS, nutrition, portion controlI love what I do. Seeing people succeed with their weight-loss goals is one of the most rewarding feelings as a dietitian. However, it can also be very challenging when I see clients revert back to old habits and struggle to keep off the weight that they worked so hard to remove.

After checking out some research of highly successful dieters, I have found the best things that can be done to keep off the weight for good:

  • Keep a food journal. Individuals who keep food logs tend to eat 40 percent less because they are writing it down. Also, a recent study found women who kept a food journal lost 6 pounds more than those who didn’t. Some excellent online food tracker sites include My Daily Plate and Choose My Plate. Free apps for your smartphone that are highly rated include My Fitness Pal and Lose It.
  • Practice portion control. As a society we are terrible at eyeballing portions! The secret to success is consistently measuring food items to make sure you are eating the same amount you are journaling. The simplest way to do this is to use measuring utensils to dish out your meals and to associate common items to certain portions. For example, a serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards, a baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, a half-cup of pasta is the size of a tennis ball, and a teaspoon of oil is the size of one dice.
  • Don’t skip meals. Lots of people think if they skip a meal they will be decreasing the total calories they are taking in for the day. In reality, the opposite usually happens. When someone skips a meal they typically end up overeating at a different time of day to compensate for missing out on the food that their body needed. Also, whenever you skip a meal it makes your metabolism work at a slower rate and, therefore, makes it harder to lose weight. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is the best way to stay on track!

The more you follow these rules, the higher chance of success you will have in keeping off the weight. For more information or to set up an individualized nutrition appointment, contact me at

Topics: overweight employees nutrition weight loss weight management NIFS weight control healthy habits

NIFS Wellness Coordinator and Dietitian loves the Farmers' Market

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, Wellness Coordinator and Registered Dietitian at NIFS. 

C  Documents and Settings kgootee My Documents Dropbox Images New couple at market resized 600One of my favorite things to do in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town.  As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.  Here are my top five reasons why visiting your local farmer’s market is a must.

1.  Support for the local community – Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy.   Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market you are cutting out the middle man and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store. 

2.  Eating foods that are in season – Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season.   The produce tastes richer and more flavorful and the nutrients are better retained.  Check out the downtown City Market website for what products are available during the months the market is open.

3.  It is good for you – The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  The current recommendations are 9 servings per day.  Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9 serving per day goal.  This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer fighting antioxidants too.  Locally grown produce is lower in pesticides and chemicals also.

4.  You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat - You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it.  When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?

5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule – I love being able to go to the City Market farmers’ market on my lunch break downtown and sampling the hot, fresh kettle corn, picking up sweet corn, and getting homemade cookies on Wednesday afternoons.  Saturday mornings it is off to the Carmel farmers’ market to purchase bon bons from Holy Cow Cupcakes, homemade pasta, and a whole assortment of fruits and veggies for the week.  To find out where the location of a farmers’ market is close to you check out this website .

Whether you are picking up items for dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store.  Try to get there early to get the best variety and options.  Not all vendors accept credit cards so be sure to have cash on hand.  Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

Topics: employee health nutrition Food for Thought weight management NIFS healthy habits health culture

Office Wellness: Using a Stability Ball to Exercise at Your Desk

exercise ball, stability ball as a chairSome of the biggest issues I see in corporate fitness clients with sedentary office jobs are a weak lower back and poor shoulder posture. When we sit in a chair, staring at a computer screen for eight hours of the day, our core tends to get a little soggy. Posture and core strength can easily be improved by simply switching out your swiveling office chair for a stability ball, sometimes called a Swiss ball or physio ball.

Sitting on an unstable ball immediately engages your core and forces you to sit tall and upright. Not only does it instantly improve posture, it also serves as a great tool to have in your office to use for short bouts of exercise. Try replacing your office chair with a stability ball for at least an hour per day. Then, at the end of that hour, try these posture enhancing exercises:

  • Plank: Place your elbows just below the top of the ball. Extend your legs behind you, balancing on your toes and elbows. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and knees. Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Shoulder I-Y-Ts: Place your stomach on the ball so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with your hands touching the floor in front of you. With your thumbs up and moving only at your shoulders, lift your arms so that your upper arms come right by your ears, forming the letter I with each arm. After 10 repetitions, move your arms out to a 45-degree angle, forming the letter Y. Again, moving only at the shoulders, lift your arms into a Y position. Lower your arms and repeat 10 times. Next, move your arms straight out to 180 degrees, a T position. Lift your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lower and repeat 10 times.
Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness

Employee Health and Productivity Depend on Breaks

This blog was written by Fitness Staff. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

hectic work schedule, busy, employee stressThe e-mails are piling up, the phone is ringing off the hook, papers are stacked around you, and you are the go-to person at the office for all those who need a helping hand. While it may seem most productive for you to stay glued to your desk chair with your eyes fixed on the computer screen, it may actually not be the most productive choice after all. 

Just as your body needs rest after tiring physical activity, your mind needs breaks as well. In fact, your brain will be more likely to perform at an optimal level if it given rest breaks, just like your physical body performs best with adequate rest. Research has actually shown that employees who spend time daydreaming are more creative and better at generating ideas.

So, before responding to those e-mails, answering the phone calls, and being the helping hand for all, step away from the desk! Take a couple minutes to clear your head. Go for a walk, chat with a coworker, or eat lunch outside. Your body and mind will appreciate that rest break, but so will your business!

Topics: corporate wellness employee health productivity

Corporate Fitness: The Best Time of Day to Exercise

This blog was written by Melissa Sherman. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

morning exercise, early rise, fitnessWhat is the best time to exercise?” is a question I receive more often than not when people are looking to begin or alter an exercise routine. It may just be wishful thinking that your body is going to burn more calories depending on the time of day you choose to exercise; there is no reliable evidence to show that calories are actually burned more efficiently at certain times of day.

However, there are some things to consider when choosing your exercise time:

  • Your personal body clock: Are you a night owl or an early bird? If your schedule allows, use this to help you decide when you are best suited to get your workout in. It may help make your routine more consistent if you exercise at the time of day you feel best.
  • Perks of morning exercise: If your biggest problem is consistency, morning may be your best time to exercise. The biggest benefit of morning exercise is that there are no other conflicts, meetings, schedules, or mishaps that can creep in during your day. Most corporate fitness centers are open early to accommodate morning exercisers.
  • Don’t let exercise interfere with sleep: Your energy levels need to stay consistent if you want to feel good and maintain a consistent exercise routine, so adequate sleep is important. Exercising right before bed will increase your body temperature and your heart rate, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.

For more tips on choosing your best time to exercise, see this article. Still not sure when you should exercise? Try different times to see which works best for you, but keep in mind: No matter what time of day you choose, the best time to exercise is any time that you fit your workout in consistently!

Topics: exercise corporate fitness

Employee Health: Easy Ways to Relieve Stress

This blog was written by Melissa Sherman. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

holiday stress, work related stressWith the holidays fast approaching, we are rolling into a busy and hectic time of the year. Stress can take a heavy toll on employee health. Here are some quick and easy ways your employees can de-stress and rebalance their minds and bodies.

  • Take slow, deep breaths. This takes no time at all and can have some beneficial side-effects. We tend to breathe more quickly, taking shallow breaths, when we are stressed. Focus on your breathing, making sure to take slow, deep, fulfilling breaths. Relaxing your body physically can have a positive effect on your mental state.
  • Stretch it out! This is another exercise that can be done in a relatively short amount of time or while doing other activities that can have a big impact. Stretching will help to get the blood flowing and relieve any built-up tension you might be holding in your body. Focus on areas such as your neck, shoulders, core, and wrists.
  • Phone a friend. It can help to have a mini venting session by talking to someone you love and trust.
  • Fit in physical activity. Even if just for 10 minutes, give your stress to the pavement or the treadmill in the corporate fitness center and let it go from your body. Staying active can help elevate your mood and reduce stress.
  • Eat healthy. Health and well-being are promoted by healthy eating, which can help enhance your resilience to stress.

Really looking to distress? Try a massage, take a warm bath, or take a weekend getaway!

Topics: employee health stress corporate fitness centers

Dealing with Fitness and Weight Loss Plateaus

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

weight loss, corporate fitnessReaching a plateau in weight loss or your fitness level can be very frustrating. It’s a common concern I hear about working at a corporate fitness center. It’s actually natural for your body to reach a plateau during weight loss. The body will usually work itself through the plateau on its own after about three weeks. But there are several ways to kick-start your body back into quick metabolism mode.

Eat Healthy Calories

Make sure you’re eating enough calories, but healthy calories. If you give the body a little more to work with, it can speed up and burn those calories faster.

Drink Plenty of Water

Don’t forget about drinking water, and lots of it. See these guidelines from the Mayo Clinic to help determine how much water you need to drink on a daily basis.

Mix Up Your Workouts

You also need to mix up your workouts. When I say mix it up, I mean mix up everything! Some days do fewer reps, and then the next time you do strength training do more reps. Some weeks lift heavier weight and others lift lighter. Usually, the amount of weight you're lifting will go hand in hand with the amount of reps you can perform. You can mix it up by doing cardio before strength and vice-versa the next day. This will also help with boredom. Go beyond that and one day do a longer bout of cardio, and the next day focus on full-body strength training.

Mixing up the exercises can make a big difference in your results. For example, mix in dumbbells, machines, band, kettlebells, etc. This may be hard for those of you that are very regimented and don’t like change, but it’s the best way to improve your fitness level.

Increase Workout Intensity

Another great way to get over the hump is to increase the intensity of your workouts. You would be amazed at what the body can do, so push yourself harder! Of course, you need to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, but harder than you normally do.

Visit Your Corporate Fitness Center

Check out the group fitness classes offered at your corporate fitness center or onsite wellness center. If you don’t prefer group classes, schedule a one-on-one appointment with your corporate wellness staff for new exercise ideas.

Topics: weight loss fitness corporate fitness centers

Corporate Wellness and Healthy Cafeteria Choices

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

workplace cafeteria, corporate wellnessBy late morning, you’re sitting at your desk and all of a sudden it’s hard to concentrate because of the aromas coming from the cafeteria, and you start thinking about what you want for lunch. Hopefully you’re not located near or in the same building as the cafeteria. I sit just below the area creating all the wonderful smells, and it’s an ongoing battle of what I want to eat and what I should eat. Some may think it makes no sense to have the onsite corporate fitness center located near the cafeteria, but a lot of onsite cafeterias now offer healthy choices.

Of course there will always be the pizza, pasta bar, onion rings, and fries. It may take some willpower and motivation, but spending a few more minutes to search for the healthier options is worth it. For example, a lot of cafeterias now have whole-wheat pasta, veggie pizzas, fresh salad bars, turkey and bison burgers, and more for healthier options. Some locations are now starting to label lunch items that are under 300 to 500 calories. Check with your cafeteria because they may have a punch card that gets you one free healthy item after you purchase 10.  

Need a little help with making healthy choices? Schedule an appointment with your onsite corporate fitness/wellness staff for a nutrition consultation. Write down everything you eat for three days and take that food log with you when you meet with the corporate fitness center staff. Your three-day food log will help us to give you advice on changes you can make when heading to the cafeteria for breakfast or lunch. Schedule that appointment today and start making healthier choices!

Topics: corporate wellness nutrition

Corporate Wellness: Rewarding Healthy Employee Behavior

reward, incentive, employee healthThis blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

One commonly known benefit of corporate fitness centers is that when employees are encouraged to maintain healthy lifestyles, the company’s total costs for medical insurance and absenteeism decrease. Some agencies have chosen to take this one step further and pay for their employees to exercise.

Some state agencies in Kentucky have chosen to offer paid exercise breaks. Leaders in these organizations don’t feel like they are losing productivity because, “Often these employees are discussing work issues while they are exercising.” They also see a boost in these individuals’ morale. The amount of time that employees are permitted to exercise on the clock ranges from 90 minutes to five hours per week, depending on the agency.

Other organizations have similar motives, but different ways of compensating employees for their healthy habits. One well-known bank offers employees cash for various wellness activities. Fitting in at least one workout per month earns employees $20, taking a wellness assessment earns $50, and completing blood work or a physical earns $25 each. This particular company also pays employees for preventive care, for example flu shots and mammograms. The reward money is capped at $200 per employee.

Does your company have a system to reimburse employees for their time spent exercising or otherwise bettering their health? Or perhaps a money incentive for those who utilize the corporate fitness center?

Topics: corporate wellness exercise at work disease prevention productivity