Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Michelle Adams

Recent Posts by Michelle Adams:

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday - Strengthen Your Core


It's important to work your core to help improve your balance and stability which can help you to complete every day activities with ease.  The core consists of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips, and pelvis.  You don't need a lot of equipment to work your core properly, you don't actually need anything other than your own body weight to work on stabilizing and strengthening your muscles.  Want some cool, core exercises that you can use dumbbells with? Look no further! Below is a complete core workout that can be done with or without dumbbells. If you choose, grab some light to medium dumbbells and do the exercises below 8-10 reps before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the whole circuit 3 times for some core-blasting fun!


  1. Alternating Straight Leg V-ups*
  2. V-up Figure 8s*
  3. Plank w/ front and lateral rotation*
  4. V-sit Around the World*
  5. Russian Twists*
  6. Plank w/ Reach Unders*

*=R and L side count as 1 rep

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Topics: Free Workout Friday core strength at home workout

Free Workout Friday: Dumbbell workout for at home, on the road, or at work


This month we are exploring dumbbells and the great workouts they bring. They are fantastic to work with because once you master the technique and movement of the exercise; you can add more versatility in your workout. We will start basic and work our way up to more advanced workouts throughout the month. You can complete 2 to 3 rounds of the exercises listed. Perform 10-12 reps of each exercise paying close attention to correct form. Make sure to choose a weight that is appropriate for you, but also challenging during the last few reps of each exercise. If you find the reps were too easy, bump up the weight.


  1. Walking lunges*
  2. Shoulder press  
  3. Squats
  4. Bicep curl
  5. Side lunges*
  6. Tricep extension (standing)
  7. Reverse lunges*
  8. Chest flys
  9. Calf raises
  10. Lateral raises

*=R and L leg count as 1 rep

Looking for other options?  Check out this past Free Workout Friday cardio blog.

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Topics: Free Workout Friday

Free Workout Friday: Tone and Stretch


This week we are going to tone and work the upper body while stretching out the lower body.  It's important to remember to stretch your muscles to prevent tightness and improve range of motion through your joints.  As we age and become less active your joints become stiff, if you continue to incorporate stretching into your routine your body will stay limber and help reducde pain and discomfort.  Remember, it's always important to warm up the body before a workout.  


  • R leg hamstring stretch – 30 sec
  • Push-ups – 8x
  • L leg hamstring stretch – 30 sec
  • Push-ups – 8x
  • R single leg downdog to pigeon stretch – 30 sec (pic below)
  • Slow knee pull push-ups, alternate R/L (knee to elbow) – 4x (pic below)
  • L single leg downdog to pigeon stretch – 30 sec
  • Slow knee pull push-ups, alternate L/R (knee to elbow) – 4x
  • Downdog to R side lunge stretch – 30 sec (pic below)
  • Downdog tricep push-ups – 8x (pic below)
  • Downdog to L side lunge stretch – 30 sec
  • Downdog tricep push-ups – 8x
  • Wide straddle stretch – 30 sec
  • Frog stretch – 30 sec (pic below)
  • Slow tricep push-ups – 4x
  • Wide straddle stretch – 30 sec
  • Frog stretch – 30 sec
  • Slow tricep push-ups – 4x

Exercise Pictures

Single leg downdog to pigeon, 2 pictures



Knee pull push-ups


Side lunge stretch


Downdog tricep push-ups


Frog stretch


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Topics: Free Workout Friday

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday, Utilizing your Bodyweight


Bodyweight exercises are trending in 2015.  If you missed last week go back and check it out.  Now it's time to crank up your bodyweight workout from last week? We have another workout for you. Before you begin this workout, make sure your form and technique for each exercise is correct first. You want to get a good workout in while avoiding injuries. Watch the video for correct form and technique.

Instructions: Complete 3 sets of each exercise with a 30 to 60 second rest in between sets.


  1. 20 jump squats
  2. 15 burpees
  3. 10 broad jumps w/ squat thrusts
  4. 15 downdog push-ups
  5. 10 tricep dips w/ leg extensions
  6. 60 sec plank
  7. 15 single leg squats (both right and left sides)
  8. 60 sec bridge march

It's importatnt to stay hydrated when working out. Make sure your water bottle is close by; you’ll need it!

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Topics: Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness

Free Workout Friday: Use your own body weight


Looking for a relatively simple workout? Try a workout that only uses your body weight as the resistance. It’s nice because you don’t need to know how to lift heavy weights to begin. You will let gravity be your friend (or foe, it will seem like during the workout). You can use your bodyweight to do any exercise that will work most of the major muscle groups. Actually, it’s recommended to start with just your body weight until you get the mechanics of the exercise then to add weights as you progress. The great part about body weight workouts is you don’t need a gym to do the workout; just yourself and adequate space. Take a look below for a fun, basic, bodyweight workout:

Instructions: Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps for the following exercises. You can rest for about 30 seconds in between each set you complete.


  1. Squat
  2. Mountain Climbers or Knee Tucks (slower version of Mt. Climbers)*
  3. Alternating Reverse Lunges*
  4. Push-ups
  5. High Knees*
  6. Tricep Dips
  7. Glute Bridge
  8. Superman

Don’t forget to add your favorite music to your workout! It makes it more fun. Check out this previous blog post about using music to move more!

*=R and L leg count as 1 rep

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Topics: exercise at work Free Workout Friday

Corporate Wellness: Think PINK Year Round

pinkOctober brings the awareness… It has gained a lot of attention over the past few years and helped to raise women’s awareness of this aspect of health they should not take lightly. I wanted to take this time to fully educate and extend the awareness on the topic of breast cancer by exposing a few myths about this disease and remind people to be aware year round. The following information is provided courtesy of National Cancer Institute:

The Breast Cancer Myth

Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.

The Truth

Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.  But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. It is very important that you see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not. 

Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication with your doctor, getting an annual clinical breast exam, and scheduling your routine screening mammograms.

The Breast Cancer Myth

Men do not get breast cancer; it affects women only.

The Truth

Quite the contrary, each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians. 

Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.  Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.

The Breast Cancer Myth

A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.

The Truth

A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, currently remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. According to the National Cancer Institute, “The benefits of mammography, however, nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.”

The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women beginning at age 40. Base your decision on your physician's recommendation and be sure to discuss any remaining questions or concerns you may have with your physician.

The Breast Cancer Myth

If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.

The Truth

While women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.  

If you have a first degree relative with breast cancer: If you have a mother, daughter, or sister who developed breast cancer below the age of 50, you should consider some form of regular diagnostic breast imaging starting 10 years before the age of your relative’s diagnosis. 

If you have a second degree relative with breast cancer: If you have had a grandmother or aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases slightly, but it is not in the same risk category as those who have a first degree relative with breast cancer. 

If you have multiple generations diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family, or if there are several individuals who are first degree relatives to one another, or several family members diagnosed under age 50, the probability increases that there is a breast cancer gene contributing to the cause of this familial history.

The Breast Cancer Myth

Breast cancer is contagious.

The Truth

You cannot catch breast cancer or transfer it to someone else's body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast. However, you can reduce your risk by practicing a healthy lifestyle, being aware of the risk factors, and following an early detection plan so that you will be diagnosed early if breast cancer were to occur.

The Breast Cancer Myth

If the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 is detected in your DNA, you will definitely develop breast cancer.

The Truth

According to the National Cancer Institute, regarding families who are known to carry BRCA1 or BRCA2, “not every woman in such families carries a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, and not every cancer in such families is linked to a harmful mutation in one of these genes. Furthermore, not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.” For people who discover they have the harmful mutation, there are various proactive measures that can be done to reduce risk. These include taking a hormonal therapy called Tamoxifen or deciding to take a surgical prevention approach which is to have bilateral prophylactic mastectomies, usually done with reconstruction.  Most women will also have ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as well since there is no reliable screening test for the early stages of developing ovarian cancer.

The Breast Cancer Myth

Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

The Truth

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.

To throw in a little corporate fitness your way, exercise boosts the immune system and helps you to keep your weight in check. With as little as three hours of exercise per week, or about 30 minutes a day, a woman can start to lower her risk of breast cancer. This doesn’t mean you need a gym membership to start. Power walking is more than sufficient!

Click here for more information about this topic or to continuing supporting the cause year round.

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NIFS: Back to School, Back to a Routine

great_ideaFor the past couple of months, we have been able to enjoy the nice, warm weather, cookouts, vacations, and even those occasional lazy days.  While summer is not quite over, this time of year marks getting back to your everyday grind, preparing children to go back to school and hopefully including fitness in both of those plans. Why is it important to include fitness you ask? Well, it is no secret that obesity is on the rise in our country not only for adults, but children alike. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 17% (or about 12.5 million) of children and adolescence ages 2-19 are obese. If this scary statistic for children is anything like the obesity trend in adults, then we only know it will get worse. Why not set your children up for success this school year by not only getting them ready for their education but also their health and well-being! There have even been numerous studies that highlight the benefits of physical activity in regards to improved academics. If you want to read them for yourself, the website, SPARK, is a great resource. They are a research-based, public health organization dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating program that promote lifelong wellness for children and adolescents in schools. Of course, once the school year starts, time is a factor especially with making sure they get their homework and projects done.  So when adding fitness to your routine why not incorporate time as a family as well to make it a fun time together. This also helps you to achieve the time you need to be active as well. If you find it difficult to incorporate this routine or even need some great ideas, keep reading!

  • Either organization or chaos can come from the amount (or lack of) of proper planning and preparation. The best idea is the make a schedule of your family’s activities then plan your fitness time in just like you would do any  other event. Remember, if you don’t plan time to do it, most likely it won’t get done! Even 10 minute increments will work.
  • Your fitness doesn’t need to happen in a corporate fitness center or local gym to count. You can do a lot of activities with just your bodyweight or even get a quick cardio session in. Parks also provide some good places for fitness; some were even built for that reason. Working out at kids’ practices counts too; just as long as you are moving and not sitting in the bleachers.
  • Pack your bag the night before, so you won’t rush in the morning and potentially exclude it out of your routine. It also serves as a great reminder to work out that day.

Lastly, with all of these activities going on for your family, still make sure to schedule “me” time. There’s nothing worse than getting burnt out on different activities. Schedule time to yourself and even time for the kids to relax. You will greatly appreciate it!

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Topics: wellness health and fitness

NIFS: Celebrating Fatherhood

fathers dayWe as Americans like to celebrate lots of things, but two things come to my mind, summer weather and Father’s Day. At least, you might have been thinking of the first idea and expanding on that (with the first official day of summer being June 21st). My initial thought of Father’s Day is that it’s been around pretty much since existence and it was an official holiday before the Mother’s Day (even though Mother’s Day chronologically comes first). Quite the contrary, after doing some research on this holiday, I found out how it came to be. Sit back and relax as I share some insightful history with you on how Father’s Day came to existence.

While Mother’s Day came to be a commercial holiday in 1908, it wasn’t until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson made it a nationally celebrated holiday. Then it was still another 58 years before Father’s Day was on the same national level of recognition. You see, Father’s Day, didn’t get as strong of a campaign to be a nationally celebrated holiday like Mother’s Day. Men were not as thrilled with the holiday; there were thoughts that the holiday was an attempt to domesticate manliness and it was a commercial gimmick to sell more products (which were more often paid for by the fathers themselvesJ) However, the thought to make Father’s Day a holiday originated from one woman that was one of six children raised by a widower when her mother passed away. It was 1908 after Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a memorial sermon to honor fathers that had died in an explosion when she thought to drum up support for an equivalent of Mother’s Day for fathers. She wanted to show appreciation for her father in raising six children solo. She went to local organizations and was successful! Then slowly but surely, this holiday started to spread. There was even an attempt to connect both Mother’s and Father’s Day calling it Parents’ Day to show that both parents should be respected and loved equally. However, since this was during the Depression, there were efforts against combining the dual holiday and keep each separate. Businesses that struggled during this timeframe made hard efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for fathers. At last, in 1972, did the holiday become officially “official” when President Nixon signed a proclamation making it a federal holiday.

So in this month of June, celebrate your “old man”! Here are some creative ideas from The New York Times articles below:

1. Together, watch the video of two male Barbary macaques playing with a baby, and then watch a family video of your father playing with you when you were an infant. Do you see any similarities?

2. Watch the trailer for the new documentary “The Evolution of Dad” and then make your own short tribute video about your dad’s role in your life.

3. Make an audio recording of your father – holding a conversation, telling (or reading aloud) a story or joke, singing a song, even just laughing. Make a plan to listen to it every year, and each time you do, write down what the recording brings to mind and how it makes you feel.

4. Write a short personal essay, letter or poem about an enduring memory you have of your father – and ask your dad to write one too, perhaps about a key moment or event in your childhood. Then read each other’s pieces. Were you surprised by what each other said, even about shared moments that you both remember?

5. Jot down some of the major lessons your father has taught you and create a handmade book – perhaps in the spirit of a textbook or how-to manual – complete with your own (and/or his) illustrations. Put it on the shelf in the family library.

6. If a video crew filmed your family 24/7, what do you think the film would reveal? Do you get enough time together without distractions? Or do you tend to be using digital media most of the time? Set aside some genuine, unplugged “together time” – and consider making it a regular thing. Of course, you might also watch television or a movie or play a game together.

7. Show your appreciation. Tell your father (or father figure) how you feel about your family and your parents’ involvement in your life. Do you understand and appreciate each other? Do you sometimes feel like there’s a generation gap between you? How does your father view your generation?

8. Use your camera to capture a family moment, or just look through old family photos and talk about the “stories” they tell.

9. Go pie-in-the-sky, and fantasize together about how life would be different if you made a major sacrifice for charity (you might even make a donation) – or if you had your dream house.

10. Spread the pages of the paper all over the dining table or living room rug – or the virtual equivalent – and just read and talk about the news together.

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Topics: family family health social wellness

NIFS: Women, Take Charge of Your Health

happy womenIt’s about that time of year where the weather is getting warmer and the flowers are blooming. May is a wonderful introduction into the summer months and is also a time we celebrate women. Mother’s Day is not the only day to celebrate women, but there is a whole week dedicated to women’s health. For this year, National Women’s Health Week for the US is May 11 – 17. Women can celebrate the generations of women before them that have pioneered the way and take charge of their health to make it a priority. This week focuses on preventive measures to take to improve their health and avoid disease.

Within this week, there is a day designated that women encouraged to visit their health care provider while getting recommended check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings. The National Women’s Health Check-up Day is May 12, 2014. Maintaining annual screenings and check-ups is one important way women can take control of their health and create a healthy lifestyle. Other healthy habits include getting regular physical activity, adapting a healthy nutrition routine, avoiding smoking, and following other general safety rules.

Sometimes it can seem like a lot to take in regarding our health. It’s do this, don’t do that. Follow this guideline, avoid this. Even though our health can be challenging, it’s important to know what we can control and what we can’t. One part of taking charge of your health involves understanding your risk factors. Some risk factors are beyond your control which includes family history of disease, your sex, age, or having an existing health problem. Ones you can control are diet, fitness, use of tobacco and drugs, alcohol intake, and even wearing your seatbelt to name a few. In the US, there are about 35% of early deaths that could be avoided by quitting smoking, having healthy diet and increasing physical activity. Make yourself more aware of how you can prevent early death.

To celebrate women’s health week, make time for yourself to schedule your appointments to take care of you.  I encourage you to take time this week to try the following activities:

  • Schedule your annual appointments: physical/dental/eye exam
  • Sign up for a 5K walk/run
  • Try a new healthy recipe
  • Attend a group fitness class, try something new like Zumba© or yoga
  • Get outside and do some yard work
  • Read a book or do a puzzle for brain health
Topics: active aging exercise and wellness women's health healthy living

Active Aging: Read for Brain Health

woman in library resized 600Often when we think or talk about having good health, it consists of eating healthy foods and exercising. There are many areas of our lives that we could improve upon health wise—often it seems like there is so much to work on to keep track. However, one segment of health that seems to go by the way side is mental health. Just as muscles lose strength or cardiovascular fitness declines with age, your brain can lose agility and decline in the way that it functions. There is no one way to prevent degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s, but you can start today with the way you live your life to help make your brain healthier. Here are a few tips for great brain health:

  • Stay physically active – being active maintains good blood flow to the brain and can encourage new brain cells.
  • Adopt a brain-healthy diet – there has been research done that high cholesterol can contribute to brain cell damage and stroke. A healthy diet that is low in fat and cholesterol is desirable along with dark vegetables and fruits with antioxidants which can help protect brain cells.
  • Stay socially active – this can help reduce stress levels and maintain healthy connections among brain cells.
  • Stay mentally active – new nerve cells can be created by getting involved in mentally stimulating activities; this can also strengthen brain cells.

I want you to focus on the mental component of staying healthy and giving you ways improve your mind game. Try any of these easy ways to fit more mental activity into your daily routine:

  • Never stop learning! Maybe you wanted to take up doing a new hobby or even wanted venture out and do a new sport, commit to it and learn about your new adventure.
  • Take up writing and working on crossword puzzles to keep you mentally stimulated.
  • Enroll in a few college courses to keep mentally active in a structured way.
  • Play games with your friends and family.
  • Even try memory exercises or games that can help with your mind game!
  • Lastly, read books that are interesting to you. Who wants to read a boring book just to mark it off of your list? Head to the library and pick up a book for FREE!

Your public library is a great resource that is within your community; however some don’t take full advantage of it. First of all, it’s FREE; it’s easy to sign up for a library card; and there are so many books to interest anyone, you just have to do a little digging.

So check out your local library during National Library Week April 13-19 and read for excellent brain health!  Visit our facebook page and share what book you are currently reading!

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management brain health wellness mental health