Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

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 www.heartline.com/NIFS 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

Staff High Five: Tim Parrott

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.

  • TParrottName: Tim Parrot
  • City, State: Nashville, TN
  • Years with NIFS: Four years
  • Position: Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I came onboard with NIFS as a health fitness specialist near Chicago, IL. I was attracted to the opportunity to help older adults live longer, better lives using my education and fitness skillset.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: While a typical workweek is full of hundreds of interactions with members, I’m always encouraged when any member fights through a hard life event. While some breeze through surgeries or other setbacks, other members have a really hard time coming back. Working with Physical Therapy and other community leadership that value NIFS, I am impacted whenever I get to be a part of their recovery.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: NIFS has done a great job distancing ourselves from the inconsistent staffing standards of the fitness industry at large. Based on the need for experience, education, and specialized certification when working closely with older adults, NIFS sets the bar pretty high. Another huge distinguishing factor are the supervisors that communicate clearly and welcome conversations about new ideas.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: My favorite thing about working at my client site is being part of a community that prioritizes and invests in the health and wellness of their residents. A big example of this is the Healthy Life Center that will soon celebrate 2 years of operation. Having an intentionally designed fitness center, pool, and dedicated group exercise studio makes all the difference in my work and residents’ lives.
  • What motivates you: I am motivated by an internal drive to be the best husband, father, and version of myself that I can be.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love to woodwork and have created lots of furniture and cooking accessories for our home.

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

    ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff

Active Aging: Avoid Getting Rusty, Move More!

GettyImages-1287271703Actress Helen Hayes lived by these words, and lived a full and happy life well into her 90’s. So what do we mean by this motto….if you rest, you rust? Simply put, our bodies are made to move and if we become sedentary, our bodies get “rusty” as in our joints become stiff, our bones can become brittle and we lose muscle mass.

Many senior citizens are very active and live by these words, however there are still many that are not on board. I have heard over the years from inactive seniors that their fear is they will be in more pain. They already suffer from osteoarthritis and feel that exercise will make them feel worse. In actuality it is the exact opposite. Inactivity is causing the joints to become stiff and “rusty”! So how do we convince an inactive senior that it’s never to late to get started? How do we convince them that if they begin an exercise regimen that they will have less joint pain? We can start by giving them sound data from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).” Their stance is that physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain.” So now that we have them convinced, what are the best exercises for arthritis? We always want to include the modalities of cardiovascular exercise to increase endurance, strength training to increase muscle mass and prevent bone loss and lastly but probably most important is stretching to increase flexibility. Before starting an exercise program always consult your physician. Once cleared, one of the best places to be is in the pool! Aqua Aerobics, water walking or swimming offer the bouncy of the water to help ease joint pain and many facilities keep the water temperature warm at 78-83 degrees, which is considered therapeutic. Most aqua aerobics classes also offer strength training with aqua dumbbells and stretching at the conclusion of the class. If water isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps try a gentle yoga class, a chair yoga class, a low impact aerobics class or Tai Chi for gentle movement and balance. If group exercise classes are not to your liking, you may want to exercise in a fitness center. Cardiovascular equipment such as the stationary bike or a NuStep are great ways to increase your endurance. You might consider working with a personal trainer for help with strength training and flexibility and working with a trainer also helps with accountability.

The ACSM recommends exercising 150 minutes per week which is 30 minutes a day, 5 times per week. If you’re just getting started, work towards this goal. Just remember that famous line from Helen Hayes, “If you rest, you rust”! Keep moving forward, we’re not looking back!

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Topics: staying active

Staff High Five: Luci Wyatt

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.

  • LWyattName: Luci Wyatt
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: 2.5 years
  • Position: Fitness Center Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I didn’t learn about NIFS until after I graduated from college (UIndy). I saw the job posting and as any good candidate would, I researched the company. After that, I was drawn in by the research partnership that NIFS has with IUPUI and that NIFS is a very unique commercial fitness center by being the only one. Furthermore, that the main NIFS building was the site for the Panam Games.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: There are so many to choose from! From providing challenging workouts to the active aging members, to my most recent feed back from a special member, but the one that sticks out the most would be when I was managing a corporate site, I had a member start coming to my group fitness classes that was in need of motivation. She started unable to do most of the core exercises, even with modifications. I kept encouraging her to just try her best and that time will be the key. Sure enough, about 6 months in she was able to keep up with me in the core class and even hang in there some of the younger class goers.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Working for the corporate fitness side of NIFS, we are able to be literally and figuratively closer to our members. We have more of an idea of what the work environment is like for our members and can meet the needs of what their “long day” brings. We can also encourage our members to come see us at the fitness center when the fitness center is usually just steps away from their desk. This advantage helps build confidence and consistency in our members’ returning for services.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I enjoy the different backgrounds of people, like, we have engineers, graphic designers, lawyers, executives, account managers, and the like. When all of these different people come to the gym, it seems to level the playing field. And of course, when I would teach in person group fitness, I’m the boss!
  • What motivates you: It’s cliché but, I love working with people. To define “working with”, I love to get to know them on a personal level, what their likes and dislikes are outside of fitness, how they decided to take the path they are on for their career and so on. I love the stories that people carry with them, depending on their age, they could be walking time capsules. When members reach out to me about wanting to participate in a program or service, it’s my chance to become part of their story.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I love to garden and tend to my house plants! It’s always exciting to get a new plant baby.

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff

Staff High Five: Tylene Costello

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.

  • T.CostelloName: Tylene Costello
  • City, State: Howell, MI
  • Years with NIFS: 1 year, 8 months
  • Position: Director of Lifestyle and Health
  • What brought you to NIFS: Throughout my fitness career, I have always enjoyed working with seniors. Many years ago, I worked at another wellness and fitness facility. I had to create programs for post-rehabilitation, pool programs, and was introduced to Silver Sneakers, a government subsidized senior fitness program. I loved teaching Silver Sneakers classes, and teaching and educating the older population on the multiple facets of fitness training. Several years later, I was in search of a similar position, and that is where I found a listing for a part-time health fitness specialist with NIFS. I have loved every minute that I have been working for the Active Aging group for NIFS at my community location.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member:  There are too many special moments that I have shared with members. I can’t pick one. Each and every one of my members have such a unique and interesting background and history. I love that they share memories of their families, and past jobs with me. I really enjoy when they come into my office and just want to talk about their day. Each and every moment that I get to learn about them has made an impact on my life.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: I think what separates us the most is that we learn about our community. We make fitness fun. We form communities of people and social groups. We make fitness an overall healthier well-being physically and emotionally.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I love my job! I love my co-workers and especially the members and residents. They make every day coming into work fun and enjoyable. It is a blessing in my life.
  • What motivates you: My members motivate me. They are so full of life and energy. I love observing my ninety year old members walking, exercising, and using the machines. They are a strong group of people.
  • What is your favorite hobby: My favorite hobby is being active with my family. I love to hit the gym with my 13 year old son, and 16 year old girl. I love ice-fishing, fishing, hiking, shooting bows, and spending time with them. Both of my kids are on the archery teams (one in middle school, and one in high school), I love watching them shoot. My daughter also dances, and I love watching her perform. But it is always nice, to sit and relax with a good movie and chill.

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

 

Topics: nifs staff

Comfort Companions: for the love of pets

GettyImages-950847190Many already know the wonderful effects of having a pet companion. Owning a pet has significant benefits for an individual’s health.  Animals have a tendency to love unconditionally, and the love and friendship that radiates from bonding with your pet can not only lower stress but will also draw on your nurturing spirit that can give your level of happiness a boost. Whether you realize it or not, having a pet also promotes balance across multiple dimensions of wellness in your lifestyle. The three most common types of pets among older adults are: dogs, cats and fish. 

Dogs  

Dogs need exercise, so playing with them, whether inside or outdoors can increase the flexibility and mobility of the owner.  When taking the dog outdoors, you may have the opportunity to meet other neighbors. This will give you the chance to interact and socialize with others in your community. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, the social interaction helps reduce stress levels and prevent isolation.

Dimensions of Wellness Incorporated with Owning a Dog: 

  • Physical= walking and playing with the dog provides physical activity
  • Occupational/Emotional = being a caregiver for a dog provides a sense of purpose and provides companionship
  • Social/Intellectual= starting conversations and meeting new friends when walking the dog creates connection
  • Environmental = fresh air and spending time outdoors builds in opportunities to connect with nature

Cats 

Compared to dogs, cats are relatively low maintenance. This is ideal for a senior with limited mobility. Feline friends are more content to stay inside and cuddle. Cuddling, petting, or even listening to a cat’s purr has been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety.  

Dimensions of Wellness Incorporated with Owning a Cat: 

  • Emotional= having a cat can reduces feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression
  • Occupational= owning a cat strikes a healthy balance between caring for your pet and leisurely play

Fish 

Having fish is very low-maintenance and allergen-free. Decorating your fish tank with items and designs of your liking will make the viewing of the fish more enjoyable.  The colors and movement of the animals in the water, combined with the calming environment has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure. This is part of the reason why a lot of doctor’s offices may have an aquarium in the waiting area. 

Dimensions of Wellness Incorporated with Owning an Aquarium: 

  • Occupational= decorating the aquarium can contribute to personal satisfaction and enrichment. 
  • Emotional/Physical= observing fish reduces blood pressure as well as the stress and anxiety of everyday living. 
  • Environmental = listening and watching the water, aquarium plants, and fish is a great opportunity to connect with nature from the safety and comfort of home.

No matter what kind of pet, becoming the owner of one can improve overall quality of life and increase physical and emotional health. You will have responsibilities and a set routine to help fight stress, loneliness and depression. Maybe this all sounds great but you are not ready for the commitment of pet ownership. Consider asking a friend, relative or neighbor who has a pet if you can stop by and share a few minutes with their cozy companion. 

Topics: senior wellness

Staff High Five: Maddie DeVries

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.

  • MDeVriesName: Maddie DeVries
  • City, State: Hershey, PA
  • Years with NIFS: 1 year
  • Position: Health Fitness Specialist
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was working in a similar corporate wellness role at Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, GA. When my now-husband had the opportunity to move to PA, it was my dream to work in the same role. I was fortunate enough to step into that role with NIFS!
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: It was with my Active & Ageless (Silver Sneakers) ladies – they are a fun and sweet bunch. We try to make the class fun and social while also getting in some movement and flexibility. They told me how much they look forward to the class each week, and how much they love trying all of the fun and innovative exercises. They were so invested in my wedding planning and new life as a southern girl in PA, and I love hearing about all their jobs before their retirement. Their excitement made me so excited to teach them each week!  
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: It takes a real people-person to be a NIFS fitness pro! High-energy, sociable, personable, and compassionate in addition to knowing the science and the exercise physiology.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: The people are the sweetest. Everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming, and it didn’t take long for me to feel like a part of the family here.
  • What motivates you: It sounds cheesy, but helping others is what motivates me! I want to do my best within myself so that I can give my best to others. Sometimes that means taking a break and doing some self-care, sometimes that means lifting some weights, and sometimes that means cooking a yummy meal.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I have recently began dabbling in photography. It has been such a fun hobby!

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff

NIFS High Five: Jane Reynolds

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.

  • JReynoldsName: Jane Reynolds
  • City, State: Stuart, Florida
  • Years with NIFS: 1.5 years
  • Position: Wellness Coordinator
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was relocating back to Florida from South Carolina and looking for work when a friend of mine told me about NIFS and an HFS, per diem opening and urged me to apply. Side not, relocating back to Florida to be closer to my grandson.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: This is such a multifaceted question. I have had many impactful moments here at my site with many members. I have witnessed many of our members become stronger physically and mentally especially this past year. I have seen many members that are stepping out of their comfort zone and trying and loving tai chi, yoga, and meditation. I have been told by several members that they feel stronger since they started taking aerobics and strength training and have said they love that I challenge them. I always remind them that age is just a number! On the other side of fitness, I have had several heartbreaking moments with members who have lost their spouse. One is now in the process of getting herself back into fitness and needs some one-on-one attention. Making connections both physically and emotionally have made for many impactful moments.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: What separates NIFS from the rest is their philosophy towards fitness and wellness. As a NIFS professional, we are challenged to work on programming that promotes physical wellness and mindful programming. What is so interesting about most of the programs offered is that they blend so well together. NIFS is not just about picking up weights and getting sweaty!
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I would have to say the residents and my co-workers. I feel that this is my home away from home! As an example, during the initial lock-down restrictions back in March, our Executive Director made it possible for us to purchase groceries onsite, so we did not have to go to a store and offering the COVID-19 vaccine for staff. They have taken such wonderful care of us and the residents. Also, we have the most beautiful surroundings, and I am treated to gorgeous water views every day!
  • What motivates you: Our residents motivate me daily. I am in awe of their perseverance and their desire to get in shape to stay independent. They are truly the greatest and bravest generation!
  • What is your favorite hobby: I have a few hobbies but my favorite activity these days is spending time with my sweet grandson, Briland. I stay in shape, so I have the energy to chase him around. Those toddlers are fast! Other hobbies include gardening. There is nothing like growing your own tomatoes! And I have just started playing shuffleboard! Along with teaching classes here at the community, I enjoy riding my bike, walking and strength training to stay fit. And how could I forget that we have some gorgeous beaches minutes from my home. Is laying out at the beach a hobby?

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Where to start when lifting weights

GettyImages-85446814When thinking about starting a resistance training program there are a few things to consider. Making sure you have the right order for exercises, determining the appropriate number of reps/sets to perform, and making sure you get enough rest are what we will be going over in this blog. With any program you start, make sure that you are warming up properly before performing any type of lift. The great thing about resistance training is it can provide you with muscular strength and endurance gains no matter your age.

1. Making sure you have the right order.

There are thousands and thousands of exercises that can help increase strength in certain muscles around the body, but what is the best order to do them? Most programs will have you start with compound exercises. Compound exercises like the title suggest recruits multiple muscle groups to help preform the lift. Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts are examples of compound exercises that should be performed first. After the compound exercises you can do what are called accessory lifts. These lifts will typically only activate one muscle. Biceps Curls, Triceps Push Downs, and any machine exercise are examples of accessory lifts.

2. Determining the number of sets and reps.

Before starting a program, you have to figure out why you want to do this in the first place. Establishing goals can gear you towards keeping you on track and building the perfect program. For example, if your goal is to do the most exercises in a row, you would want to build your program around muscular endurance. ACSM suggest to perform at least 12 reps (how many times you perform the exercise) for 2 to 3 sets (How many rounds you perform the exercise) with little or no rest in-between sets. There are 2 different resistance training programs. To gain muscular endurance, perform 6-12 reps for 2-3 sets with 1-2 minutes of rest in between and to gain muscular strength, perform >6 rep for 2-6 sets with 3 minutes of rest in between.

3. Why is rest so important?

When starting a weight lifting program, after the first couple of weeks you can be experiencing some soreness due to the muscles being used. Now making sure that your soreness doesn’t become an injury is making sure you build in rest days around your program. ACSM recommends the amount of time you should rest a muscle group before performing resistance training again is 24-48 hours.

Interested in getting started with a resistance training program, seeking support from a qualified fitness professional can be a great step. There are fitness assessments you can complete to evaluate your current strength and fitness levels that can be used to design a resistance training program unique to your goals and needs.

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Topics: weight lifting

Staff High Five: Jaclyn Ruemmler

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.

  • JRuemmlerName: Jaclyn Ruemmler
  • City, State: Indianapolis, IN
  • Years with NIFS: A little over a year
  • Position: Fitness Center Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I was working in corporate wellness in North Carolina for about a year before I decided to move to Indianapolis with my boyfriend. I really enjoyed corporate wellness and working with a variety of people so after doing my job research, NIFS seemed like a perfect fit! I like that it is a smaller company, but with sites all over the country and a very welcoming atmosphere.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: Through our virtual Personal Fitness Quest program, I have been able to work with a variety of employees. I worked with one woman who had been quite sedentary her whole life and had poor range of motion with her movements. She was very excited to participate in this program and was determined to improve her health. After a course of 4 weeks, she had improved her shoulder range of motion and was moving much smoother. She had a step goal set for everyday and always came to our sessions with a positive attitude. Now she continues her workouts and stays active with our online offerings.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: We all bring something different to the table with certifications, education, background, etc. but our overall goal as a staff is to improve the wellbeing of our members. We use creative, fun ways to interact with our members and always encourage them to accomplish their fitness goals.
  • What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: I love the facility and the people, we work with all kinds of people with different fitness goals and I enjoy helping them reach those goals. Also, the virtual programming has been awesome, I have been able to work with people all over the world.
  • What motivates you: I love seeing members enjoy a group fitness class, accomplish a fitness goal, or really enjoy a program we run. These all motivate me to be creative and continue to work hard.
  • What is your favorite hobby: I enjoy running and staying active outside (when it is warm!). I also enjoying exploring the city and surrounding areas with my boyfriend and friends.

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

Topics: nifs staff