Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fall Into a New Wellness Routine

GettyImages-1171807035As fall brings us cooler temps and the beautiful change of landscape, it can be a great time to settle into a new wellness routine. After all, keeping your routine fresh can inspire your spirit and challenge your body with new physical and mental endeavors. Here are a few ideas to change up your routine while appreciating all the season has to offer.

  •  Outdoor meditation: this time of year can be enriching for the senses with the cooler air, bold colors and earthy smells. Find a peaceful spot to soak it all in and be present in the environment. Practice our mindful meditation session or focus on deep breathing exercises.
  • Scenic hikes: head outdoors to walk and enjoy the colors of the season. The cooler temps and lower humidity can make exercise outside more tolerable than in the heat of the summer and the scenery can be a great motivator! Look up the peek color schedule for your region and plan a walk at a local park.
  • Go for a swim: while temperatures drop outside, the warm air and climate of indoor pools can help you maintain those summer vibes if desired. Aquatic exercise, whether attending a water aerobics class, water volleyball game, or doing a water walking workout are all fantastic modes of exercise that can get the heart pumping, and the muscles burning, all while being gentle on the joints.
  • Recreation programs: while football might not be the most appropriate mode of activity for active older adults, games like corn hole and bocce ball can be a great way to be physically active outside while enjoying those fall vibes (no helmet required). It’s important that you find ways to move your body every day and that doesn’t always have to be structured exercise. Recreation games are a great option to move while having fun!
  • Garden prep: picking your last harvest, cleaning out garden beds, and prepping your soil with compost can be a great mode of physical activity and you’ll reap the benefits next spring when you have minimal work to prep for planting season. Many people enjoy the meditative benefits from gardening all summer long so give your garden beds a little TLC as a thank you for another great growing season.
  • Harvest meals: veggie and gourd harvests can create some wonderful variety in healthy dining only available at this time of year. Pumpkin bread, grilled squash varieties and hearty soups can be delicious choices and oh so healthy! The colors in the trees and on your plate can be rich and beautiful.

We love partnering with our senior living clients to create new fitness and wellness experiences for residents with the changing seasons and all year round accommodating the requests we hear from residents. The monthly calendar is often full of life enriching experiences that support vibrant living spanning the different dimensions of wellness. Find out what is happening in your community this fall and try something new.

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Topics: senior wellness

Staff High Five: Rachel Leszczynski

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.

HIGH5_R.Leszczynski

  • Name: Rachel Leszczynski
  • City, State: Issaquah, WA
  • Years with NIFS:
  • Position: Fitness Manager
  • What brought you to NIFS: I started with NIFS as a Health Fitness Specialist in Lincolnshire, IL. It was my first “real job” in the fitness industry.
  • What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: I think the most impactful moment has been with one of my regular PT clients. When we first started she wasn’t able to stand up from a chair without pushing off. While we’ve had a few setbacks, she is able to stand from a chair without pushing off.
  • What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: Not only do NIFS staff take good care of their clients, our network of managers is a great support system and was very helpful in my first couple of years as a fitness manager, specifically with programming. So I guess you could say a NIFS pro is best because of the team as a whole.
  • What is your fave thing about working at your client site: My fav thing is being able to access all the hiking trails of the beautiful pacific northwest. Taking members out on a guided hikes once a month is a total treat.
  • What motivates you: I’m an active person and being able to stay healthy and do the things I love keeps me motivated.
  • What is your favorite hobby: Playing soccer!

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

ACTIVE AGING   |   CORPORATE FITNESS

 

 

Topics: nifs fitness management staffing staffing

Why we can quit following health observances in senior living?

September is a busy month with national health observances which are geared to bring awareness and resources to individuals or caregivers for issues ranging from childhood obesity to senior independence and just about every chronic health condition in between. For many, the health observance may be one of the only times during the year in which they have access to these additional resources.

If you think about it, older adults who reside in senior living communities have access to these types of resources every single day. As NIFS partners with senior living communities across the country in managing their fitness programs, we see firsthand the impact that the vibrant lifestyle has on enhancing the lives of seniors. The scope of resources from health services to socialization to robust physical activity programs help seniors thrive and are built into the lifestyle 365 days per year opposed to a week or month-long health campaign. It’s not just about increasing awareness, the lifestyle provides the tools and resources for older adults to effectively manage their health and maintain their independence. We witness minds put at ease from the convenient access to exceptional dining, medical care and amenities and lives lived to their fullest.

GettyImages-1029344612Let’s look at some examples for September’s health observances that align with the lifestyle that residents in senior living communities have at their fingertips every single day:

  • Healthy Aging Month: well that’s a gimme with the month-long focus on the positive aspects of growing older and bringing inspiration to improving the physical, social, mental, and financial well-being of those 45+. These types of enrichment opportunities fill the lifestyle calendars every single month in senior living communities.
  • National Yoga Awareness Month: brings awareness to the benefits of yoga and its attributes in living a healthy lifestyle. Yoga classes are a senior living staple on the group fitness calendar as the research behind the gentle poses and stretches bring flexibility, strength and balance gains to the participants as well as enhancing the mind/body connection.
  • National Fall Prevention Week: We know that fall prevention is a year-round priority for seniors and NIFS Balance Redefined program brings a comprehensive service model of balance training and fall prevention programming to the communities we serve. Balance classes and rehab departments are commonplace services within senior living.

Just like any industry, some senior living communities have an edge with the scope of amenities and quality of services available to their residents. If you are exploring how a senior living community measures up in fulfilling these lifestyle goals, ask these questions:

  • If you are motivated to become more physically active, does the community have a fitness center with professional staffing and a robust service model of classes, appointments, and programs? Most communities have a fitness center, but the staffing makes all the difference!
  • If you are interested in gaining more socialization, how do the activities, outings, and dining experiences align with your personal passions and interests? How many new offerings are on the calendar each month to keep things fresh?
  • If you are looking for intellectual enrichment, how do the programs engage participants and spark conversation?  There is a difference in the lifelong opportunities available between attending “sit and listen lectures” and events that truly foster new life experiences.

Of course we support initiatives that help connect people with additional resources for any health condition they or a loved one might be experiencing and the national health observances do a nice job with that. For more information on other observances, check out this link from the US Department of Health and Human Services. In closing, we’ll consider the lifestyle available to residents within senior living communities a yearlong health observance for the best of both worlds.

How we improved an already successful fitness program

Topics: senior wellness programs activities calendar senior living

A Well Rounded Self-Care Routine

With extra time at home, are you looking for ways to enrich your day to day life? Practicing self-care allows you to use this time in social isolation to take care of yourself and help reduce stress you might have over our current situation.

Self-Care is the practice of taking deliberate action to encourage growth or maintain one’s own health. This can be your physical, mental, or emotional health, or any combination thereof! Some basic categories to use in practicing your self-care are eating, sleeping, socializing, exercising, and stimulating your mind. All of these are important to your health, but there are many ways of addressing them.

Practicing self-care by focusing on eating can look like these:

  • consulting a Registered Dietician to make sure that your specific food needs are being met while you’re at home
  • taking the time to make your favorite meal or trying out a new healthy smoothie recipe
  • personally, I like to make sure I drink enough water every day by slicing fruit and having flavored water whenever I want

Focusing on sleep can mean:

  • creating a consistent bedtime routine
  • try a face mask and a calming cup of tea to relax before bed
  • simply prioritize getting enough sleep each night, roughly 8 hours is a good goal

GettyImages-1137196547 (1)Socializing might look different now than it used to, but you can still enjoy time with others!

  • Our phones and computers allow us to text, call, and even video chat with people around the world.
  • Try sending cards and letters in the mail. Do you have beautiful stationery and cards that have been sitting around? Now is the time to send them to someone and spread joy!

We all know exercise is important for more than just your physical health.

  • if you enjoy spending time outside, try taking a walk!
  • try yoga outdoors or in your own home
  • look for online exercise options like written workouts or classes that you can follow along with

Mental stimulation can look very different for everyone.

  • meditation, journaling, and painting are all great options
  • you can enjoy reading books or maybe try joining an online book club
  • brain teasers, crossword puzzles, and online trivia competitions are great options
  • include meditation or a daily Bible study in your routine

Many self-care options cover more than one of these categories. Drawing a nice bath with scented candles after exercising can help you relax before bed and wrap up a hard workout. Baking a treat and delivering it to a neighbor provides you mental stimulation and some socialization while giving your neighbor a nice surprise! Make today special by focusing on yourself and practicing self-care to preserve and promote your health in a way that works for you.

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Topics: senior wellness programs senior living communities

Corporate Fitness: Maintaining Connections in a Virtual World

GettyImages-1215677044 (1)While many may have feelings of uncertainty come to mind with everything we’ve endured thus far in 2020, we’ve also experienced inspiration from the dedication of our healthcare workers and educators and witnessed innovation in how many industries are adapting to remote workforces and revised service models.The corporate fitness industry included and that is why NIFS has adapted our HealthYou programming to accommodate our clients’ needs while their fitness centers remain closed and their employees are at home.  

We have long stated that it's our amazing staff that makes our business-model thrive and our hiring practices help us recruit some of the best professionals in the industry. The relationships our staff build with their members are key to our successful corporate fitness centers. One thing the current pandemic has taught us is those relationships don’t need to be nurtured within the four walls of a fitness center. As our clients’ workforces were sent home and access to typical fitness amenities became limited, our staff got to work finding opportunities to support their members’ health and wellness needs to maintain engagement.

Here are a few examples of how our staff is keeping our clients’ workforce connected to healthy lifestyle resources utilizing their customized HealthYou portals and our licensed exercise software integrated with Zoom:

  • Virtual Health Coaching: if you have tried to purchase fitness equipment in the last several months, you’ve likely experienced home-based cardio equipment on backorder, dumbbell racks empty in the stores, and the basics for building your home gym difficult to come by. Our staff have been routinely connecting with their members via phone calls and email and finding innovative ways to support their members’ evolving needs. For some, it may have been relaxation techniques while kids were home with distance learning, for others it may have been working through a new exercise program within the scope of what equipment and space a member has available at home. The gratitude and thanks our staff have heard from their members in maintaining that connection has been inspiring.

  • Group Fitness: we’ve been host morning, noon, and night virtual group fitness classes since the pandemic started and it’s amazing to hear just how much our members love to see THEIR fitness staff and still workout with them. They’ve also enjoyed getting to experience classes with other NIFS staff across the country for variety. Not only do they have live classes available but they have a video library of recorded classes at their fingertips which have 1,000’s of views.

  • Programming: let’s face it, those early weeks of the pandemic, in particular, were rough. Stress and anxiety levels were high and many fell into the groove of day-long snacking followed by evening binge-watching of our favorite shows. Wellness programming like NIFS Commit 21, Fitness Bingo, and NIFS Stress Relief Calendar has helped employees establish personal goals and self-care routines to get back on track.

  • Nutrition Services: NIFS Registered Dietitian has been hosting Healthy Lifestyle sessions on Zoom each week where everything from weight loss, to pre-and-post workout nutrition, to family meal planning, is discussed. There is also a Facebook group in which healthy recipes are shared and some great discussion continues throughout the week! As the frequency of cooking at home has increased, these nutrition resources have been a great option to break out of those menu ruts and explore new healthy choices.

We are already hearing requests and interest for our HealthYou resources to remain available to our members once fitness centers reopen. The landscape of many industries post-pandemic will likely look different and we are glad that members are inviting more options to exercise onsite when their fitness centers reopen as well as requesting the continued accessibility of virtual resources.

NIFS HealthYou programming is a great solution for organizations looking to broaden their employee wellness offerings. Whether you have an onsite fitness center or your employee-base works remotely, our amazing staff and virtual tools can connect them to the resources they need to live well. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to explore opportunities for your employees.

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Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness employee wellness group fitness remote working virtual trainer virtual group fitness online fitness coach virtual training online fitness

Three Ways to Fight Belly Fat at Home

GettyImages-1124686829As a fitness manager, people frequently ask me how they can lose “this” as they aggressively squeeze their belly. In response with a smile, I ask them if they have a minute to talk about it. As common as this question is, it’s very hard to give an answer that satisfies. It’s a concern most of us have because we associate a trim belly with health. There’s no single magic pill, exercise, food, or ritual that will help bring back the desired abdominal aesthetic. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that can be taken to reach a healthier body composition. Here are three ways older adults can fight belly fat as they stay safe at home:

1. Substitute Whole Grains for Sweet Treats

Up until recently, I was never much for sweets. Brownies, cookies, and chocolate really had no appeal to me. Unfortunately, spending more time at home has made their siren song grow louder. Here are some healthy substitutes. Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and oats are naturally very filling. Filled with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, they are a little more challenging for our bodies to digest quickly. This is a good thing! Sugary treats are okay once in a while, but we should turn our attention to more complete alternatives when our bellies and brains are in the mood for a quick fix. This can be really challenging at first, but it does get easier for most people after a week or two. In the long run, your belly will thank you!

2. Substitute Water, Seltzer, or Diet Soda for Alcoholic Beverages

I might get some dirty looks for this one, but I’m okay with it! Alcoholic beverages are a delight for most of us, but drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to gain some poundage. Fortunately, there are some tasty, although buzz-less, alternatives. Cold water can be surprisingly satisfying, and adding some bubbly, lightly flavored seltzer to the mix might just do the trick. Diet soda is not without its controversy, and I see it as a personal choice very much like alcohol consumption. From a purely belly fat fighting perspective, I think most people would be better off having a drink of diet soda compared to an alcoholic beverage. Whatever it may be, the takeaway is to consider substituting some of your alcohol intake with a lighter alternative.

3. Set a Fitness Goal

If you’re not interested in moving up in pant size, you may want to set a fitness goal that you can achieve while staying home. I’m keeping this vague because sometimes doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. The previous two ways to fight belly fat were focused on controlling the caloric energy you consume. This part is about controlling the caloric energy you put out. A great goal to work up to is getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. Combine this with two or three strength training sessions per week, and you’re well on your way toward a trimmer waistline! If you’re ready for that goal, great! If not, work on creating a goal that’s right for your personality, experience level, and abilities. The important thing is that you set some kind of fitness goal that you can achieve. Remember, you’ll probably feel better reaching an easy goal than failing to reach a hard one.

I’ve said it before, staying home is challenging. In many ways, it is harder than ever to fight fat and weight gain at home. In a time of apparent helplessness, we can enjoy control over aspects of our health. If you’re like me and sweets are calling your name, consider replying with a hearty meal that includes whole grains and vegetables. If alcohol has been flowing with ease, think about replacing a drink or two with a lower calorie choice. If 2020 so far has left you feeling powerless, take the power back by achieving a simple fitness goal! These suggestions are meant to be encouraging, not restrictive.

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Topics: diet and nutrition goal setting

Senior Living: 5 Heart-Pumping Moves for Small Spaces

While some might feel restricted in their fitness options right now, many are becoming enlightened to a whole new means of exercising from the comfort and safety of their home. After all, necessity is the mother of invention and we are all learning to adapt. In addition, many are recognizing what a key role daily physical activity plays in their emotional and physical well-being. As stated here by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Now is a critical time to ensure we are moving more and sitting less to stay healthy.” All the reason why the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has listed exercise here as one of the key steps people can take to manage stress and cope with our current reality.

When you think of aerobic exercise in particular, what exercises come to mind? Walking, running, swimming are great ways for active older adults to increase their heartrate and get all the benefits of cardiovascular activity. But what if you can’t go outdoors, to the gym or access a pool? What can you do in limited space? It’s amazing how resourceful you can become for a highly effective workout when you put your mind to it. We are here to provide you with a 5-move aerobic workout that requires 100 square feet or less! As always, modify as needed for your personal comfort and always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Click image below for 5 heart pumping moves for your small space!

5 heart pumping moves

 

Topics: senior living senior fitness at home workout

7 Ways to Loosen Up After Sitting

ThinkstockPhotos-607478378-1If you have been sitting for a long period of time and your body is starting to ache or feel stiff, try out these seven tips to help you loosen up. Start with number one and move down the list. It will take about 2-8 minutes depending on how long you want to spend on each one.

1. Breathe. Inhale through your nose slowly, fill your belly with air rather than just your chest, exhale slowly through your mouth by pushing the air out with “O” lips. Do this at least 3 times to relax your body.

2. Relax every muscle. Close your eyes, think about your muscles starting with the face, relax and follow this thought process down to your toes. Relax your forehead, eyebrows, and eyelids. Let your jaw muscles loosen. Release tension in your shoulders. Unclench your hands. Move your ankles and toes around and then relax them. You should now feel little to no tension in most of your body muscles.

3. Roll your shoulders. Slowly roll your shoulders forward in big circles. You should lift them as high as you can and push them down as low as you can to work through the entire range of motion. After at least 3 forward shoulder rolls, switch directions and roll them backward.

4. Reach above your head. Reach as high above your head as you can to elongate your body. Reach slightly behind you as you push your hips forward to get a lower back stretch. Return to center and then, with arms still extended above your head, lean to one side for a good stretch and then to the other side.

5. Reach to your toes. Now, with knees just slightly bent, slowly bend down to your toes. Push your hips back to get a deep hamstring stretch. Don’t let your knees lock into a hyperextended position. Think about elongating your spine; it’s okay to arch your back in this position. Hold this position for at least 15 seconds, then slowly stand back up. Repeat 2-3 times and each time, try to go a little deeper into the stretch.

6. Roll your IT band. If you have a foam roller or a rolling pin, roll your IT band for 15+ seconds on each side. Your IT band is on the outside of your thigh. It gets tight when you sit for long periods of time, and one of the best ways to release that tension is through rolling. If you don’t have a foam roller or a rolling pin, take the palm of your hand and starting at the top near your hip, push in and downward on the muscle slowly. Repeat several times to get that muscle relaxed. It may feel a little uncomfortable but rolling allows the muscle to release tension and inflammation that can be causing discomfort.

7. Massage your back muscles. The muscle that lines your spine is called the erector spinae. It gets tight when we sit for long periods of time. Make a fist and put your thumb knuckle on the muscle. Rub back and forth and in small circles. Make sure to do this on both sides of the spine from your lower back up to your mid back. You should not rub the spinal cord, just the muscle on either side. There are a few different ways to massage the muscle yourself, so just figure out what works best for you. The amount of time you massage the muscles is up to you.

Make it a priority to take breaks often to loosen your body. And when you are sitting, make sure to sit with good posture. Movement, even in small bouts, will help you take care of your body! Join me in a good 16 minute stretch, click here or view below.  

 

 

 

 

Topics: stretching

Move More: Take a Break from Sitting

GettyImages-475200500Staying home is something we are all doing more of lately due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Spending more time at home has some benefits like increased family time, less driving, and especially lowering the risk of contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, there are also hefty drawbacks to being homebound. As we spend more time inside, we are also sitting for longer and longer periods of time. Watching movies, reading books, or napping are all fun and enjoyable seated activities. Unfortunately, doing too much of these things can have disastrous results on our health. Taking breaks from sitting every 30 – 60 minutes will improve your safer-at-home experience by reducing risk of deadly blood clots, maintaining muscle and bone health, and using up energy that would otherwise be stored as fat.

  • First, sitting for extended periods of time negatively affects your body’s ability to circulate blood. When you spend too much time sitting, blood pools in the legs which can cause blood clots to form. This is known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Some DVT’s are small enough to not cause any harm, but it is possible for the clot to dislodge and travel to the lungs. This can lead to a deadly pulmonary embolism. Older adults are at a higher risk for blood clots like this, especially in combination with a medical history of cancer, obesity, or recent lower body surgery. To combat the risk of DVT’s and pulmonary embolisms, take frequent breaks from sitting.
  • Second, being immobile causes your muscles to shrink. The saying “use it or lose it” is true in this case. When you regularly stay seated for too long, your body adapts. The body’s ability to adapt is a marvelous thing, but it can unfortunately lead to some very negative side effects in this case. Muscles are responsible for movement. If we don’t move or exercise, there is no reason for our bodies to hold on to muscle tissue. All of this applies to bone tissue as well. If your bones do not frequently bear your weight, they will lose density and strength. This can lead to a condition called osteoporosis. Fortunately, there is a simple remedy. Get up, move around, and use your bones and muscles!
  • Finally, you should take breaks from sitting because it will help you maintain a healthy weight and body composition. When we are resting in a seated or reclined position, our bodies are not using very much energy. Long periods of inactivity lead to excess storage of energy, which in this case will be body fat. If your body holds on to too much stored fat, this can increase your risk of diseases like hypertension, type II diabetes, and cancer. To properly manage the amount of fat your body stores, it’s incredibly important to use up the energy that you consume (calories). The human body naturally uses energy from food to maintain its complex systems, but physical activity is the best way to burn more calories. To fight off excess body fat and the risk of disease that comes with it, manage your energy intake and output!

Optimal circulation, lean mass maintenance, and a healthy bodyweight are all goals that we should aim for during the COVID-19 epidemic and beyond. As we reduce our risk of contracting the virus, we should also aim to reduce our risk of serious inactivity related diseases. One extremely effective way to do this is taking breaks from sitting. At least once per hour, stand up and walk around for at least 5 minutes. Use your muscles by completing a few basic exercises like marching, wall push-ups, or chair stands. All of this together will help you stay healthy and strong as you stay at home. If you find yourself sitting down for a long period of time, remember to take a break from sitting every 30 – 60 minutes.

Check out our Quick Read for Basics for Fall Prevention Programming for your residents.

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Topics: senior fitness improving senior fitness movement

Tips for Combating Eating Out of Boredom

GettyImages-1131960080 (1)We are in the throws of quarantine and you’ve gone through yet another bag of Cheetos without paying much attention to them. Sound familiar? If so, you could be eating out of boredom. Now that most people are working from home, it can be challenging not to grab an extra snack during that conference call or while typing out an email. This kind of eating can add up quickly and cause a lot of detriment to your health and weight loss goals. Focusing on your nutrition is crucial during these times where it can be difficult to workout with most gyms being shut down.

Here are a few tips to help combat boredom eating:

  • Remove unhealthy snacks for your house. This one is simple, avoid the urge all together by getting rid of any unhealthy snacks that you might have. Try to replace them with the healthy options that are mentioned below.
  • Drink a glass of water instead. Oftentimes you are in need of hydration rather than food and the sensation can feel similar between the two. Drink some water and then decide if you are actually hungry or not. How many bottles of water have you drank today?
  • Chew sugar-free gum. Again, another simple solution, but it could help save you from a lot of empty calories. Chewing some gum can help sate some feelings of hunger and give you a little distraction from being bored. Opt for sugar-free options to avoid extra calories and sugar.
  • Distract yourself. Find a way to keep yourself busy to distract yourself from hunger or being bored. Do some bodyweight exercises, go for a walk, or skype a friend or loved one over the internet! Anything to help keep your attention and prevent unnecessary snacking.
  • Find a healthy replacement. If you have tried everything and need to have a snack; try to make it a healthy one! Eat something that is nutrient dense and that will provide satiety. Some examples could be an apple and peanut butter, low fat popcorn, or veggies and hummus. Fruits and vegetables are always a good option.

What ways have you found to be useful to combat boredom eating while at home? Share in the comments!

Topics: quarantine