Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

New Year, Better You! Finding Motivation for Focusing on Healthy Habits

GettyImages-1070617536Are you striving to accomplish a new health goal this new year? Whether it is eating healthier, exercising more, or beginning a new health routine, you will need to create habits to help you achieve your goal. When deciding on which habits you want to form heading into the new year, you may want to first consider WHAT a habit is. A habit is a behavior that is repeated on a regular basis whether it is an action, routine, or lifestyle and often we don’t even think about it.

So, why do you want to form that habit? How will it help you accomplish your health goals? Finding the motivation to form healthy habits can sometimes be the most challenging part of accomplishing that New Year’s Resolution you’ve been promising yourself. To be successful in forming that healthy habit, you first need to understand what motivates you and how that will impact the outcome. To find your motivations, first ask yourself:

What are you motivated by internally and externally?

  • External Motivations:
    • Seeing physical results – weight, circumferences, toned muscles, mileage
    • Paying for a service to help you in achieving your goals
    • Receiving a discount for striving to be healthy – going to the gym, attaining healthy lab results
  • Internal Motivations:
    • Boosting your confidence and feeling good about yourself
    • Feeling better – more energy, stronger, healthier

Every individual is motivated differently. We can identify those external motivators easily, but really homing in on the internal motivators will help you stay on track and maintain motivation for longer. On the days that motivation might be hard to find, there are a few tips you can follow to really help put your best foot forward towards accomplishing your goals.

  • Include Others or Find an Accountability Partner – This will provide not only accountability but a support system as well. You will be more likely to follow through if you know there are others counting on you.
    • Examples: attend group fitness classes, work with a personal trainer, partner up with a friend or family member for workouts, meals, or whatever health habit you are trying to form!
  • Visualize Your Success – Imagine what your life will look like once you are following this new health habit.
    • Keeping the positive picture in mind can motivate you to turn that vision into a reality.
  • Keep Track of Your Progress – Find a way to track your results so you can visually recognize your hard work.
    • Set up check points for yourself to create accountability.
    • Celebrate your successes and reflect on your setbacks.
  • Be Patient and Give Yourself Grace – Remember that changes take time and not every day will be full of huge strides forward.
    • Embrace the changes and be patient with your results.
    • Recognize the little wins each day that you work towards forming a new health habit.

 Finding motivation to form new health habits can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Keep the above tips in mind, and your chances of success will improve. This is your year; share your habit you are focusing on in the comments!

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: employee health and wellness New Year's Resolutions in Action healthy habits 23 Minutes

When to use heat or ice to manage pain

GettyImages-1213744131One of the biggest questions people have when experiencing and ache or pain is “do I use heat or ice to help eliminate my pain?” Ice and heating pads are among the most common treatments for pain, but are you using them correctly? If done wrong, using ice or heat may do more harm than good.

When to use Ice

Ice is most commonly used for acute recent injuries (within the last 72 hours) where swelling is the issue. Applying an ice pack like ice cubes in a plastic bag or a bag of frozen peas to the injured site can help minimize the swelling, relax the muscles, and reduce bleeding into the tissues to help manage pain. Ice can also be used for conditions like overuse injuries. In this instance, using ice after activity can help control inflammation. Some conditions on when ice is the best to use are:

  • Sprains
  • After new injuries
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pulled muscles
  • Gout

When to use Heat

Heat is best used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues and stimulate blood flow to the affected area. Heat is helpful in improving range of motion in a stiff joint. Don’t use heat right after exercise, an acute injury, or when swelling is involved. Heating the affected area can be accomplished with a heating pad, or a hot wet towel. Some conditions on when heat is the best to use are:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle aches
  • Chronic back or knee pain
  • Sciatica pain
  • Joint and muscle stiffness
  • Fibromyalgia

Safety Tips

  • Never apply the ice or heat source directly to skin. Wrap the source in a towel or an article of clothing can be worn.
  • Do not treat ice or heat for longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • When using ice, check the skin frequently. If the skin becomes bright pink or red, stop immediately.
  • Never use heat if there’s swelling or bruising, or if you have poor circulation or no feeling in the affected body part.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: pain relief exercise and aging pain management

Managing Stress Eating

GettyImages-1261754581It’s no secret that our emotions impact what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.
In fact, sometimes it seems that the strongest cravings hit when our emotional and mental
wellbeing is at its weakest. Emotional eating is a way to, in the short term, relieve or suppress
negative feelings, such as sadness, stress, anger/frustration, and/or boredom. However,
emotional eating can also lead us to make poor food choices, such as skipping or forgetting meals, consuming fast food frequently or consuming alcohol and/or caffeine in excess, all which may have health consequences, including unintentional weight gain. To help prevent emotional eating, focus on the following steps:

Identify the difference between emotional hunger and physiological hunger.

  • Emotional hunger typically comes on suddenly with an urge to resolve the
    “hunger quickly”, often involves a desire for a specific type of food or food group,
    and usually results in overeating. In contrast, physiological hunger tends to be
    more gradual, allows us to stop eating when we are full, and doesn’t typically
    cause guilt that is experienced with emotional hunger.

Establish a healthy eating routine.

  • Aim to eat two to three well rounded meals each day. Meals don’t have to be
    complicated: the easier and quicker = the better. Try pairing a protein source
    (chicken, salmon, ground turkey or lean beef, etc.) with various grilled, roasted, or
    steamed vegetables and seasonings/sauces of your choice for a quick,
    inexpensive and easy meal!
  • Ensure you’re consuming enough of the right foods. Consume plenty of fruits,
    vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products while limiting
    your intake of highly processed foods, added sugars, salt/sodium, and alcohol.
  • Talk with a registered dietitian to develop a healthy eating routine that meets your
    individualized needs while helping to manage causes and symptoms of emotional

Manage overall stress.

  • There is evidence to suggest that increased cortisol, the hormone released
    during stress, may result in an increased appetite, leading to overeating and
    potential weight gain. Rather than turning to food for comfort, be sure to control
    stress by journaling, exercise, practicing mindfulness/meditation, and/or social support.

    Subscribe to our blog
Topics: stress mindful eating stress management 23 Minutes

5 Energy Boosting Tips

You get the required amount of sleep but all day long you still feel you’re in second gear. You’ve tried caffeine and sugar to help pep you up, but nothing seems to work. Luckily, there are some healthy tweaks you can do to help you feel energized all day long. Read below and chat with your doctor on how these nutrition, lifestyle or supplement changes may help you.

GettyImages-850837374Make Your Meals Count

You may think that a Frappuccino, an energy drink or a smoothie are the best things to consume to start the day. This may be the very reason why you’re feeling so tired mid-afternoon! Instead start your day with a meal filled with a lean protein, some fiber rich carbohydrates and healthy fats. Did you know that the afternoon sluggish feeling is related to a naturally occurring dip in your circadian rhythm? But having a low fiber, high carb breakfast will amplify that sluggish feeling all day long.

Another place we get into trouble is with our lunch. A large plate of pasta and a soda is sure to leave you feeling tired. The best way to figure out what works for your body is to observe how you feel 30 minutes and two hours after you eat. If you feel a dip in your energy, start playing with your protein, fat and carbohydrate ratio. To start with, try eating a meal that is made up of 45% carbohydrates (vegetables, and whole grain), 10%-35% protein (fish, chicken, lentils) and 20%-35% fat (avocados, nuts, seeds). By incorporating this formula, it will keep your blood sugar in better balance, help prevent that sleepy feeling you get after you eat and improve your energy levels.

Sleep

Problems falling asleep, tossing and turning and not being able to fall back asleep are obvious reasons you may be feeling a lack of energy. The best way to combat these things is to forgo that 3pm caffeine boost and to get in sync with your circadian rhythm. Our natural sleep/wake cycles do best if we go to bed around 10pm and keep a consistent bedtime.

Not being able to go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night can be frustrating. It’s almost as if someone has turned on a light in your brain. My favorite two techniques to combat this are: meditation and writing out what’s stressing you out before going to bed.

Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Being in a consistent stressed-out state can cause you to develop a symptom called Adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue robs you of energy, prevents you from getting a good night sleep and causes you to crave sweet or salty foods. Meditation, yoga and apoptogenic herbs can help combat adrenal fatigue. These healing herbs can help balance the body’s natural response to handle stress by supporting the adrenal system.

The best adaptogen herbs to help boost energy are: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil and ginseng.

B Vitamins

Known as the “energy vitamins”. Having low levels of B vitamins, especially B12, can cause you to feel fatigued. Ironically, having enough B vitamins in your diet also helps with getting a good night sleep. B vitamins are found in foods such as eggs, salmon, beef, chicken, avocado, leafy greens, milk, yogurt and legumes.

Exercise

When you’re feeling tired, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. Exercise is a great way to get your blood moving, which helps your heart and lungs work more efficiency, which in turn gives you more energy. On top of this, exercise increases your endorphin levels. Increased endorphin levels help make you feel good, decrease the feeling of being stressed out and helps you sleep better.

Moderate exercise is all you need. Contact one of your NIFS representatives to learn additional techniques to have more energy or to have them design a customized, and energizing work for you.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: active living healthy food choices energy level healthy choices

Being Active with Family During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is about getting family together and spending quality time with each other. But as the weather gets colder, nights get dark sooner, and the weather becomes gloomier people tend to stay inside and become less active. Staying active during the holiday season doesn’t mean one has to go to the gym and pump some iron. There are other great, family – oriented activities that can get people moving! Let’s discuss some everyday tasks that can help burn calories and get people moving more throughout the holiday season!

Commonly, when people think of burning calories, they assume people need to change into a workout outfit, dedicate time out of their day, and get to the gym. There are common activities that people perform daily that cause a calorie burn. Think about walking, walking doesn’t require a dedicated amount of time or energy.

  1. Set an alarm every hour to walk just 10 minutes around the house, one can burn 30 – 75 calories depending on one’s age, sex, and weight.
  2. Everyone loves a clean house, depending on the cleaning activity and duration you can project typically 50 – 100 calories burned for general cleaning. Of course, depending on the intensity of the household activity one can project a higher calorie burn.
  3. Shoveling snow, everyone’s favorite winter activity, can burn close to twice that amount in the same amount of time.

GettyImages-518723719Now that there is a general framework for how many calories people can burn cooped up at home, but how about what happens when people go out and get the family involved? Dedicated winter activities are a great way to get the family together and share some beautiful memories. An added benefit is being able to move around, have fun, and build a slight sweat.

  1. Skiing is a common winter activity that many enjoy each year. Depending on the modality that people are skiing one can burn more calories. Skiing at a low speed and intensity will burn less than skiing downhill and skiing downhill burns less calories than skiing at a moderate speed.
  2. Snowboarding is another fun activity that can bring family together while focusing on movement during the holiday season. If someone was to snowboard for an hour, they could estimate a near 300 – 600 calories burned for an hour of fun.
  3. Ice Skating is another common winter activity that can be either a fun family event or a great date idea. Ice skating at a nice, general pace can have you burning hundreds of calories in an hour. Of course, if someone increases the intensity and tries to race or are a figure skater, then one can project an increase in the calories burned.
  4. We can’t forget about sledding. The top three options can present some ecological issues, mainly being that not everyone lives in an area where skiing and snowboarding are viable options and not everyone lives close to an ice rink. Typically, everyone has access to a sled, some snow, and a hill of any size, then the sledding conditions are perfect.

During this holiday season, try to expand your ideas on ways to stay active. Don’t be confined to only doing circuit training or dreading the journey to the gym. Think of the small, simpler things that can be done to increase one’s energy expenditure and incorporate the family in activities this holiday season. Curious what those activities might translate to in calories? Do a simple google search for activity calculator or use this one.

What is your favorite calorie burning activity to do with family during the winter months?

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: physical activity staying active during the holidays

Maintain Your Routine through the Holidays

GettyImages-1278242720It is almost that time of year where people set goals for themselves but have a hard time following through with the goals or accomplishing them as time goes on. We have all been there before or know someone that struggles with executing their goals during this part of the year. Managing your time, being realistic when setting goals and supporting those goals can get tough as we go into the holidays. Here are a few ways you can avoid becoming stagnant and set your self up for success while finishing this year.

Schedule Time: We all have busy lives which makes it easier for us to lose track of time during the day. This causes us to lose the opportunity to progress towards reaching personal goals daily. A great way to manage your time better is by creating a planner or using a scheduler. Whether it is a daily, weekly or monthly planner, it allows you to visually see what you must get done in that time stand. Another strategy for better time management could be giving each task a time limit. Avoiding becoming burnt out or stagnant by revisiting the task later in the day or on another day, could help you refresh mentally and save time in you day. Establishing a routine could also benefit you when considering time management. By creating a routine, you can avoid time of confusion allowing you to dive right into the task at hand.

Set Realistic Goals: While it is good that we set high expectations and push ourselves, it is even more beneficial to be realistic when setting goals during the holiday season. It has been seen that physically writing down the goal, helps people hold themselves accountable when setting goals. No one wants to look back at something they wrote themselves and think they sold themselves short. It can also be helpful to identify the challenges you may face when in the process of accomplishing your goals. By identifying your obstacles, naturally the next step would be finding ways to eliminate them or finding ways to work around them. Another way of being realistic when setting goals could be to block time out of your day to work towards your goal. While you might have to cut some things out of your normal daily or weekly schedule, it could be beneficial to prioritize time to be productive when trying to accomplish a goal.

Establish a Support System: Yes, even your goals need a support system. An easy way to create a support system for your goals is to get an accountability partner. These are people that are there to push you when you need the confidence and reassurance to keep working towards accomplishing your goals. Not being afraid of starting with a small workload and working your way up is another way of supporting your goals. This is a great way to build your confidence while being realistic when trying to find a place to start. While being realistic is necessary, it is very important that you celebrate your wins whether small or big. Remaining confident when seeing results that are small is a huge obstacle many people struggle to get pass. It is necessary to understand any positive outcome or result, are step towards reaching you long-term goals. By implementing some of these strategies and approaches, you might find yourself accomplishing goals and finishing this year off better than you expected.

How do you maintain your habits through the holidays?

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: goal setting health and fitness goals staying active during the holidays

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

GettyImages-1343544200With inflation at a 40 year high and grocery costs up close to 11% when
compared to 2021, saving money at the store has become a priority for many. However, when trying to save money at the store, many individuals cut back on the pricier yet healthier items, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, even though it’s not necessary! Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy diet while shopping smart and saving money at the store:


1. Have a grocery store game plan. Make a list of the meals and snacks you plan
to eat throughout the week and the foods you will need to make them. Sticking to
this list will help prevent you from buying things you do not need, which often
results in wasted food and money.
2. Join your store's loyalty or rewards program. Often, these programs are free
and automatically apply savings at checkout, requiring minimal effort from the
consumer!
3. Buy “in-season” and/or “local” fruits and vegetables when possible. Fruits
and vegetables that are local and/or in season are typically cheaper to produce
and ship, resulting in a lower price for the consumer compared to
exotic/hard-to-find or out-of-season produce. Use this link to see what produce is
currently in season!
4. If you have freezer space available, purchase frozen fruits and vegetables
without added salt or sauces. Typically frozen fruits and vegetables are just as
healthy and are a fraction of the cost when compared to those that are fresh.
5. Buy canned fruits and vegetables. When purchasing fruits, try to buy those
that are packaged in 100% fruit juice. When purchasing vegetables, look for
those that have “no salt added” listed on the label, or simply rinse prior to
preparing/cooking to help wash off some of the salt added for preservation.
6. Grow your own! Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs to cut back on
packaging costs.
7. Check the “sell by” or “best by” date to ensure you are buying the freshest
items.
8. Compare your options. Compare and contrast different sizes and brands to find
the most cost-effective option. Looking at the “price per unit” can help you find
the best deal!

When you know a certain food or drink will get used, buy in bulk or
purchase value- or family-sized items. For produce and meat, anything that isn’t
used can be frozen for later use.

Subscribe to our blog
Topics: healthy food choices grocery shopping Dietitian Connection

Improve Your Health with Gratitude

GettyImages-1329476189Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It is showing appreciation for giving and receiving acts of kindness. Performing acts of kindness has many benefits to our health, both mentally and physically. When we practice gratitude, we improve our daily wellbeing and overall happiness. Gratitude helps us with our mindset. We learn how to be more positive and be kinder to ourselves and others. We want to treat other people the way we want to be treated. This increases everyone’s sense of happiness which in return improves our health.

Some examples of how you can practice gratitude:

  • Donating to a charity or cause
  • Saying hello to a stranger
  • Complimenting others
  • Saying thank you more
  • Volunteering
  • Make someone smile or laugh

Acts of gratitude can improve our health in many ways and has benefits to both our mental and physical well-being. As you start incorporating gratitude regularly in your routine, here are some benefits you may experience.

 Mental Benefits:

  • Reduces negative emotions and thoughts
  • Decreases anxiety and stress levels
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Releases positivity toward ourselves and others
  • Decreases depression symptoms
  • Increases sense of belonging

 Physical Benefits:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases immune system
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Reduces inflammation due to the increase of oxytocin
  • Recover quicker from injury or illness
  • Improves our sleep habits

 Get started with implementing gratitude daily with these 5 actions:

  1. Start a gratitude journal
  2. Each day think of 3 things you are thankful for
  3. Meditate or recite gratitude affirmations
  4. Focus more on other’s intentions
  5. Thank someone new every week

Gratitude is very powerful. According to psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people to become more positive, create and build stronger relationships, and improves our overall health and well-being. Start your acts of gratitude today!

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: corporate wellness employee wellness thanksgiving traditions gratitude

Active Aging: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise

The upcoming season can be hectic, and we often let our routines fall off track. Let’s keep you motivated into the cold months with 7 ways to stay motivated while starting or continuing your exercise program.

GettyImages-1329991041

Tips to Stay Motivated:

Set Goals - Make sure you set realistic and attainable goals for yourself. For example, going to the Fitness Center three times a week for 30 minutes or taking a 15-minute walk three times a week.

Eliminate Barriers - Create an accessible, safe, and simple exercise program or ask your trainer to create one for you. Pick a day and time that most suits you.

Be Creative - Make an exercise routine that is different and fun. Stay away from doing the same thing all the time to avoid exercise becoming boring. For example, walk outdoors on a nice day to enjoy the scenery, switch your exercises up (reps, sets, order or even the exercise), or try adding a sporting activity. The old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks needs to be ignored in favor of exploration and creativity.

Reach Out – Connect with you onsite fitness staff or your local senior center. These are amazing facilities that offer a lot of different physical activities. Some centers/senior living communities have an available trained staff like NIFS to help, so ask your Wellness Coordinator, Health Fitness Specialist or Personal Trainer what they have to offer. Find classes or groups to join. Different types of exercise classes, dances, walking groups and water aerobics provide fitness and fun entertainment.

Have Fun - Pick exercises that are beneficial but ones you enjoy doing. Do not chose an exercise that you dislike, or you will dread doing it. Add humor, work out with people that make you laugh or that you can make them laugh. Listen to your favorite music or watch your favorite T.V. show while you exercise can help you complete your daily exercise goal.

No Excuses - Never make excuses for not exercising, avoid these excuses:

  • Lack of time and interest
  • Having an illness or being disabled
  • The fact that exercise is expensive
  • Dislike of exercise activities
  • Lack of friends or people to do it with
  • Lack of convenience
  • It hurts
  • It’s not fun
    Nonetheless, the importance of exercise surpasses any excuse given. With perseverance and creativity, you will be able to get started. Once you get started and start noticing all the benefits and results you will want to continue and maybe even exercise more often.

Be Focused on the Facts - Know the strong link between exercise and stable physical condition and health. When we begin physical activity or an exercise program, we feel much healthier and happier. Being physically active will make your daily activities easier and more attainable. The harder activities will become easier, and the not so hard will become simple. Not even mentioning the fact that you will be more independent.

 What will be your first step to staying motivated with your exercise routine??

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: active aging exercising adding fun to senior fitness

Changing Up Your Routine, Try New Exercises!

GettyImages-1351107422When going through one’s fitness journey, there are often times when working out becomes repetitive and boring. When that feeling of monotony starts to take place it’s generally a good idea to find a way to spice up your training. You can do so by varying your intensities during training, which in many cases is a great idea. But another way to add some variety to your training is by simply substituting movements in on a cyclical basis. Let’s discuss why this is helpful and then talk about some ways to change up your routine.

Why would it be helpful to change your routine? Well in terms of preventing overuse injuries, it’s one of the easiest ways to prevent them.1 This can be from a perspective of not just doing one modality of exercise, such as sticking to just running or cycling for cardio, or from a perspective of doing a similar exercise for over a period of weeks and months. Another benefit to changing up your routine, and specifically the exercises being utilized, is that it can help optimize training for strength and hypertrophy.2 In terms of hypertrophy this change of exercise may provide a novel stimulus which can induce greater change in hypertrophy. In terms of building or producing strength, changing exercise selection while keeping intensity the same was shown to be more efficient than keeping the exercises the same or varying both the exercises and the intensity.3 Of course this has its caveats for both hypertrophy and strength, such as a redundancy if there’s an excess of variability in exercise selection.2

So now that you know the why, how are some ways to go about changing your routine? There are some simple but effective ways you change up your exercise selection without going too drastic with the changes.

  1. Change the angle or range of motion of the movement: An effective way of changing the exercise without doing a completely new movement. For angle, think of it in terms of a chest press. You could either press completely horizontally or you could press it at an incline or a decline. The movement is different in a stimulus sense, but not completely foreign where your new to it. For range of motion, a good example could be a deadlift. Either you could pull it from the floor, you could stand on a platform and have the bar be lower than normal (decreasing ROM), or you could place the bar on pins/platforms (increasing ROM).
  2. Use a different tool: Another easy way to do the same exercise but also changing up is by using different equipment for the same movement. Think of it in terms of using a barbell or a set of dumbbells for set of shoulder presses. The movement is identical, but the stress placed on the joints and muscles would differ.
  3. Use accommodating resistance: Accommodating resistance, also referred to as Variable – Resistance, is when you use the addition of other equipment such as chains or resistance bands to affect the strength curve of a lift.

Connect with your Fitness Center staff and change up your workout with a new exercise prescription. 

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: corporate fitness exercise program