Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Mixing Elliptical and Walking for Employee Fitness

elliptical machineBy now you’ve probably heard that mixing up your workouts is the thing to do. I think it’s important to mix up your strength exercises and cardio sessions. Here are my thoughts on elliptical workouts and walking and how to use them both.

Benefits of Elliptical Workouts

The elliptical is one of my favorite cardio machines. It’s easier on the joints and you can move your arms on most elliptical machines to help burn more calories. If you contract your abs (without holding your breath) while moving your arms and legs on the elliptical, you can also get a core workout. Crank up the resistance and switch directions (forward and backward) often to work more muscles.

Benefits of Walking Workouts

Walking is the easiest way to burn calories. You can get up and go for walks throughout your day. Most people when walking naturally are not going to get their arms moving as much as when using the elliptical, however. When walking, try to move your arms as much as possible and push your speed to help burn more calories. Also, try to add some hills in your walk or increase the incline if you're walking on the treadmill.

Using Both Elliptical and Walking in Your Workouts

The elliptical allows you to use more muscles than walking, and you can work some muscles on the back side of your body, too, by going backward. They both are lower-impact exercises for the joints. You will benefit from doing different movements, so start incorporating both walking and the elliptical if you haven’t already! Talk with your corporate fitness center staff for ideas on how to mix it up best.

Topics: employee health corporate fitness cardio mixing workouts strength training

Benefits of Short Bouts of Cardio in the Corporate Fitness Center

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

When it comes to fitting workouts into your busy schedule, you need to find whacorporate fitness treadmillt works best for you. You will be more likely to stick to the plan if it’s convenient and works with your schedule. Not having enough time for exercise is the number-one excuse.

But studies are being done on the effectiveness of short bouts of exercise as opposed to being on the treadmill for 45 minutes at a time. Shorter, 10-minute bouts of exercise are just as effective. And for most, they are a more practical way of getting your workouts in throughout the day. You are still burning the calories and fat, which your body needs to maintain.

Here is a list of benefits to shorter, more intense bouts of cardio:

  • Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood-sugar levels.
  • Helps to cut the fat in the bloodstream.
  • Easier to fit in when you only have to find 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
  • Better for people with lower fitness levels because going for longer bouts may not be ideal.

Try kicking up the intensity and get two or three smaller, intense bouts of exercise in your corporate fitness center tomorrow!

Topics: corporate fitness cardio

Corporate Fitness: What Is VO2max?

This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

VO2 max, exercise, endurance, intensity, employee healthYour VO2max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is defined as the maximal capacity for oxygen consumption by the body during maximal exertion. It sounds very scientific, and it is!

The More You Exercise, the Easier It Gets

A lot happens inside our bodies when we exercise, and regular aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise is known to illicit adaptations that make prolonged, endurance-type activities easier. If you work out in the corporate fitness center regularly, chances are you’ve experienced these improvements! Adaptations to exercise are due in part to changes that occur in your muscles (i.e., getting stronger) as well as the changes that occur in the systems responsible for fueling you with energy to perform exercise and daily tasks (they become more efficient). Changes also occur largely because of improvements in the cardiovascular system, which not only results in increased circulation to and within the muscles, but is where VO2max comes into play.

What Does VO2max Mean to You?

Many exercise professionals view VO2max as a good indicator of how physically fit a person is, as the more aerobically fit you are, the higher your VO2max will be. A good exercise program is one that is sustainable (you can stick with it) and attainable (effective in helping you reach your goals). If you are following a well-rounded exercise program and are conscious of incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, it is likely you are working to improve not only your fitness, but also your VO2max.

Topics: corporate fitness fitness corporate fitness centers cardio

How to Lose Weight and Tone Up in the Corporate Fitness Center

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

cardiovascular exercise, corporate wellness, health and fitnessWorking at a corporate fitness center, I get a lot of questions on how to shrink the waistline. You may or may not have heard the phrase “you can’t spot reduce,” and it’s true. For example, performing stomach exercises alone won’t decrease the size of your stomach. There are, however, a couple of different things to consider when wanting to lose weight or tone up.

Cardio Burns Fat

You must do cardio; if you already do cardiovascular exercise four or five days a week, kick up the intensity of your cardio sessions. For example, add an incline while walking or jogging on the treadmill. Increase your resistance level on the bike or elliptical. If you aren’t currently involved in regular cardio exercise, that’s a good place to start. Spiking up your heart rate and oxygen consumption will help to burn fat.

Strength Training Builds Muscle and Bone Strength

Strength training is just as important as cardio. Performing strength training exercises can get your heart rate up, too, along with building muscle and bone strength. This will also help you to burn more calories while at rest. If you aren’t familiar with how to safely perform strength training exercises, schedule an appointment with your corporate fitness center staff.

Planks Strengthen Your Core

My last suggestion would be planks―and a variety of them! Planks help to strengthen your core (abdominals and lower back). I feel they are more effective than abdominal crunches. To perform a basic plank, you are on your elbows and toes. Keep your shoulders above your elbows and push your weight back toward your feet, as opposed to hovering over your shoulders. Start holding it for as long as you can and progressively add seconds onto your time. Ready, set, up!

Topics: corporate fitness weight loss muscle toning cardio

Should Cardio or Weight Training Come First in Corporate Fitness?

This blog was written by Penny Pohlmann, MS. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

cardiovascular exercise, treadmill, corporate wellness, senior fitnessBoth cardiovascular exercise and weight training are important forms of exercise in a balanced, well-rounded workout routine. Cardiovascular exercise is great for keeping the heart and lungs functioning well, whereas weight training is best for building or maintaining muscle, preventing injuries, and improving strength.

If you perform both forms of exercise on the same day, you may have asked yourself which to perform first for the greatest benefit. Well, it depends. Don’t you love that response?

It depends on your exercise goals. If your goal is to improve your 5K race time or you’re training for a specific sport such as soccer, your primary goal is probably to get your cardiovascular system working efficiently for an extended period of time. If this is the case, performing your cardiovascular exercise first when you’re fresh rather than a bit (or a lot) fatigued from weight training ensures you perform the activity with optimal energy.

If your goal is to improve your strength or build a firmer, leaner body, the opposite will be true. You want to train your muscles before they are fatigued from other activities.

Encourage your employees to start making healthy changes, whether cardio or weight training, with a worksite health promotion program. A qualified personal trainer or fitness professional should take not only your fitness goals into consideration, but also your level of skill, to create a program that incorporates strength training and cardiovascular exercise.

Topics: corporate fitness worksite wellness cardio weight training