Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

P90X: Using Muscle Confusion in Corporate Fitness Programs

Some will argue that muscle confusion is no good for building muscle mass. But I have to admit, the P90X workouts are no joke! I would like to consider myself somewhat in shape, but when I did the videos I was extremely sore. After doing the biceps video, I Woman PushUpscouldn’t straighten my arms all the way for two days. I liked the videos so much, I’m going to put a copy in my corporate fitness center for employees to use on their lunch breaks.

Mix It Up in Corporate Fitness Programs

I feel that mixing up your workouts and adding variety will help increase strength, endurance, speed, and agility. You increase in all of those areas by keeping your muscles guessing and challenged. After years of always running and lifting the same weight and exercises, I finally discovered it is okay to not have a routine. This might seem difficult to those of you who hate change, but the results are worth it.

Now I change up all my workouts, especially in the classes I teach at the onsite corporate fitness facility. This helps the employees who won’t change their workouts on their own. As a result, our bodies can handle more basic daily movements (unloading the groceries, cleaning out the garage, and so on) and we are stronger for those not-so-graceful falls.

P90X Is Not for Beginners

In my opinion, P90X is not for beginners. Like I said, I work out on a regular basis and teach at a corporate facility, and for two days I couldn’t wash my hair because I couldn’t get my arms up that high. So, please take it slow and do only half the video at first if you are a true beginner or if it’s been years since you have worked out.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program muscle toning

Overweight Employees: Why Is Weight Loss Harder for Women?

Woman on ScaleWhy do women have a more difficult time losing weight than men? We all know that women are different from men in several ways, but it just doesn’t seem fair. It’s complicated, but it has to do with women’s physiology, brain chemistry, hormones, and other issues.

In corporate fitness management, I work with all types of people. I have to admit, the men I design programs for end up having more success stories than the women. Here are some reasons behind the difference:

  • Women have 20 percent more fat and larger fat cells to help support the possibility of pregnancy. It’s not that pregnancy makes you fat, because I have seen some in-shape women around the corporate fitness center who have had children. But it can make it harder to lose weight.
  • Most women tend to shy away from strength training. Strength training helps increase the amount of lean body mass you have, which in turn speeds up your metabolism. This helps you burn more calories overall.
  • Women stress more than men, which causes them to not sleep as well. Sleep and nutrition go hand in hand; if you don’t sleep well, you tend to eat worse throughout the day. You will also feel more stressed because you didn’t sleep well. It's a vicious cycle that we need to stop! Most corporate wellness centers offer a stress resilience program that you should look into.

So, grab a coworker, neighbor, friend, or your spouse and start working a little harder on your physical fitness. Just because we are women doesn’t mean we can’t be healthy and in great shape!

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program overweight employees nutrition

Three Ways to Create Worksite Fitness Opportunities with TRX

TRX is billed as "the original bodyweight Suspension Training system consisting of 12 feet of nylon-webbed straps, handles, and various anchors that can be attached to any sturdy weight-bearing base." Here are some ideas for using it in your corporate fitness program.

  1. TRX adds a new and fun way to take workouts to the next level. At my corporate fitness center, we just bought a TRX for our members, and it’s created quite a buzz both for Man PullUp resized 600members and my staff. In fact, the first time I ever used it I couldn’t walk very well the next day due to muscle soreness. I had worked my muscles in a new way and it was a great feeling (at least to me!).
  2. TRX doesn’t take up much space. It can be placed around a secure post or pole, or you can purchase door anchors for the unit. You can put it up and take it down easily. You really only need enough space to complete the exercises. If you have available meeting room space or a storage closet, the TRX is a great way to convert that space into a worksite fitness center.
  3. TRX is great for cardio and strength. For example, you can do a one-leg burpee followed by a pushup, and then go into a knee tuck for an abdominal exercise. These unique upper- and lower-body exercises will help keep your body from reaching a plateau.
Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program worksite wellness exercise at home

Group Exercise Programs Can Jump-Start Worksite Fitness

Richard Simmons is on to something (he has been for years). Not only are his outfits shocking enough to make people watch him work out, but he has also grasped the value of camaraderie and support when it comes to exercise. Case in point: His website offers a “Clubhouse” where members can become a part of an “interactive health and fitness family.” Along with recipes and daily motivation comes the support of others who are trying to get healthy and stay positive.

Use Camaraderie in Your Corporate Fitness Program

Online motivatidescribe the imageon and support is a great tool, but getting support from people we can’t see doesn’t work for all of us. Worksite wellness programs and corporate fitness centers can offer the same benefit just by having an available facility for members.

All It Takes Is a Few DVDs and a Place to Work Out

Before you see big dollar signs flash before your eyes, consider the value of a few good DVDs and the group fitness groupies in your workforce.

From my experience as a corporate fitness professional, videos are a great way to get through your workouts while forming relationships at the same time. I hardly ever see anyone going into our aerobics room to do a video on their own. Instead, it’s always a herd of people following the one holding the video of the day.

By the time I see them, they have already communicated through e-mail chains, getting a count of who will be there and who won’t. After all, exercise is more fun when there is someone there to endure the challenge with you, and its much easier to bounce back from a couple of days off when there is someone in the group that can relate and pick you back up!

What can you do to build a DVD-driven group exercise program at your worksite?

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program motivation

Three Tips for Keeping Worksite Wellness Resolutions

Your employees will soon be considering their New Year’s resolutions. And there’s a good chance that, shortly after they make those resolutions, they’ll break them. The failure rate for resolutions—75% or higher, according to a Wall Street Journal report—is startling.

Don’t miss this chance to maximize the New Year as an avenue toward a healthy workforce. Consider the following tips to create easy healthful opportunities for your employees:

  1. Create ways for your employees to exercise. Bring group exercise onsite. Make a worksite fitness center out of unused meeting-room space. Establish a walking program or partner with a local commercial fitness center for reduced-rate memberships.
  2. Get creative with signage at work. Fran Melmed of Free Range Communications offers an intriguing blog on ways to maximize signage at work to help employees make better choices. My favorite idea is to post notes on vending machines indicating how many minutes on a treadmill will be required to burn off the choice candy bar that costs more than $1.describe the image
  3. Encourage healthy food choices. Speaking of food, a study just came out indicating that when people use cash to pay for food, they tend to make healthier choices. Apparently those in the study were less likely to make impulse buys on unhealthy foods when they were paying cash for their groceries. Perhaps worksite cafeterias should initiate a cash-only payment policy.

How will your worksite leverage New Year’s resolutions to create a healthier workforce?

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program healthy workforce nutrition worksite wellness

Long-term Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs

describe the imageWith money being tight in just about every organization these days, companies are looking to cut costs any way they can. At first glance, adding corporate health and wellness programs doesn’t seem like a very cost-effective move, especially if you're looking at building a corporate fitness center complete with an onsite fitness center. Upon closer examination, though, it’s clear that the benefits of worksite health promotion programs far outweigh the initial start-up costs of implementing them.

A recent study at the University of Michigan showed just how much a company can save over the long term by focusing on worksite wellness. The corporate wellness program of a large utility company was studied over a period of 9 years. The cost over that time period was rather large at $7.3 million, but it was found that the same “expensive” program saved the company $12.1 million over the long haul, for an overall savings of $4.8 million.

This study is believed to have found the true cost of implementing worksite health promotion programs because both the direct and indirect costs were measured. It may be a tough decision for the leaders of an organization to make because of the initial and ongoing costs of offering corporate wellness programs, such as staffing corporate fitness centers, but there seems to be a high return on the investment.

We all know the benefits of regular exercise and seeking to live a healthier life. Those who strive to live in this manner are a welcome relief to many employers. For those who need a little extra motivation, though (or even for those who don’t but like the convenience of onsite wellness opportunities), investigating how your company might be able to move forward with a corporate wellness program is a win-win situation.

Your employees are your most valuable asset. What are you doing to help invest in and protect them and thus protect your company's bottom line?

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness program cost conscious business fitness solutions

ConferenceBike: A Way to Boost Worksite Wellness During Meetings?

Ever wish that your workplace was a little more relaxed and lighthearted? When working in a larger corporation many employees spend several hours of their day seated around a table discussing ideas, brainstorming, and solving problems.

describe the imageI wonder what would happen if these sit-down meetings were transformed into moving meetings, on a ConferenceBike. These bikes seat seven people, allowing six participants to pedal as one person steers. It’s like turning a corporate meeting into corporate fitness!

Now I will admit they are a little funny looking and the price is a little steep for just a unique meeting place and a way to increase employee health. But it may have the potential to shorten meeting times, increase workplace productivity, improve employee morale, and develop a new type of worksite fitness.

Even if you know your company won’t buy into this moving meeting idea, just take a look at the ConferenceBike website for a stress-relieving laugh or a way to get your creative juices flowing. It worked for me!   

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program business fitness solutions productivity

Choose a Corporate Fitness Program Over Exercising in High Humidity

Protect Employees from Dangers of HumidityIf you don't exercise on a regular basis, a hot and humid summer day is not the time to start. Don’t get me wrong; I think you should start exercising as soon as you have the motivation. But maybe you should do it inside if it’s extremely humid outside. Exercising in the humidity intensifies everything and can also be dangerous.

Humidity's Effects on Your Body

You need to be careful because if your body is not used to exercise, the humidity can put you at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Your body produces heat during exercise which, combined with the heat outside, can inable your body to cool itself down.

I have experienced humidity first hand living in Indiana all my life. I run outside a lot. Just when I think I’m improving with speed or distance, I go out and run on a humid day and that puts me back in my place. This past summer it was extremely hard for me to run outside. Each try was a struggle, which took away my motivation.

I spent a week in South Carolina over the summer and if I didn’t get up to run by 8 am, I couldn’t because of the humidity. Humidity breaks down your body, causes difficulty with breathing and makes you sweat profusely. That is why it’s important to drink plenty of water prior to, during, and after your exercise.

Consider Your Worksite Health Options on Humid Days

Your worksite exercise staff should have a temperature chart to determine the degree of danger for outdoor exercise. If it’s dangerously hot, check out your worksite health options. Take it inside on the elliptical or treadmill at your onsite fitness center or even in your living room with a DVD. Check with your corporate fitness center staff for other indoor options. Get a schedule of the classes they offer or new equipment that will keep you safe and out of the heat and humidity.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program exercise at home

Functional Capacity: Should You Add It To Your Exercise Program?

When most people begin an exercise routine, the primary goal is often weight loss. Getting rid of excess weight can benefit the body in numerous ways. Another goal that can benefit the body as well but is often overlooked is improving functional capacity. functional capacity and exercise

Working out to improve functional capacity, put simply, is when one strives to exercise in a way that will improve their ability to perform their activities of daily living. These activities of daily living vary from person to person and from age group to age group, but the goal is the same: To work out in the most efficient way so that the results transfer directly to how you live your life. As fitness evolves, this goal is becoming more and more commonplace, especially in retirement home fitness centers and corporate health and wellness.

Why Traditional Workouts Can Be Ineffective

While playing basketball during my free time in college, I learned the hard way that what may appear to be an effective workout may not necessarily be so. I had no problem running three or four miles at a time on a treadmill and thought that would help improve my on-court stamina. Once I began to better understand exercise science, though, I soon realized that even though I ran around the same mileage in a game, it was a very different demand in-game than what I was training for on a treadmill.

This same problem I ran into years ago can still be seen at any gym across America at any time. We often train our bodies in a way in which they don’t function in real life, simply because we haven’t questioned “common practice.” And as a result, our bodies aren’t functioning at their highest capacity.

Next: How corporate fitness programs and senior fitness management are using functional capacity training.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program worksite wellness muscle toning senior center solutions

Corporate Fitness Programs: Improving Functional Capacity Every Day

Functional capacity and your jobIn previous posts, I have talked about functional capacity and how corporate fitness programs and senior fitness classes are using this concept to improve workouts and make them more beneficial to everyday life.

But what about the average person? How can they improve their functional capacity? Should they even seek to? Everyone, whether young or simply young at heart, can and should strive to improve their functional capacity.

Start By Evaluating Your Own Life.

What types of movements do you typically utilize? What does your day consist of? From here, seek out someone who can help you design an exercise program to help you improve directly on the movements and muscles you most frequently use in your day:

  • If you are on your feet a lot and on the move, starting a running or walking program can help improve your endurance, making your job that much easier.
  • If you are glued to a chair the majority of your day, you may find it beneficial to work on the strength of the muscles in your upper back, neck, and shoulders to ward off any pain and changes in posture that may be lingering.
  • If you are a recreational athlete, utilizing a program that will help you improve in a way that directly benefits your sport skills can be an exciting challenge. Fitness has evolved, and gone are the days of sitting down and doing bicep curls and triceps kickbacks every workout.

Join the movement and strive to get on your feet more, move, and train your body in the way in which it works every day. The improvements you’ll experience in both your health and your performance in everyday activities will be well worth it.

Topics: exercise at work employee health corporate fitness program muscle toning exercise at home senior center solutions productivity