Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Turkey Trot Training

free workout fridayThanksgiving is almost here! That means it’s time to sign up for your local Turkey Trot, Drumstick Dash or your own personal Thanksgiving Day 5K! Studies have proven that your metabolism increases for several hours post-workout, so make a priority to squeeze in some exercise and boost your body’s calorie burning abilities before the big feast. If you do happen to be training for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day, see below for a sample training program that starts on Monday, 11/11.  So today, we want you to go for a brisk walk because you need to pick up the pace on Monday!

Note: This an aggressive running plan, as Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. It is highly recommended that you have done some running prior to starting this program, and that you are comfortable running 1+ miles. If you are a beginner runner, make a goal of finishing the 5K through a combination of walking and running.  You can easily just walk through this schedule to help prepare for your event of choice.

11/11: Run 1 mile

11/13: Run 1.25 miles

11/15: Run 1.5 miles

11/18: Run 1.75 miles

11/20: Run 2 miles

11/22: Run 2.25 miles

11/25: Run 2.5 miles

11/27: Run 0.5-1 mile

11/28: Race day! Run 3.1 miles!

On days in between runs, focus on cross-training, for example weight-lifting or non-impact cardio (elliptical, biking, swimming, etc.) Allow for 1-2 days of rest each week.  Check out past Free Workout Friday videos for cross training options.

Happy turkey trotting and drumstick dashing!

Topics: employee health exercise active aging nifs fitness management fitness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - 10 Minute Abs

free workout fridayDid you know that you can exercise your abs every single day of the week? Normally with strength training, you should wait 48 hours before lifting with those same muscles again—however, since the abdominal muscles are made for endurance by performing jobs like supporting posture and breathing, they can be worked all 7 days of the week! If you are particularly sore after an ab workout, still use your best judgment, and delay working them until the soreness is gone.

Even though it only takes a few minutes to squeeze in a great ab workout, it’s easy to skip that portion of your workout when you are already tired. Below is a 10-minute workout to really target the ab muscles for toning and strength in your corporate fitness center. If you are at a beginner level, shorten the workout by performing 30 seconds of each exercise, for 5 minutes total.

 Perform 1 minute of each exercise:

  1. Warm-up crunches
  2. Reverse crunches
  3. Leg raises
  4. Elbow to knee crunch
  5. Side plank (30 seconds each side)
  6. Bicycle crunch
  7. Russian twist (feet off ground, if able)
  8. Plank w/ alternating knee in to chest
  9. Toe touch crunch
  10. V-sit
Topics: corporate wellness exercise Free Workout Friday core conditioning

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Tabata

free workout fridayWhat is a tabata workout and why should you try it?

Tabata workouts are usually designed with short high intensity cardio exercises along with short rest periods in between. You can also incorporate strength exercises in these workouts. Tabata workouts can help to improve your aerobic and cardiovascular systems. Typically the sessions last 4 minutes and have 8 intervals, but don’t get so caught up on the traditional method because you can mix it up a little and it is just as effective.

Two other very good reasons to try tabata workouts is because it doesn’t take near as much time as traditional cardio sessions and since you are quickly increasing your heart rate you will increase your metabolism and burn more fat. Also, you can design the workout to require
minimal equipment.

Perform each of these intervals below for 20 seconds each and in the order I have them numbered. Since it is only a few seconds be sure to push yourself and give it your all. Ok, now it’s time to give it a try! Good luck!!

High knees in place (1,3)

Pushups (2,4)

Squat hops in place (5,7)

Center plank (6,8)

The only thing this workout requires is a mat for the planks and possibly your knees for the pushups and a stopwatch/timer. You can get more creative with the exercises if you have access to equipment, but if you are traveling or just want to keep it basic at home, this workout is perfect! Last but not least, you need to build your way up to repeating the workout 2-3 times with a short rest period (1 min) in between.

 

 

Topics: exercise Free Workout Friday corporate fitness centers Fitness Center

Active Aging: Workout Technique - Form First

seniors lifting weightsWe have all heard the phrase “quality over quantity,” and most of us have even directed this adage at someone else. But do we really believe it? And if we do, why is every gym and fitness center in the country filled with people sacrificing form for a few additional reps and pounds?

Before you pick up a weight, start a treadmill, or begin whatever mode of training you have planned for the day, think about your technique. “Where should my feet be?” “Should my hips be under my torso or behind it?” and “How am I going to breathe?” should be some of the questions you ask yourself before getting started.

Common problems associated with poor exercise technique include injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Decreased activation of the desired muscle is also common when performing an exercise incorrectly. I see this most often when people are doing exercises too fast and momentum begins to reduce the work the targeted muscle has to do. All of these technique-associated problems have one thing in common: time.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time,” said Jim Rohn. So stop wasting your time recovering from injuries you got only because you were doing exercises incorrectly or because you had to do extra repetitions since poor form caused the targeted muscle not to fatigue as quickly as it should have.

Here are some workout technique tips for making sure you take the time needed to do the exercises properly and safely.

Use Your Resources

There are countless fitness resources around us, some clearly better than others, that you can consult with to ensure that you are doing exercises properly. The first thing I would recommend you do is research the exercise technique on your own so that you have a general idea of what to expect. Then you should consult with the fitness professional in your active aging community, who can then provide you with cues and possibly hands-on instruction.

Proper Breathing During Exercise

Proper breathing can make the most difficult exercise seem easy. Or it can have the exact opposite effect, making a routine move seem like the end of the world. The most common method of breathing while performing resistance training is to inhale during the eccentric contraction (lowering weight) and to exhale during the concentric contractions (lifting weight). This method of breathing is not the only option an exerciser has, so do your research and find out what is the best method for you, but keep in mind that some variations carry risks. The Valsalva maneuver, for example, can be used when resistance training, but this method of breathing, exhaling against a closed airway, can cause dizziness as the blood levels returning to the heart drop.

Correct Body Position

Once you learn the appropriate body position for your desired exercise, pay attention to it as you execute the reps. The best way to do this is by watching yourself in a mirror. If you notice that your form is beginning to deteriorate and you are not able to correct it, stop the exercise and rest or reduce the weight you are working with. As I mentioned earlier, a few extra reps now are not worth the time you could miss as you recover from an injury.

This year’s tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon has sparked a new saying: “If you see something, say something,” reminding us all that we are the first line of defense when it comes to our own as well as our neighbors’ safety. This motto could also be used in the gym when you see someone demonstrating poor form; say something, but you better make sure you know what you are talking about first.

Topics: exercise strength training Fitness Center injury weight training

NIFS Nutrition News: How to burn those calories consumed at the fair

midway at the fairIt only comes around once per year, so why not indulge with dinner at the fair?  Well some of your favorite fair foods might only be consumed once per year, but if you aren’t increasing the amount of exercise to go along with them, the extra weight gained can stick around for longer!  Here are some of the more popular fair food items and how far the average person would need to walk around to burn it off!

Top 5 State Fair Foods

  1. Elephant Ear –Average is 310 calories and 15 grams of fat – 3 miles / Funnel cake(6”) – 276 calories & 14 grams of fat – 3 miles
  2. Lemon shake up  - 254 calories – 2 ½ miles
  3. Deep fried everything (fried snickers – 444 calories & 29 gram so fat)(fried twinkie – 420 calories & 34 grams of fat) (one oreo – 98 calories – 1 mile) – 4.5 miles
  4. Corn on the cob – 250 calories & 12 grams of fat - 2.5 miles
  5. Corn dog - – 200 calories & grams of fat & 10 grams of fat – 2 miles

Ways  to save calories:

  • Think your drink – bottled water or sugar free lemon shake ups
  • Don’t arrive starving so you want to purchase everything in sight.  Have a balanced snack before you head to the fair.
  • Share with friends and family
  • Sit down and eat vs. walking and grazing
  • Wear comfy shoes to maximize your walking

Check out all booths and choose your absolute favorite….plus you will walk more scoping out the best booths! So enjoy your dinner at the fair and then get back to balanced eating tomorrow morning!Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.

Topics: exercise nutrition walking nifs fitness management health and wellness fair food

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Interval Workout

free workout fridayWhen you are exercising on an elliptical or stationary bike, it’s easy to go on auto-pilot and stay at the same easy to intermediate level that your body is used to. Next time you find yourself of one of these machines, try adding in some interval training! Intervals will make the heart rate jump, then allow for periods of recovery where the heart rate will fall, thus providing better conditioning for the cardiovascular system and burning more calories than the slower, steady-state cardio.

With both bikes and ellipticals, there are 2 ways to increase the intensity at which you are working. You can ramp up the resistance, making your legs work harder to push each time, and raising the heart rate that way. Or, you can increase the speed at which you are pedaling, giving an immediate boost to the heart rate. Play around with both separately, always allowing for recovery time after each round of high intensity. Then, when you feel ready, try building up both the resistance and the speed for a real challenge!

When you first begin intervals, there should be more minutes of rest than minutes of hard work. Slowly build up to an even ratio of rest to work, then after a few weeks of interval training, try to have most of the minutes be comprised of higher intensity work with smaller rest periods interspersed.

Try this sample 20 minute interval workout for the bike or elliptical. Use an intensity scale of levels 1-5, with 1 being very light, and 5 being very challenging.

0:00-3:00: Warm-up

3:00-3:30: Increase speed to level 2

3:30-4:00: Recovery

4:00-4:30: Increase speed to level 3

4:30-5:00: Recovery

5:00-5:30: Increase speed to level 4

5:30-6:00: Recovery

6:00-6:30: Increase resistance to level 2

6:30-7:00: Recovery

7:00-7:30: Increase resistance to level 3

7:30-8:00: Recovery

8:00-8:30: Increase resistance to level 4

8:30-10:00: Recovery

10:00-10:30: Increase speed to level 5

10:30-12:00: Recovery

12:00-12:30: Increase resistance to level 5

12:30-14:00: Recovery

14:00-14:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 4

14:30-16:00: Recovery

16:00-16:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 4

16:30-18:00: Recovery

18:00-18:30: Increase both speed and resistance to level 5

18:30-20:00: Cool-down

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Topics: employee health exercise nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday interval workout

Corporate Wellness: Exercising Outdoors in the Heat of July

man swimmingIt's the Fourth of July and many of you are probably gearing up to enjoy the outdoors at family gatherings and pool parties.  Start your day off right with a workout.  During the summer months, exercise is seen as a daunting task by many, however it can be enjoyable if you follow these suggestions for exercising in warm weather. 

It is important for individuals of all exercise levels to take it easy when exercising in the heat.  Start off slow allowing the body to adapt to the heat.  Length and intensity of your workouts should increase gradually in order to avoid heat related illnesses.  Try completing your workouts in the morning or evening when the temperature is cooler.  When possible, find an area with plenty of shade to help keep your body cool on a hot summer day. 

Drinking adequate amounts of fluid while exercising will help keep your body temperature regulated.  Steer clear of drinks containing alcohol and caffeine before, during, and after your workouts.  When exercising outdoors for longer than one hour, rehydrate with sports drinks in order to replace electrolytes lost through sweat.

Proper attire is key to staying cool in warm weather.  Loose fitting, light-weight clothing allows your body to breath and stay cooler, longer.  Dark colors absorb heat, keep cool with light colored clothes.  In addition to protecting your body temperature, protect your skin as well by applying a high SPF sports sunscreen a minimum of 30 minutes before sun exposure. 

Hot, humid weather puts added stress on the body, be prepared with a back up plan.  For example, take your workout to the pool.  Depending on gender, height, and weight, swimming laps can burn more than 500 calories per hour.  Plus, what is more refreshing than jumping in a pool on a hot and humid summer day?!

 

Topics: corporate wellness exercise nifs fitness management health and wellness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Elliptical Routine

free workout fridayAre you one of those people that only use the elliptical machine when told to lie off of exercise due to a lower body injury? Even though most studies have found that the treadmill may burn a few more calories, it’s still important to mix up your workouts. If you are a runner I’m sure you have heard about the importance of cross training your muscles to prevent injuries. The elliptical is a good way to cross train and can be just as challenging!

The elliptical mocks a running motion but does not have a high impact on the joints and spine. Most ellipticals are now made with a movable upper body too, so you get the upper and lower body moving together. I prefer the ones with the adjustable incline too, but not all come with that option. Moving forward and backward helps to target different muscles, and prevent boredom.

Have fun with the elliptical and try this workout! I have you playing around with it enough that time should fly by!!

Forward on the elliptical

  • 2 minutes – resistance level 4
  • 3 minutes – level 5 (if ramp can be adjusted, take it all the way down – similar to cross country skiing)
  • 3 minutes – level 8
  • 2 minutes – level 5 (if possible adjust the incline all the way up – similar to climbing stairs)
  • 3 minutes – level 10
  • 2 minutes – level 12

Backward on the elliptical

  • 3 minutes – level 8 (if possible adjust the incline at the half way mark)
  • 3 minutes – level 10 (if possible adjust the incline all the way down)
  • 2 minutes – level 12
  • 5 minutes – level 6 (if possible raise the incline all the way up)
  • 2 minutes – level 10

 

 

 

Topics: corporate wellness employee health exercise nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday elliptical training

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Cardio Circuit

free workout fridayCardiovascular exercise…..people either love it or hate it! I’m sure by now you’ve heard that cardio alone is not the answer to reaching your fitness goals. It is important to add a strength and flexibility component too. Although, cardio and physical activity in general have many health benefits, but they have even more when you “mix it up”!

Changing up your activities can help to get you over that plateau, improve your mood, prevent boredom, fight against high blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase your energy levels. You don’t always need to be on a cardio machine for an extended period of time to get a good cardio workout.

Try some of these cardio exercises in short intervals to get a great 30 minute workout, rest for about 10 seconds in between if need be. Check out the demonstration video links for each set and get to your corporate wellness center to try them out.

Set 1:

  • Squat Jacks – 30 seconds
  • Lateral Squat Hops – 30 seconds
  • Plank Hop Overs – 30 seconds
  • Traveling Burpies – 1 minute
  •  Rest – 1 minute

Set 2:

  • Hop Throughs – 30 seconds
  • Skater Lunges – 1 minute
  • Bottom Down Hops – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 1 minute

Set 3:

  • Twist Box Jumps – 30 seconds each side
  • Gliding Discs Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds
  • Gliding Discs Floor Jacks – 30 seconds
  • Repeat (work your way up to repeating 2 – 3 times for added intensity)

*Don’t have access to gliding discs? Use paper plates or towels.

Topics: corporate wellness employee health exercise nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday fitness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Sprint Workout

free workout fridayI woke up one morning and my obliques were really sore and tender to the touch. I couldn’t figure it out because I hadn’t taught or taken a core class the day before at my corporate wellness site. Then it hit me that the only thing different I had done was sprints. I hadn’t done sprints since track practice, which was a long time ago, but I had no idea how much I use my core! I loved the feeling of my obliques being that sore, so I decided to start incorporating more sprints into my workouts.

Don’t consider yourself a sprinter? That’s ok, I’m not either! Athletes may laugh at my speed but for me it’s a “sprint”. I push myself to run as fast as I can for short periods of time. First, let’s talk about form. Use your arms and core to help pick up the speed. Control your arms and keep them tucked close to your body, elbows at 90 degree angles. Keep your toes straight and lift your knees. Be sure to keep your head/eyes up and slightly lean your upper body forward. The faster you pump your arms, the faster your legs will go! Add some variety to your life and try this sprint workout. 

  • Warm up with a slow jog for 3-5 minutes
  • Pick it up for a faster run (75%) for 1 minute
  • Sprint (100%) for 45 seconds
  • Jog (60%) for 2 minutes
  • Sprint (100%) for 1 minute
  • Go back & forth with the jog for 2 minutes and sprint for 45 seconds or 1 minute at a time for 20-30 minutes.
  • You can also take breaks to add some pushups or planks in for 1 minute intervals.

This can be done anywhere….treadmill, in your neighborhood, on an actual track, or anywhere else that you have an open space and is a safe environment.

 

Topics: corporate wellness employee health exercise exercise at home Free Workout Friday