Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Senior Wellness: Tai Chi Helps Fight Depression in Seniors

This blog was written by Samantha Whiteside. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

senior fitness, tai chi, exercise, retirement communitiesWith the elderly population only increasing, many senior living fitness centers are looking outside the box for ways to keep their residents moving and their spirits high. Tai chi could be part of the answer.

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that is practiced for health benefits. It has long been known to reduce stress, but researchers at UCLA recently found that the ancient martial art, in conjunction with a prescribed medication, can decrease depression in seniors.

Over a four-week period, 112 seniors aged 60 or older with major depression were given Lexapro. From those studied, 73 who showed only partial gains in their battle with depression were additionally prescribed 10 weeks of tai chi classes or health education classes for two hours per week.

Although both groups showed a decrease in depression, the group participating in tai chi displayed the greatest reduction. An additional 14 percent, compared to those not partaking in tai chi, were actually placed into a “remission” category. Thus, UCLA’s study shows that mind-body exercise can fight depression in older adults.

What ailments can exercise help your senior wellness program clients overcome?

Topics: group exercise senior wellness programs senior fitness management

2011 Group Exercise Trends for Corporate Fitness Programs

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

Why have group exercise classes remained popular since their introduction in the '80s? I don’t think it’s the leg warmers and leotards, but I could be wrong. Perhaps it is the motivation and social interaction that come with exercising with a group. Or it could be the time-efficient solution in our time-stressed culture.

Whatever it is that continues to draw people to participate in group exercise classes, this area of the fitness and exercise world goes through trends and fads much like other areas in life. Here are some trends you can expect to see in 2011.


This Latin-inspired dance class is exploding right now. The Zumba motto, which is “Ditch the Workout; Join the Fun,” is a perfect way to describe how its participants feel about the class. “It’s so fun you forget you’re working out,” one of my members said to me. I think the bass-thumping music has something to do with it, too.

Boot Camp

You guessed it: This military-style class attracts both men and women for the no-frills approach to working out. Boot camp groups have been growing in popularity for the last several years, and they are still on the rise in 2011. Instructors lead their recruits through pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, and sprints before the sun rises.

Early mornings aren’t for you? Because of their popularity, health clubs and gyms are offering many indoor boot camps at all times of the day.

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This slow paced, gentle exercise class known for its stress-relieving style of mind and body exercise is especially popular in corporate fitness centers. In addition to the traditional style of yoga, called hatha yoga, look for other forms to emerge in 2011, like power yoga and hot or bikram yoga

Group exercise class offerings can be a key factor in the success of a corporate fitness center. If you don’t already offer group exercise classes in your wellness center, they may be the best motivation to get your employees to get on board with exercise.

Topics: corporate fitness program exercise group exercise muscle toning