Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Three Ways to Improve Corporate Fitness Programming on a Small Budget

staff001.jpgSometimes employers go all in on their investment in a corporate fitness center. Thousands of square feet are dedicated to treadmill upon treadmill, thoughtful changing facilities, ample group exercise space, creative equipment solutions, and around-the-clock dedicated fitness staff.

But that’s not the reality for most employers. It’s important to remember that corporate fitness doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can provide programs, services, and (probably most importantly) an environment that’s conducive to movement. So if you’re trying to improve the exercise options you provide onsite for your employees, but you’re on a tight budget, consider these ideas.

1. If you have dedicated staff for an exercise program, invite them to be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades.

Most exercise professionals with a college degree have a background in more than just exercise. It’s common for an exercise science curriculum to fold in public health, nutrition basics, stress resilience, and other health-related disciplines. We work with one client who has a small fitness center and no additional budget for fitness programming, and rather than lock our staff down to the four walls of the fitness center, they are out and about providing healthy lectures, offering stretch breaks at key shift-change intervals, and coordinating extra workplace wellness services like onsite chair massage.

2. Consider group fitness classes.

Sure, dancing to music isn’t for everyone, but group fitness has come a long way. You don’t have to be coordinated or be able to keep the beat to enjoy a great class. And if your office includes meeting space with tables and chairs that can be pushed to the walls, you probably have everything you need to run a class. Instructor costs can be paid for by employees, subsidized by the employer, or paid in full by the employer. Check out our quick read: Three Keys to Adding Group Exercise at Work.

3. Think long and hard about your environment.

How are your employees encouraged to work, and how are your leaders and managers incentivized to run their teams? Are employees expected to sit glued to their screens all day to make a quota? Do your managers have substantial pressure to meet the same quota? These kinds of unwritten cultural norms make it almost impossible for an employee to take a 10-minute walking break. Can that mindset be shifted over time? This article suggests that employers have to start taking a look at creative ways to address employee stress.

What about your physical space? Maybe you can’t have a dedicated space for employee exercise, and even group exercise classes in an unused meeting room seems out of bounds. Perhaps simple signage encouraging the use of stairs instead of elevators would be a starting point to encouraging employees to move more.

Think about incentives for exercise differently. Good, old-fashioned behavioral economics around loss aversion could help you build an inexpensive incentive model for encouraging more frequent exercise in a sedentary workforce.

Don’t let a lack of physical space or dedicated staff derail your brainstorming about ways to inject more opportunities for activity at the office. The options are only limited by your creativity (not your budget).

  Tips for adding exercise


Topics: corporate fitness stress corporate fitness centers fitness programming exercise in the workplace group fitness workplace wellness

Prevent Falls in Your Community with a Strong Balance Training Program

All too often, older adults don’t realize their balance is not what it used to be until after they experience a fall. Unfortunately, falls are dangerous; many of them result in significant injury in the short run. Lasting fear of falling can also negatively impact an individual’s quality of life in the long run. Because falls can be prevented wmoving_seniors-1.jpgith a proactive approach to balance training, we have embarked on a comprehensive fall-prevention model.

While rehabilitation might be a good starting point for residents with severe balance impairments, our fitness center managers take several steps to play an active role in providing balance training long before residents experience a decline in quality of life. 

Transitions with Therapy

A referral service can work two ways. For example, when a resident graduates from therapy services, NIFS fitness staff ensure they are continuing with their balance exercises in the fitness center. This helps residents remain independent while enjoying the lasting effects of their achievements from working with physical therapy. Similarly, when our staff members identify a resident who could benefit from working with therapy, they refer that resident to therapy services on campus to create a seamless transition of care. Read this blog to find out more about how our staff supports a positive fitness center–therapy relationship.

Individual Services in the Fitness Center

Residents with less-significant balance issues benefit from working with our staff to receive an individual exercise program that addresses their unique balance needs. In addition, our staff provides assessments of the residents’ balance abilities, which can be used to more appropriately prescribe exercises and to demonstrate noted improvements over time.

Group Fitness Classes

Most communities offer a group exercise program, but many schedules still lack classes that are dedicated to balance training. While many class formats incorporate balance training, we believe it is essential to offer dedicated balance classes to meet residents’ needs.

Unique Programming

Sometimes individual services in the fitness center get buried among all the activity opportunities at a community, and the group fitness classes as a recurrent series of events don’t always command a fresh look from your residents. That’s why we believe that specialty programming is a significant element in a comprehensive fall-prevention strategy for your senior living community. NIFS Balance Challenge is a great example of such programming.

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The need for effective balance training opportunities for older adults will continue to rise as the large baby boomer population enters retirement. Current residents and prospective residents will appreciate this comprehensive approach in addressing balance issues through therapy services as well as through robust programming options in the fitness center.

Want to find out more about how we provide our clients with well-rounded fall prevention/balance-training programming?

Click below to download our whitepaper.

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Topics: physical therapy balance senior fitness senior living community fall prevention group fitness quality of life

Free Group Fitness Classes Help One Participant Take On Cancer

SDropcho_photoIf you work in fitness, you know that for some members, the only way to engage them in regular exercise is through a group class setting.  Some people love the energy of a group effort, others like that they can blend in, and still other participants like group classes because of the ease of simply following real time instructions from a motivating teacher. 

For Sheila Dropscho, it’s the group atmosphere that keeps her coming back to NIFS-led classes at Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis. She also walks and rides her bike for exercise, but when I talked to her about her experience with the classes she’s been attending for the last several years, the enthusiasm in her voice was palpable and she couldn’t say enough about the positive impact the Indy in Motion classes have had on her life. 

Indy in Motion is a partnership between the Marion County Health Department, Indy Parks, and NIFS.  The group fitness classes, held at a variety of Indy Parks, have been available for years and are offered at no cost to participants.  The formats and locations have evolved over time to meet the interests of the attendees at each site.  The program is a fantastic resource for people across the city to have access to free group fitness classes taught by some of the best instructors in the area.  To get a better idea about classes and formats available through Indy in Motion, click here.  Be sure to call the park to confirm that the information on the site is current.

Sheila learned about the Indy in Motion program through an article in the paper several years ago. When her youngest daughter went off to college, Sheila found herself with more time to commit to her personal health and she decided to give the program a try.  While Broad Ripple Park is her home base, she also takes Indy in Motion classes at Washington Park on the city’s east side. 

Sheila’s favorite class at Broad Ripple is Zumba® on Tuesdays and Thursdays; she tries not to miss it.  Sheila loves being around the other participants and watching their progress, but it’s the instructor, Nicole, who provides exactly the motivation Sheila needs to keep coming back. Nicole’s healthy tips, her intensity with the music, and her genuine concern about the participants are all part of what help Sheila feel great about the exercise and keep her coming back. 

Sheila’s consistency at class hit a snag when she was diagnosed with breast cancer recently.  She progressed through a mastectomy as well as a course of chemotherapy.  And she’s proud to say she is cancer-free.  But she credits her hard work in the group fitness classes and her good health going into the diagnosis for the relative ease with which she handled the challenging cancer treatment so well. 

Sheila said, “People were stunned that I was able to work my four 10 hour days during my chemo.  I don’t know that I would have been able to do that without that foundation.”

After recently undergoing reconstructive surgery and dealing with a complication from that process, her doctor has advised her, for now, to simply walk for exercise.  Sheila has been compliant with the doctor’s orders, but she confided that she’s more than a little bit eager to get back to her Tuesday/Thursday rhythm with Zumba®.

When Sheila’s ready, her class, and her instructor Nicole, will be there to help her get her groove on again.

Ready to bring group fitness classes to your Indianapolis audience?

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Topics: health and wellness testimonials group fitness