Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Making healthy goals to create healthy habits

GettyImages-1256537538Have you wanted to create a healthier lifestyle, but don’t quite know how to get there? Maybe you have tried before, but haven’t been able to stick to your goals? Or life has thrown you a curveball (hello COVID-19 lockdowns) and you got knocked off track. It can be hard to keep yourself motivated to make good decisions every single day. Instead of relying on self-discipline to make these changes, studies have found that taking those healthy goals and turning them into habits might be the most efficient way to enact the changes you want to see! Do you have any habits you want to add to your routine?

  • First things first, start slowly! No matter how good your goal is, no matter how much you want to achieve it, working slowly helps ensure your new habit will stick. All behavior change comes with its highs and lows but working slowly helps keep you from losing your focus when things get hard. Embrace each level of success when developing a new healthy habit!
  • Be sure your goal is clearly defined. Did you lose your exercise routine during the COVID-19 pandemic and now want to exercise more? Exercising more is a vague goal. You’re more likely to make progress towards your goal if you have a clear goal post. Think about how often and what kind of exercising you want to do.
  • Break goals into smaller, more actionable steps. Creating a new habit can be intimidating. See if there is way to reduce your goal into smaller pieces. Maybe exercising more means you need to start with staying hydrated. Start carrying a water bottle around with you, so you’re reminded to drink water throughout the day. I like to make a pitcher of fruit infused water and leave it in my fridge, so I always have a refreshing drink at hand! As you adjust to these new, small habits, you can move on to the next step towards your goal.
  • Try to make it easy for yourself! Decrease the barriers that slow you down, so good habits can become automatic. Do you find it hard to get up and go to a morning exercise class? Try lying out your workout clothes before you go to sleep. When you wake up, you know you’ve already committed to going to your exercise class, so it’s easier to get up and go.
  • Give yourself cues to remind you of your new healthy behavior. Are you trying to add lateral exercises to your daily routine? Habit stacking is a great way to incorporate new behaviors. If you make coffee every morning, you can stand at the counter and take lateral steps back and forth while your coffee brews. That way you are working towards your larger goal of exercising more without even having to think about it.
  • Get a friend on it with you. Having a partner to help encourage you to reach your goals can help them become that much easier to reach.

New habits are hard to form; that’s a part of life. Keep going and set yourself up for success. Healthy behaviors don’t have to be about will power. Take the effort out of healthy living and make healthy lifestyle decisions into habits. What new healthy choices are you working towards making a habit?

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Topics: goal setting healthy habits healthy aging

Nutrition and Exercise Are the Keys to Healthy Aging

GettyImages-482817556 (1)The more we age, the less we move, and the more we start to take our health for granted, especially if we have been “healthy” for most of our lives. We often hear about the need to exercise more as we get older, but what about the nutrition aspect? Eating healthy foods is just as important as exercising. There are some good practices and tricks to maintaining a healthy diet and exercising plan as we age.

Why Healthy Eating Is Important

The first thing you must understand is why it is so important to eat healthier as you age. The number-one benefit is lowering risk of having chronic diseases such as cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, and bone disorders. Exercising and healthy eating work together, especially when talking about weight management.

Everyone Is Different

Individuality is a key component, and it’s very touchy when talking about exercise and the nutrition that goes with that because everyone responds to certain foods and exercise differently. Talking to a medical professional about a healthy weight based on age is a good starting point.

Choosing the Right Foods

The best and worst part of nutrition is deciding what foods to eat and which ones you will need to avoid from now on. The more we age, the more our plates should look like a salad bowl rather than an egg carton. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk, seafood, and lean meats are all good food sources to consider when taking a better approach to healthy eating. Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar, salt, and butter, and fewer nutrients.

Portion Control

Before thinking about a healthy exercise plan, understand that you do not need to eat as much as you did when you were younger. Portion control is very real and can be the deciding factor when it comes to gaining or losing weight. Tips for avoiding overeating include

  • Don’t let yourself be distracted by entertainment and lose track of how much you’re eating.
  • Read about the nutritional facts on food labels.
  • Once you are full, stop eating.
  • Avoid going out to eat because restaurants give more food than they should.
  • Try to cook meals at home that look like a salad bowl.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge before you make plates.

Evaluate Your Physical Activity Needs and Find an Activity You Like

Aging happens every day, so take a step back and evaluate what needs your body has when it comes to physical activity. The first step of being active is talking to a physician about precautions you should take, especially if it has been a while since your last physical activity session. Aerobic endurance, resistance training, and balance should be the focus when it comes to being active and aging. The ACSM guidelines for adults and aerobic endurance is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity. Older adults should strive for at least 2 days of strengthening their muscles, and they should practice improvements on balance at least 3 days a week.

Physical activity does not have to be in a fitness center; finding something to enjoy is the key, such as corn toss, pickleball, shuffleboard, water aerobics, Tai Chi, yoga, or pool volleyball. Of course a balance class also helps meet goals for active older adults who are driven to exercise.

Aging can be challenging and unpredictable, but with both healthy eating and exercise, it can be easier and more fun.

Click below for our free download on the benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach.

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Topics: nutrition weight management healthy eating exercise and aging healthy aging

Dance Your Way to Healthy Aging

NIFS | Senior dancing

Stay active as you age by putting on your dancing shoes! Fred Astaire said “Dancing is a sweat job!” But you don’t have to break a sweat to obtain the benefits of dancing; they have been proven to be unsurpassable. Dancing can be a fun for your residents, it can add a social element to your community, and it's a really good way to keep exercise exciting!

 

Teaching line dancing to seniors has allowed me the opportunity to see firsthand how this exercise provides healthy benefits for the mind as well as the body. Any form of dance would suffice in obtaining these wellness benefits, but if you’re worried that you need a partner, know that line dancing definitely doesn’t require one.


Fitness Benefits of Dancing

Here is a list of some healthy reasons to dance your way to fitness:

  • Improved cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility.
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood sugar.
  • Coordination improves as you work through the different movements.
  • Lung capacity can increase.
  • Bone strength can increase; bone loss can be stopped or slowed down.
  • Assists with weight control—half an hour of continuous line dancing can burn an average of 300 calories.
  • The social aspects of line dancing are obvious. Your sense of well-being and the camaraderie you have with the other dancers is wonderful for your health.

In addition to the above, did you know that dancing is an excellent brain exercise? It integrates several brain functions at once, increasing connectivity. As people age, maintaining memory and continuing to challenge intelligence is a real priority. What better way than to dance? Dancing requires memorizing steps, and that provides mental challenges that are crucial for brain health. Consider the fact that to execute a dance you need to remember the specific steps that flow in a sequence, and the brain has to inform the body how to move in a timely manner.

Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to the brain, but the social aspect of the activity leads to less stress, depression, and loneliness, which can also cause memory issues.

What Dancing Can Do for Your Balance

Dancing is also all about balance. Dancing consists of changing up the steps, arm patterns, formations, speed, and rhythm. All of these factors play a significant role in maintaining balance. Just envision doing the grapevine movement, where you must maintain balance as one leg crosses behind the other all while in motion.

Read our blog [Balance Programs: Are you meeting your residents needs?]

Not to mention that when you are dancing you are also dual-tasking. Dual-tasking has shown to improve gait and balance because everyday life involves doing one or more things simultaneously (walking and talking, or moving forward and looking to the side as examples). Therefore, when you’re moving your feet one way and arms or head the other in a dance routine, you are dual-tasking. Also don’t forget the fact that you’re having to think which steps come next.

Try the Grapevine Movement

Want to get started? Here’s the simple grapevine movement. Safety always comes first. Designate a place where you can reach to hold on if necessary, and modify your movements if crossing one foot behind the other is too challenging.

A grapevine is a series of steps in one direction, stepping to the side. Count 1, 2, 3, 4 to the beat of the music and do the following:

  • Step to the right with the right foot.
  • Cross the left foot behind the right foot. (You can modify by just slightly stepping back and not crossing entirely.)
  • Step right with the right foot, uncrossing your feet.
  • Close your feet together.
  • Repeat stepping to the left with your left foot as well.

See how NIFS Premier Balance Redefined Programming enhances resident wellbeing. Download our Media Kit below.

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Topics: weight loss bone density brain health depression flexibility balance training for seniors improving senior fitness dancing healthy aging