Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Keep Motivated to Workout During Those Cold Winter Months


NIFS | Winter Workout

As winter approaches, many of us tend to slack on our workouts. I don’t know about you but on dreary, cold days all I want to do is put on a good movie and lay on the couch. The weather gets colder and there is less daylight available during the winter months, making it difficult to find time to get a workout in. Ever heard of the Winter Blues? Feeling down can contribute to decreased motivation as well. The happy feel-good hormone tends to decrease with the lack of sunlight and warm air.

 When winter starts to approach, I try to find new activities around the city to keep me moving and to give me a little motivation. Now is also a great time to start thinking about weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals. Setting small weekly goals that will lead up to a larger goal typically work best for me. One great way to stay motivated is to sign up for a race or trying a new fitness class. Whether it be a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon, having something to work towards could be just what you need to keep you inspired through the winter. I plan for a race by deciding what an achievable goal time should be; I am my own biggest competitor so this approach works best for me. Another way to keep that motivation would be to try a new group exercise class or fitness trend. There are unique fitness classes that are very efficient ways to burn calories. Who knows, a yoga class or exercise DVD might get you hooked and keep you coming back for more.

[Read more: Don't Wait Until You Feel Motivated to Make Healthy Changes]

One popular fitness trend right now is high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. I really enjoy these quick high intensity workouts because they are easy to fit in during those shorter days of the year. These workouts can be done virtually anywhere and you only need a short amount of time. These classes usually consist of a little competition mixed with an intense cardio session.

There’s no shortage of options for continuing workouts even if you have to move them inside for the winter. So before the winter months hit, I encourage you to find a new fitness class or to set some new goals to keep you motivated this winter season. Don’t let the cold days and holiday treats keep you from your goals.

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Topics: winter blues winter fitness motivation fitness goals fitness routine setting exercise goals goal setting

Boost Your Workout with Motivating Music

NIFS | Group Fitness GroovePop in those earbuds and get moving. Exercise and music go hand-in-hand for many gym-goers. Listening to music is a great way to make your work out more enjoyable. There’s nothing like cranking up an upbeat, energetic, song that adds a little pep to your step. An excellent motivator, music helps you to keep up with the pace of your workout, and inspiring lyrics keep you moving. Those specific beats and lyrics can encourage you work harder and push you to complete your workout. Keeping up with the beat provided by music can prevent you from slacking and help you power through to reach your goals. 


Music can also be a good kind of distraction. It can help distract you from the so called “pain” or “burn” of the workout. The music can help to take your mind off the exercise that is being performed and might even challenge you to complete just “one more” repetition or finish that last mile! Those catchy tunes can make working out more bearable rather than it being quiet and listening to yourself breathe. Listening to music allows you focus more on your workout and definitely makes it a little more fun!

Have you ever had a song come on and instantly you feel your mood improve? Music can elevate your mood and get you excited about working out too. It can give you that extra boost to make you more energetic and it might even get you “in the zone.”  Music can drown out external distractions so you can concentrate on the exercise.  It also might push you to keep moving until the end of the song. Music can put you in a positive mindset providing motivation and making your workout more enjoyable.

Select songs with that perfect beat. Put together a playlist that will keep your muscles pumping and your body moving or check out some of the latest music apps specifically made to jazz up your workout. Or, skip the playlist and check out this list of 5 music apps that you can install for some motivating tunes. Just like your workout, remember to periodically change your playlist. This can make your workout be more challenging and less predictable. The more enjoyable your music is the easier your workout might just be. So, crank up that music (just not too loud) and start moving to the beat of your favorite tunes!

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Topics: workout music music motivation workout motivation playlist fitness goals

How One Resident Walked 100 Miles in One Month


NIFS | Senior Resident

An interview with Ida Lee of Wyndemere Senior Living, Wheaton, Illinois.

In June of 2018, residents at Wyndemere Senior Living in Wheaton, Illinois were challenged to participate in a fitness program called, Exercise Across America. For every mile exercised, residents received 100 miles on distance on a map, towards their favorite location. By month’s end, one resident had blown past the others by walking 109 miles (10,900 map-miles towards her Los Angeles, California destination). Ida Lee walked nearly four miles a day to achieve this goal and according to Ida, June was a “bad” month as she had additional commitments that took away from her exercise time. The closest runner-up accumulated 78 miles. 

Ida Lee, age 79, has always preferred walking for exercise. She began walking longer distances in January 2018, after realizing she had extra time in her day. She also discovered that the Health app in her iPhone would track both her steps and walking distance. Recalling an exercise program that her sister did a few years ago, Ida decided in February 2018, to make walking 10,000 steps her daily goal. 

What are the three biggest benefits you’ve seen since you started walking?

Answer:  It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Walking 10,000 steps takes at least one hour and 40 minutes so it keeps me busy. It also helps stabilize my weight because I have a healthy appetite.

Do you have any tricks or secrets that help you get you going on those rough days?

Answer:  If I am really busy I don’t worry if I don’t meet the goal.  On hot days, I walk early in the morning and late in the evening.  Also, keep your phone in your pocket or in a small purse with a shoulder strap.

What do you do in rainy weather or during the winter?

Answer:  In winter, if the sidewalks are too icy, I walk the halls in our large building. Outside, I wear layers of warm clothes in winter and a raincoat on rainy days. I usually have my two Cocker Spaniels as walking companions so an umbrella is too much bother.

What tips can you recommend to others to get the most out of a walking program?

Answer: Don’t try to walk 10,000 steps all at once. Take several short walks of 30 minutes or less.  I average 100 steps per minute.

What are the biggest challenges you have with trying to get a walk in every day?

Answer:  In January 2018, I began to suffer from episodes of vertigo that lasted from 20 minutes to several hours. Most of the time, I have been able to reach my walking goal on these days.  Days when I’ve scheduled too many sit down meetings are a challenge, also.  Weekends without plans often lead to a “couch potato” problem.

What keeps you motivated to keep on going? Why do you continue to do it?

Answer: I feel so good at the end of the day if I’ve reached my goal. When I add up my total miles for a month and I’ve reached or exceeded 100 miles, I really feel I’ve accomplished something.

Ida plans to continue walking 100 miles per month as long as her body allows. “I think my two artificial knees will last a long time, especially if I keep my weight under control” says Ida.  She hopes to walk a 5K in Waukesha, Wisconsin next year.  “The last time I tried it, I injured my hip because I hadn’t trained before the walk.” Even if Ida forgoes the 5K, she will still be keeping busy.  In addition to walking, each week she attends two chair yoga classes, two balance classes, and occasional aquatic exercise classes.  Wyndemere may have to rename that fitness program Exercise Around the World just to keep up with Ida.

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Topics: senior living walking tips walking starting a walking program motivation active aging fitness routine

Five Reasons to Set a Fitness Goal for Racing

Finish line GettyImages-534921733.jpgIt’s true, signing up for a 5K or a triathlon can be fairly intimidating for a first-timer. The fear of going too slow, finishing last or even not finishing at all can hold someone back from completing their first race. The fact is, very few competitors are attempting to come in first place. Most are just trying to finish! The benefits of racing are countless and most have absolutely nothing to do with how fast you go. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should complete a race:

 

[Read more: 5 Ways to Avoid Injuries While Running]

  1. MOTIVATION: As a fitness professional, I’ve encountered several clients who admit that motivation is the number one reason why they cannot commit to a regular exercise routine. Having a date circled on your calendar marked as “race day” can be one of your biggest motivators. Put some skin in the game by signing up and paying for the race well in advance, and register for a training program to hold you accountable in the weeks leading up to the race. By doing both of these, the likelihood of you sticking with it are much greater.
  2. CAMARADERIE: Spending 10-12 weeks with the same training group is bound to lead you to new running or walking buddies. Whether it’s during a training program or at the start or finish line, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people with at least one common interest.
  3. SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE: Most races donate the registration proceeds to foundations ranging from curing chronic diseases, to disaster relief. You’ll get to conquer your goals with friends while donating to a good cause.
  4. FREE RACE SWAG: Races are getting extremely creative these days. Most races will reward you with a free shirt and medal, but other freebies like hats and water bottles are becoming even more common. Who doesn’t like free stuff right? In additional to free swag, there are yummy treats and beverages at the finish line!
  5. FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: Completing a race can be one of the most exhilarating feelings you’ll experience; crossing that finish line for the first time is something you’ll remember for a very long time. Even if it’s your 100th time crossing the finish line, the rush never gets old.

I don’t believe that anyone can ever grow inside their comfort zone. If you’ve never completed a race, now’s your time to step outside your bubble and make a change. If you’ve completed several 5K’s but a half marathon seems like a daunting task, commit to proving yourself wrong and take the challenge to go 13.1. If you’ve completed a half-marathon or full marathon, step outside that comfort zone and try your hand at triathlon. There’s a world of creative races out there so find your niche, start your training, and reap the benefits.

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Topics: race tips wellness and fitness motivation running reasons to race

4 Ways to Find a Healthy Relationship with Exercise

We all do it. Your friend says to you, “Alright, we have three months until Jamaica! Let’s start exercising!” Both of you are on board to start an exercise regimen and are full throttle for three months straight. You are committed and neither of you have missed a sweat session since you started. You have been eating healthier, feeling great and working towards a goal. Everything is going great and then, vacation sets in.

Bam! Was all that hard work really just for week-long trip to look good in Jamaica? This is unrealistic goal setting and it can create issues with your relationship with exercise. So, how do we get into a better mind-set that exercising isn’t just getting ready for that trip to Jamaica or to have a body like Jessica Biel?

NIFS | Healthy Relationship with Exercise

#1: Change your mentality towards exercise.

Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a release; a release physically and mentally from your crummy day at work or from that test you took and think you totally bombed. Maybe, the workout doesn't have to be all "go hard or go home"; what if it was a simple walk on the treadmill or outside to clear your head? Working out as a means to an end (like prepping for a trip, or a class reunion) creates a lot of self-imposed pressure and it leads to a built in stopping point. The added pressure can also increase your risk for injury if you start out too intensely. Why add that to all of life’s other stress? Finding a positive relationship with exercise may take time, but it will be worth it in the long run.

#2: Find the workout that makes YOU happy.

One of your friends swears by hot yoga, but you have another social circle who only workout at their CrossFit® gym. You try both avenues and totally hate them, but stick with them because, hey, that’s what buddies do, right? WRONG. You need to find what makes you tick. If hot yoga isn’t your thing, don’t do it because it’s your BFF's favorite thing to do. Maybe, you like to just take leisure walk/jogs through the park or you enjoy power lifting. You won’t know until you try. (And this leads me into the next item on the list.)

#3: Get out of your comfort zone.

I know it’s scary, but staying in a comfortable zone doesn’t create change. It also doesn’t help us figure out what we like and it certainly doesn't help us get better. Maybe you can find a buddy to go with you to your first spin class so it isn’t so daunting. Whatever it takes, get out of your comfort zone, try something new, re-evaluate and figure out what works best for you! If you have access to a gym or a corporate fitness center, talk to staff you trust to broaden your perspective on ways to move that might be fun.

#4: Get a handle on YOUR Relationship with Exercise.

We know now that “getting the perfect body” or “getting ripped for vacay” is NOT a healthy relationship with exercise. A healthy relationship with exercise is using it as a tool to relax, to feel well, and/or to use as a life-long hobby. Trust me, you won’t stick with it if you decide three months before Jamaica you want to look like Jennifer Aniston. Your goals need to be attainable and healthy; they also need to be unique to you. 

Exercise shouldn’t be a quick fix to a problem and it shouldn't be complete drudgery each time you strap on your gym shoes. If you hate moving your body, then try another approach.  It should be a life-style choice that you find gratifying and enjoyable.

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Topics: making time to exercise exercising motivation healthy living corporate fitness programming setting exercise goals healthy relationship with exercise

Employees Experience Added Value of Corporate Fitness Centers

members_speak-1.jpgThe benefits of providing an onsite corporate fitness center at the workplace are far-reaching and they may or may not have anything to do with reducing health care costs. For leadership, it’s easy to focus on this tangible measurement and lose sight of other reasons  to support employees in their health and fitness goals.

Learn how one member at a NIFS client location has found value in using her corporate fitness center as she strives to maintain a newly established healthy lifestyle.

Was there an “a-ha” moment or life event that led you to make a positive change for your health?

I’ve known for a number of years that I needed to improve my health, but always had excuses for not doing so. When my granddaughter was born in 2016, I knew I wanted to be around to see her grow up. I also wanted to be able to keep up with her energy so I could be active in her life as she got older. She, and the future grandchildren, have been my inspiration.

What has been a key factor in helping you stick to your new routine? What is your motivation?

Staying motivated is a challenge, so I set a number of small, fun SMART goals that I was determined to achieve. For example, when work sponsored a team to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, I decided to run the 5K race. Our NIFS fitness center staff provided a training program to follow. I finished in the top 10% of my age group. I have signed up for five more races, with the next goal being to win my age group.

[Related Content: Why You Might Be Wrong About Outsourcing Fitness Center Management]

How has the fitness center provided a supportive environment for you to work on your health?

There are a number of benefits of having the fitness center onsite. First, it is convenient. Employees can go before work, at lunchtime, or after work; that flexibility is a huge help. I also like the personal attention that is available to help build a structured exercise program that will achieve specific goals. In our corporate fitness center there's a huge variety of activities available, especially the group fitness classes. You can try something new each week.

I really enjoy the supportive atmosphere of the coaches and my coworkers in the center. They make exercise fun. I also feel that we're lucky to have the center as one of our corporate health benefits. The fact that our leadership supports the existence of the center signals that employee health and fitness is important to our organization.

What would you tell your coworkers who still haven't tapped into the benefits of the corporate fitness center?

I spent a long time feeling like I was too tired to put exercise into my schedule. I also told myself that I just did not have the time. But, now that I am exercising regularly and feeling better, I have more energy. I also am more agile and can do things around the house that I have not been able to do in years. It’s funny that one of my excuses in the past for not exercising was thinking I did not have the time or was too busy. Now that I am exercising and have more energy, I get things done faster. So by exercising, I have more time.

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To read other NIFS "members speak" stories, click here. If your'e looking for a corporate fitness vendor to start improving your employees lives, click here to find out how we support our clients across the US.

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Topics: corporate fitness center onsite fitness center ROI NIFS Mini-Marathon employee health and fitness motivation goals

Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) takes place every day in everyone’s life. It’s up to you, though, to move up the ladder on that model and make a healthy lifestyle change. The TTM is based on six stages. There is another stage that doesn’t appear on the model that people talk about, but we’ll get to that later.

The stages of the TTM in order are the following.

GettyImages-664155982.jpgPrecontemplation

This stage is where someone doesn’t see themselves changing within the next six months. Nothing will motivate the individual to become healthy at this point. This becomes a problem because some of these people are underinformed or not informed of what risk factors they are carrying. These people are just unmotivated and very resistant about talking or doing anything else that will essentially help increase their quality of life.

Contemplation

Contemplation is where individuals are ready to start exercising and realize that they need to make a change in their habits. These people want to take charge of the situation within the next six months because they understand the benefits of healthy living and that they need to decrease their risk factors in order to increase their quality of life. With that said, people start to do some research to figure out the costs involved in becoming healthy. A fair amount of people tend to stay in this stage due to the costs involved. These people are individuals who don’t have a lot of money to spare. So people tend to get stuck and go into what is called chronic contemplation.

Preparation

Preparation is the stage in which people will be ready to start making a change within a month. These people are individuals who have purchased workout equipment, joined a gym, talked to or made an appointment with their physician, and have bought other necessary essentials to get off to a great start. These individuals are very serious about change and take the right steps to be well prepared for it.

Action

The action stage is where people have made several changes to their lifestyle within the last six months that have significantly reduced the risks of disease. This stage is one of the most important stages because six months can determine whether an individual wants to achieve more, or it can be that breaking point in which that person decides to quit altogether. This is known as relapse.

Relapse

Relapse is a stage that anyone could hit. People will stop what they’re trying to achieve because their mindset is that they’re missing what they used to have, and what they’re doing is taking up too much time or is becoming difficult. In this case, exercising got too hard to complete. This usually happens within the first three months.

I myself have seen this occur when something unfortunate happens in someone’s life. These unfortunate events include loss of a job, loss of a loved one, not enough time in the day, exercise is not motivating anymore, and so on. Of course those things make you unmotivated to do anything. I get it, but when quitting anything, there are consequences. When losing a job, you’re out of a job and have no income. With no motivation, you tend to eat more and exercise less. Relapse can also happen after the maintenance stage. Someone might just want to take a break after getting into great shape, and then they’ll slowly go back to where they started.

Maintenance

Maintenance is where people have made a lot of changes in their lifestyle and are working even harder to maintain what they’ve been doing so that they don’t end up relapsing. People in the action stage are far more likely to relapse than someone in maintenance. The maintenance phase can last an estimated six months to five years. What people tend to do within that time is build up more confidence in order to make sure they are consistent with exercise and keeping away from poor habits. So although the action stage is the more likely time for someone to relapse, it’s still important for people to realize that a single craving and action to cater to that craving is more likely to happen at 12 months rather than five years.

Termination

This stage is a good stage in which to be. Termination is where someone is 100 percent into what they are doing and they don’t want to change because of the benefits of what they’re getting out of their choices in life. They are driven and confident individuals who don’t want to go back to what they once had where nothing motivated them (the Precontemplation stage).

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It’s up to you what you want to do with your life, but remember that one decision can change everything. Make your weaknesses strengths, get involved in your community, exercise with a friend or spouse to help you stay motivated, and talk to your doctor, a counselor and a personal trainer to help get you on the right track to a better life. 

Start the New Year right and set some goals and get started!

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Topics: motivation equipment healthy lifestyle change quality of life

Get Kids Interested in Staying Active: Sports and Activities

GettyImages-607485814.jpgChildren come in all shapes and sizes and with many unique interests. Keeping a child active is a good way to instill a love for movement. Once kids lose interest in playgrounds, what’s the next thing you can do to help them with staying active and healthy?

There are many options, such as recreational hiking, skateboarding, tennis, walking a pet, and organized sports. For example, if your child loves the outdoors, visiting a park with unpaved paths can be a great motivation to get everyone in the family moving.

Sports and Competition

Is your kid an athlete, or does he or she enjoy competition? Help them focus on a sport that is fun, yet challenging. Pressuring children into a sport they don’t enjoy could potentially lead to them quitting and not wanting to be involved in other sports or competitive activities. Supporting your child through their exploration of activities can help foster a positive relationship with their competitive interests.

Activities for Kids Who Don’t Like Sports

Team sports aren’t an option for all kids, though, and that’s okay. Less traditional ways of being active can also increase health benefits for your child. Doing volunteer work for an animal shelter by being a dog walker can help your child while helping the shelter and their animals. This will get your child moving, and they won’t even realize they are exercising. Volunteering with an organization that cleans up trash around the community or helps build homes can also be ways to get a child interested in different types of activities that get them moving.

Just getting the opportunity to be active can motivate kids to get involved. If they are having fun, they will have greater interest in doing those sports, activities, or competitions on a regular basis.

 How do you get your kids moving in the winter months? 

Comment below and share with us!

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Topics: kids staying active sports motivation

Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Motivated” To Make Healthy Changes: Part 3

Part 2 of this blog series focused on the importance of scheduling time to exercise and practice healthy eating. This scheduling involves setting aside time not only to exercise but also to prepare healthy meals. I also stressed how important it is to stick to the schedule as often as humanly possible.

But what do you do if you are simply dreading exercise? Or if you are dying to take a nap on Sunday afternoon instead of doing meal prep?

TIP: Write Out the Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking a Healthy Action

Contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of a decision is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique that serves as a great reminder of why you were motivated to make healthy changes in the first place. The following represents an advantage/disadvantage square. In my experience, people who fill these out often decide to make positive, healthy choices. And with practice, you can easily do these in your head!

motivation square.jpg

As you can see, the advantages of exercising before work far outweigh the disadvantages. Sometimes, simple reminders like this are all you need to feel a bit more motivated. And if you happen to have a day where your disadvantages are greater than the advantages, this is a sign that you may need to take the day off to focus on other things (which is okay…it happens to EVERYONE).

The Bottom Line

You have the power to influence your motivation levels, so don’t wait until you feel motivated to make a positive change.  

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Topics: motivation healthy eating goal setting exercising healthy choices

Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Motivated” to Make Healthy Changes: Part 2

ThinkstockPhotos-652753748.jpgIn part 1 of this blog series, I emphasized the following points:

  • It’s natural to feel unmotivated. Many of us are juggling complex family and work lives, making it even harder to find motivation to exercise and eat healthy.
  • Don’t berate yourself for not feeling motivated. This type of negative self-talk can be counterproductive; Saying you are “lazy” or “bad” can decrease motivation.
  • Don’t wait until you feel motivated to make healthy changes. You could be waiting for a very long time.

If lack of motivation is the most common barrier to healthy eating and exercising regularly, then lack of time is a very close second. My next blog emphasizes the importance of having a consistent schedule when it comes to making healthy choices about exercising and eating.

TIP: Make a Schedule That Makes Your Goals a Reality

Someone once told me, “The difference between success and failure is your schedule. You need a schedule that makes your goal a reality.” Orienting your goals around your schedule is key to achieving success, primarily because the more consistently you exercise and eat healthy, the more results you will see. And the more results you see, the easier it will be to stay motivated.

Here are some tips on how you can maximize your schedule.

  • Identify the time of day that you are most consistently able to schedule exercise. This might be 5am before work or during your lunch break. Or perhaps the only extra time you have is while you wait for your kids to finish soccer practice. Regardless of the time, make it a point to schedule exercise on those days and STICK TO IT. Even if you can only fit in 20 minutes of exercise, those 20 minutes are better than no exercise at all.
  • Make time to do meal prep. I think this is THE most important factor when it comes to weight loss. After all, weight loss is achieved in the kitchen, not through exercise. Set aside time to prepare your meals for the week. Pre-preparing meals allows you to control portion sizes and have options readily available for days when you can’t control your schedule (like when your child gets sick or when there is a work-related emergency). It also makes it less likely that you order takeout.
  • Figure out what you are willing to sacrifice. You may need to shuffle your priorities to find time in your schedule to exercise. For example, how much time do you spend watching TV or surfing the internet? According to a recent report by Nielsen, the average American spends 4.5 hours watching live TV (not DVR-recorded shows) per DAY. If you have time to watch TV or surf the internet, you have time to exercise or do meal prep.

The Bottom Line

Create a schedule that will promote your success and stick to it as often as possible.

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Topics: motivation goal setting healthy eating exercising healthy choices