Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Step Your Way Through July to Prove YOU Move with NIFS

July Prove You MoveThis month our corporate members are encouraged to pick a goal of 5,000 or 10,000 steps per day to kick of July’s Prove YOU Move Fitness Challenge. Some people cringe at the thought of 10,000 steps per day, but it isn’t just intentional exercise. Have you ever considered how many steps you actually take in a given day? How often are you moving throughout the office or your house? You might actually surprise yourself. Most phones have a Health App, or you can add a step tracker to your smart phone. If you keep your phone on your body throughout the day, it will calculate your movement and track your steps. As you start digging into your phone, don’t get down on yourself when you discover how little you possibly move, remember your phone must be on your body throughout the day to get the best estimate.

Increasing your daily step count and simply moving more by walking has many health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at why you should Prove YOU Move this month.

  • Heart Health: Moving more of course improves heart health, but did you know it can decrease your risk of heart disease by 20%?
  • No Gym Required: Moving your body by walking is FREE! No gym membership required. Step outside and go!
  • Burn Calories: Many factors come into play like walking pace, distance, and your weight, but moving your body burns calories more than binge watching your favorite shows.
  • Boost Your Mood: Stepping outside and taking in your surroundings helps get your mind off any negative thoughts or situations. Decrease stress in your day by walking.
  • Tone Muscles: Walking is a great way to increase muscle tone. Choose a pace that makes your heart rate increase. Use your arms as you walk and get the most out of those steps. As you complete your walk, you may find you enjoy the lingering tingle in your muscles.
  • Increase Energy: Walking helps increase oxygen flow in your body which helps increase cortisol and epinephrine levels that increase energy. You may not need so much coffee after all.
  • Be Social: How often do you cross paths with a neighbor when out for a walk after dinner or a stranger when walking through the office. A simple hello and smile can not only boost your mood, but make your day or someone else’s simply by being kind.

How much should you move?

A general rule of thumb is 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults; that is 30 minutes a day! There are about 2,000 steps in a mile, so if you can squeeze in 1.5 miles in 30 minutes you are almost to that 5,000 steps a day goal! Keep in mind that is only considering intentional movement. Here are other ways to increase steps throughout the day.

  • Instead of scrolling social media during your lunch break, go for a walk after you eat. This can also help aid in digestion.
  • Schedule that meeting as a walking meeting. Boost your creativity with your team by taking the meeting on foot.
  • Park further away. Rather than taking that closer spot, park further away or higher up in the parking garage.
  • No elevator needed, take the stairs!
  • Kids have practice? Just say no to bleacher butt, walk around the field.

Eager to see where you stand in the daily step count? Head over to our NIFS Fitness Management Facebook Page and join us by sharing your step goal this month. We’d love to see how you move more this July! Tag us using @NIFSFitnessManagement and #NIFSProveYOUMove!

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Topics: corporate fitness programming incentives exercise habit setting exercise goals

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

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