Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Create Your Own Legacy: A Keepsake for Senior Living Families

Welcome to February, the month when most of us are feeling like we are moving oh so slow through the remainder of the winter months. We have come off the high of gift giving and receiving, enjoying time with family and friends, and even the excitement of the New Year. We are still reflecting on the past year or even the holidays, wishing we could bottle up that time we had with family and friends.

GettyImages-1047684930 (1)When it comes to programming options in senior living, NIFS understands that communities strive to create a memorable experience for residents and their families all year long, which is why we are excited to bring clients the NIFS Legacy program. This is a simple one, but with a memorable result. We are inviting each resident to participate by handwriting answers to simple life questions and to have their photo taken to create a nostalgic piece that will then be transformed into a keepsake for the resident to share with their family.

Building Connections

While NIFS staff are known for providing traditional fitness programming, we also find it engaging to offer opportunities like this program. Interacting with residents each day in our social atmosphere allows us to build relationships and connections that go beyond fitness alone. We often have the privilege of getting to know the residents’ family members through holiday visits, summer vacations, or the weekly check-in. So being a part of a project that will provide a memorable keepsake is icing on the cake for us, knowing how much their son, daughter, niece, or nephew will enjoy it!

Well-Being is More Than Healthy Eating and Exercise

We’ve written before how well-being extends beyond exercising and eating right. With the NIFS Legacy program, residents and staff collaborate to discuss and capture memories and turn them into a special memento that residents can share with their family and friends. Not only does this opportunity foster a connection, but it also helps fulfill a more well-rounded wellness program at the communities we serve. It hits home on the holistic approach to supporting resident well-being by offering an outlet for emotional and spiritual wellness, acknowledging the meaning and purpose of their life and creating new memories with their loved ones.

The meaning of legacy is to “put a stamp on the future,” and we know that our residents have contributed a great amount of time, knowledge, and love to such a thoughtful keepsake. By sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, they will be contributing to the future.

A Partnership Between NIFS and Your Senior Living Community

NIFS partners with premier senior living providers across the US to bring their residents best-in-class fitness and wellness programming. The NIFS Legacy program is a great example of how our qualified fitness professionals have the skills and resources to artfully marry creative programming with relationship building to offer programs of intention and purpose for residents. Click here to learn more about how the NIFS team integrates with communities to help you achieve your wellness goals.

We are excited to invite residents to create their own legacy with handwritten answers to simple life questions alongside a photo that will inspire their family and peers. Throughout the month of February, residents will have an opportunity to visit the community wellness center to create this wonderful keepsake.

Is outsourcing fitness center management right for your community?

This blog was written by Lindsay Knox, Assistant Director Active Aging Services, National Institute for Fitness and Sport.

 

Topics: senior wellness senior living memory family emotional wellness well-being

You Say You Want a Resolution: Change Your World in 2020

We all have places we get stuck, and January tends to be a time when we reassess what’s not working for us anymore. Mostly we are looking for ways to be better, healthier versions of ourselves. The trouble with trying to figure out how to get unstuck is that we limit our thinking. In fact, there are eight different areas that have been identified as contributors to overall wellness:

  • GettyImages-1166631072Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Financial
  • Occupational
  • Social

There are countless possibilities for satisfying resolutions.

Look for Inspiration

In the past, I limited my resolutions to what I “should” be doing, such as weight loss and getting to the gym; or what I “shouldn’t” be doing, such as drinking wine during the week or eating bread and sweets. Last year I decided to take an entirely different approach. I took a look at where I was feeling poor—emotionally, spiritually, physically, and socially.

Then I began looking for inspiration. I thought back to conversations that lingered in my head, to social media posts that gave me pause, to pictures in magazines that I had saved, and to impromptu experiences that made me happy. I listened for the voice inside that said, “Isn’t that different? Isn’t that interesting? More of that, please.” I understood that this was where my body was asking me to resolve something; that my inner voice was letting me know that there was an opportunity to integrate something that would provide extraordinary satisfaction. It was time to think outside just the physical wellness box.

A Creative Way to Improve Well-being on Many Levels

I remembered reading a social media post about a man who set out to visit all of his Facebook “friends.” He decided that he wanted to put the personal aspect back into friendship. A little bell rang inside my head. I too was feeling disconnected emotionally from many of the people I was connected to on social media.

With a milestone birthday approaching, I was reminded of a person I used to train who decided to try something new every month for her 50th birthday year. I had become an empty nester and was feeling that my “almighty calendar” was empty. I liked the idea of a monthly goal—of looking forward to going somewhere each month.

During the December holiday celebrations, I wore a shawl that I had crocheted for myself from a simple pattern and inexpensive yarn. Almost every woman stopped to admire my work. This pattern that I had learned was satisfying and helped hone my (self-taught) crocheting skills.

Next, an idea formed inside my head. I decided to run a half-marathon every month with the following stipulation: I had to ask/find a friend to run with me (or simply cheer me on!). As a surprise thank you to any person who signed on, I presented them with a homemade shawl stitched together by my hands and filled with gratitude.

Guess what? I have never had a more satisfying year in my life. I added time with family and friends. I added adventures in new places. And I expressed gratitude. Sure, I was also able to check off the physical wellness goal too, but my year was about so much more.

Let me share an example of my March half-marathon experience. One race morphed into a weekend in Philadelphia with my nephew, his mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and stepmother, and my sister-in-law and husband. The weekend was filled with laughter, food, running, and love. It kept my hands busy; I made six shawls to show my appreciation for the connections we made.

Challenge Yourself to Look at All the Wellness Dimensions

So ask yourself, “Where am I hurting?”, “Where do I want to add more significance to my life?”, and “Where can I develop more of myself?” I challenge you to look at all the wellness dimensions and creatively piece together a New Year’s resolution that changes your world in a way that is deeply meaningful and satisfying. Here’s a cheat sheet on the dimensions of wellness that you can use to get started. 

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Topics: resolutions social wellness new Years resolution half marathon training well-being inspiration

Fabulous Farmers’ Markets: Nutrition and Healthy Summer Fun

One of my favorite things to do during summer in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town. As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies, but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.

The Top 5 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Market

Hfarmers-market-1ere are my top 5 reasons why visiting your local farmer’s market is a must.

  1. Support the local community. Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy. Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market you are cutting out the middle man, and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store.
  2. Eat foods that are in season. Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season. The produce tastes richer and more flavorful and the nutrients are better retained. This handout for Indiana allows you to see which produce is in season so you can plan ahead for meals and shopping on your next outing. If you don’t live in Indiana, check with your local government websites to see if they have a similar calendar.
  3. It’s good for you. The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The current recommendations are 9 servings per day. Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9-serving-per-day-goal. This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral nutrition requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer-fighting antioxidants. Locally grown produce is also lower in pesticides and chemicals.
  4. You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat. You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it. When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?
  5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule. I love being able to go to the local farmers’ market close to work on my lunch break mid-week to grab items to get me through the rest of the week. Saturday mornings it’s off to the farmers’ market closer to my house to purchase goodies for the weekend and first part of the next week. To find out farmers’ markets close to you, check out the Farmers Market Directory on the USDA website.

An Inexpensive Place for Healthy Eating

Whether you are picking up items for tonight’s dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store. Try to get there early to get the best variety and options. Not all vendors accept credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand. Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

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Topics: nutrition diet and nutrition well-being nifs staff

Corporate Wellness or Employee Well-being? Or Does it Matter?

NIFS | Corporate Wellness vs Well-beingI wrote a post a while ago about changing the name vs changing the notion of "activities" in senior livingAt the time, the industry was working through a naming brainstorm (“name-storming”) to determine if continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) should be renamed. For the record, the industry has moved toward life plan community as an alternative to CCRC. The whole “name-storming” thing got me thinking about the value of words. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that words matter. Words are indeed powerful, and we must choose them carefully to thoughtfully convey what we mean. Otherwise, we have this situation, or this oneAnd yet, getting the words right doesn’t mean we can slack on our actions behind the words. Which brings me to a debate going on in corporate wellness…or is it corporate well-being? This article says well-being is the future of wellnessThe Global Wellness Institute’s Chairman also thinks well-being is where the industry needs to move because wellness isn’t as holistic. (Interestingly, she also notes that wellness apparently isn’t associated with happiness.)

If you point your web browser to a search of well-being versus wellness, you’ll get a host of articles that are part of the current conversation. And it seems that there is a movement in favor of the more holistic “well-being” as the appropriate, inclusive, aspirational name for the corporate programming we have traditionally called employee wellness.

So let’s make that switch. Let’s all link arms and agree to change our vocabulary and put wellness where it belongs…in 2017. Wellness vendors become well-being vendors, and wellness programs become well-being programs. Employees earn well-being points instead of wellness points and wellness directors sign new job descriptions that dub them well-being directors.

Except here’s the thing. We will still have corporate wellness programs that focus primarily on physical health without taking a hard look at how the workplace environment nurtures or neglects employees. Businesses will still have program directors who come from fully clinical backgrounds and who myopically build sterile programs that lack a more human element. Practitioners will still be talking about how important stress resilience is to helping human beings thrive with very little concrete employer-provided action to truly help the workforce get a handle on the pressures of work and life.

[Read More: Why wearable fitness trackers aren’t your wellness program]

Of course, the above descriptions don’t fit every situation. There are some fabulously compassionate, effective, and well-loved wellness programs out there in corporate settings. But for those programs, it doesn’t really matter if we call it wellness or well-being. Because the focus is on helping employees be their best selves in work and life.

I do realize this is pretty rich commentary coming from an organization whose primary focus in on fitness. To be fair, we have a lot to gain by the industry holding still on the current model where “wellness” equals physical health. But I’ve been around long enough to see that having your physical self in good shape isn’t the only way to be well; we’re only part of the picture. And, the more our staff are tasked with work beyond managing the corporate fitness center, the more value I see in using our relationships with employees to help them discover how they want to live well (which may or may not include a regular workout).

That’s the change we’re making, one connection at a time. What do you want to change: the scope of your program or what you call it?

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Topics: employee wellness wellness programs employee wellbeing well-being