Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

The Importance of Evaluating Progress

GettyImages-598549636Progress is defined as “forward or onward movement toward a destination,” and in fitness it is usually related to a specific fitness goal. Evaluating progress allows you to track your accomplishments or if you are not making the progress you hoped for, it can help determine what you can do better to reach your goal. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle mass, improve your 5k time, etc. tracking and evaluating your progress throughout your fitness journey is beneficial.

Tracking is the first big step in evaluating your progress. Based on your goal, you may want to track your everyday strength workouts with sets/reps/weight or how many minutes of cardio you did per day or how many steps you took each day. Whatever it is, you want to keep track of what you are doing. Some people like to use an app on their phone or maybe a journal; anything can work!

Tracking also allows you to challenge yourself from week to week or month to month. Our bodies like to adapt so if we continue doing the same things without “shocking the system” then we won’t see any progress. We can also track how we are feeling during an exercise, if you had a bad day and your strength routine for the day was not great, then write it down. It is important to know why you may not have made progress that week. If you get to a point where you are not making any progress, then reevaluating your goal would be the next step. Determine what can be changed and why was it difficult to accomplish in the first place. How can you avoid those barriers this time? Resetting your goal to be realistic and fit your lifestyle is totally fine. You want to set yourself up for success!

If you accomplish your goal and have made steady progressions, then it is time to create a new goal! For example, let’s say your goal was to run a 5k race in 24 minutes by running 3x/week and strength training 2x/week. And you accomplished this goal in 23:30 in a recent race, then what? You could set a goal to run a 5k race in under 23 minutes then increase your running days to 4x/week and keep strength training 2x/week. You could set a totally different goal and focus solely on strength training to build muscle mass. Determine your plan for accomplishing this goal and what steps you need to take to be successful.

Evaluating your progress is necessary in your fitness journey, even if you aren’t seeing forward progress. You can always reassess goals and determine what needs to be done be successful. If you are seeing forward progress, then challenge yourself again and work towards the next goal.

Topics: wellness and fitness fitness tips health and fitness goals

Finding the Right Shoe for You

GettyImages-525863765The correct footwear plays a vital role in your time running on the road or just walking around at home or work. But what makes a good running shoe? With a wide variety of options it can be hard to determine the best fit for your foot type. Knowing if your foot is normal, flat, or high-arched can play a role in the type of shoe best for you.  An employee at a fitness store should be able to help you determine the best type of shoe for your foot.

Here are some tips for finding the right fit:

  1. You should look for a shoe with a low heel to toe drop. This means the heel cushion should not be significantly larger than the toe cushion. A Larger difference places stress on the front of the leg and can cause imbalances in the front and back of the lower leg, which may lead to pain or discomfort while running.
  1. All shoes don't fit the same. Your shoe size may be different depending on the style and brand of the shoe. You should have a thumbs width, or about ½ inch of room in the front of the toe box when the heel is slid to the back of the shoe. Anything less can put unneeded stress on the toes and foot, and a larger space may allow the foot to slide, causing blisters and inflammation of the foot. Be sure to wear socks you plan on exercising in to have the right thickness and consider trying shoes on later in the day when your feet are naturally more swollen.
  1. Find a shoe with a neutral fit. There should not be extra pressure on your arch or the outside of the foot. This can alter your normal foot running pattern and can lead to pain and injury in feet, ankles, and even your knees.
  1. Replace your shoes every 500 miles or so, depending on your activity. When shoes wear, the sole can become more rigid. This can change movement mechanics and may lead to pain or injury. Pay attention to how they feel, if you aren't feeling the same support, it might be time for a new pair.

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Topics: shoes wellness and fitness fitness tips

Exercise and Heart Health

GettyImages-866222478Exercising and having a healthy diet are key components to maintaining or even improving heart health. A heart healthy diet consists of food low in cholesterol, sodium, and high in fiber. Following the DASH diet is a great guideline to discuss with your doctor if you are in need of improving your diet for heart health. With the ideal diet, that not only helps with maintaining or lowering body weight, but it also helps with preventing diabetes,  and improving your blood pressure as well as your bone and joint health.

What can exercise do for your heart health? A lot! Combined with the appropriate foods, here is what exercise can do for the heart and vascular system as a whole:

  • Prevents Diabetes. Over time, the nerves and blood vessels of the heart can be damaged by the effects of diabetes. When you exercise your cells are more sensitive to insulin and results in utilizing it better. Regular exercise reduces chances of developing the disease even if there is family history.
  • Decreases likelihood of cardiovascular diseases. When the heart is not strong enough to pump blood through the body the result can be heart failure. Exercise not only strengthens muscles, but it also strengthens the heart.  Other cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure can be caused by stress.  Regular exercise has shown to release "feel good" hormones that aid in lowering stress levels and therefore reducing blood pressure.
  • Aids in weight loss.  Regular exercises can aid in weight loss efforts due to regular movement helping the body to burn calories.  With less weight to carry around you relieve pressure on your bones and joints helping you feel less aches and pains.
  • Improved Cholesterols levels.  Lower LDL (low density lipids, what clogs your arteries) levels have been shown in people that maintain a healthy weight for their height. Higher HDL (high density lipids) levels increase with weight loss and exercise. These lipids are responsible for the formation of hormones and cellular repair.
  • Decrease in medication use.  With regular exercise you are likely to reduce your need for medications. This also results in saving money and allows you to live without being dependent on medications.

Have you started your own exercise routine?  Reach out to your onsite fitness center staff to get started on right program for you and your goals.

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Topics: heart healthy exercise and health wellness and fitness

Corporate Wellness: You Can Do Anything But You Can't Do Everything

NIFS | Corporate Wellness

American is the land of opportunity and from the time we are children, most of our parents have encouraged us to take advantage of these opportunities. They encourage us to understand that we can be anything we dream of when we grow up, accomplish any goal we set our minds to, and with hard work can achieve what others think is impossible. While these are great confidence boosters for children, as we become adults many of us have a hard time distinguishing between being able to do anything and being able to do everything. It is great to set your goals high but you have to prioritize to be able to achieve them.

This is something I see day in and day out as a fitness professional with my clients. I also see it in the unrealistic expectations I set for myself. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon you can’t expect to strength train three times a week, lose those pesky 10 pounds that have been hanging around, keep up with kids activities, maintain a full-time job, sleep eight hours a night, volunteer at your church, and have healthy meals prepared each dinnertime. Something has to give! This is where a dreaded word comes into the mix: “NO.”

Read More [4 Ways to Find a Healthy Relationship with Exercise]

We have a passion for so many things and a desire to please others but we have to prioritize. You can run that marathon but you may have to give up volunteering at your church to complete some long runs on the weekends. You may have to eat leftovers for dinner a few times a week to keep up with your training schedule. It is ok to say no or push some things to the back burner for a while so you can achieve the “anything” you have set out to accomplish. If different things become a priority, you can pull them to the forefront again.

Living a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming. There are 7 different dimensions of well-being that we are constantly trying to balance. Cut yourself some slack and remember you cannot do everything, especially not all at once. Pick one or two things and make them your top priority. See how these affect your life and decide if they are habits worth keeping. Once you find a good balance, try adding another and see how you do. You can achieve any health/fitness goal but you cannot achieve all of them at once. Write down your top health/fitness goal for the month and focus on that for 30 days. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and build a confident attitude that says that you can do ANYTHING, just not EVERYTHING.

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Topics: corporate wellness healthy lifestyle wellness and fitness health and fitness goals balanced life

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: running motivation wellness and fitness reasons to race race tips

How to Revitalize your Fitness this Summer

Do you feel like every summer is the same: take the kids to summer camp, go to work, pick the kids up, go home, make dinner, and then start all over again the next day? What about you? What do you do for yourself and your health, wellness and fitness? Here are few tips for how to revitalize your fitness this summer.

  • ThinkstockPhotos-507114390.jpgPick up a new sport or try a new fitness class. Get social! Sign up for a group fitness class that you wouldn’t normally try and bring a friend. Ask your local fitness center what summer programs they have planned. Prefer a team aspect to your fitness? Check out a local sports league in your area and get involved.
  • Buy a new pair of shoes. If it’s been over 6 months since you bought new running shoes, now is the perfect time to invest in a new pair. Even regular walking can cause wear and tear on shoes and also your feet and legs. Visit your local running store and get fitted for the right pair of shoes for you. Then get outside and get moving!
  • Update your workout gear. What goes well with a new pair of shoes? New workout gear! We all love to show off new clothes, right? What better place than on your local running path or in your local gym? Also think about purchasing other equipment such as a good hat or visor to protect your face from the sun.
  • Change up your diet. Not only do you need to switch up your activity, you also need to modify your diet. The summer brings fresh fruit and veggies and a lot of color and nutrition available to add to your diet. Try new things, spice it up, and see what’s out there that you never knew you were missing! You might even try a healthy summer picnic.

As you think of new ways to revitalize your summer, make sure things like water, sunscreen, relaxation, and activity are all constants for safe summer workouts. Increased sunlight and heat provide more opportunity to develop sunburn and dehydration. Take the necessary precautions to avoid any mishaps that will prevent you from enjoying the outdoors.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 7 Ways to Add Exercise to the Workplace >

Topics: nutrition shoes hydration equipment summer wellness and fitness