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.

 Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

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

Manage diabetes this holiday season with exercise and nutrition

Throughout the year, you have worked hard to stay on course with managing your health and diabetes, but the holiday season has the potential to take you off course. Eating healthy and staying active becomes more difficult during the holidays due to food being one of the central focuses of the season. When the weather gets colder and travel increases, it is harder to maintain an exercise schedule. As the holidays approach, it is appropriate to talk about some ways you can stay happy and healthy even when surrounded by delicious, yes sometimes unhealthy food.

NIFS | Family making choices

It is important to set reasonable and attainable goals for yourself during the holiday months. Weight loss can be a very difficult task around this time of year so adjusting goals may be necessary. Instead of trying to lose weight, set a goal to maintain your weight and not gain throughout the holidays. Be sure to stay active even when the weather gets colder. Find ways to stay physically active indoors such as joining a group fitness class, purchase some enjoyable videos or stream workouts, join a sports team like basketball or volleyball, or find an indoor swimming pool. Check your corporate wellness program to see if they offer an incentive  to help you maintain your weight this season. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, lower blood glucose levels, and boost your sensitivity to insulin.

Overindulging can cause some setbacks or worse yet, setup for continued overindulgence. Be aware of your portion sizes and don’t neglect healthy foods. Your diet should include many whole grains, fruits, vegetables and should include less fat and sugar. These healthy food choices will lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. It's also smart to limit red meat and avoid processed meats.

Stick to drinks with no (or low) sugar such as water or tea. Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity and diabetes. Try rewarding yourself with something other than sweet treats like a movie, pedicure, a book you’ve been wanting, or some new workout gear. If you do consider rewarding yourself with something sweet, make it a healthy dessert like banana bread with less sugar and less calories, something made with fresh fruit, a small piece of dark chocolate or a low sugar latte.

Read our blog [SMART and Healthy Eating During the Holidays]

Don’t let the holiday season take you off course. Do your best to stay on track and enjoy the holidays. Try some of these tips out and hopefully you will be able to progress towards your health and fitness goals even during the holiday/winter months.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: workout motivation winter fitness smart goals diabetes healthy choices staying active during the holidays

Get Rid of Winter Blues with Attitude, Fitness, and More

ThinkstockPhotos-78053977.jpgAfter the excitement of holiday parties and festivities slows down, we sometimes find ourselves in a funk. Life can seem a bit slow, minimal sunlight and weather keeps us cooped up inside, and we feel a bit sluggish. Get rid of winter blues with these tips to warm the soul.

Warm Your Mind

  • Think positively. When you’re feeling drained, it’s important to keep a glass-half-full mindset. Positive thinking starts with taking control and responsibility for your mind and attitude. A bad mood can be flipped simply by taking a slow, deep breath. In that moment you can change your entire day.
  • Be nice to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, so let yourself move forward.
  • Smile. A simple smile can do wonders for your mind. How negative can you be if you are smiling?
  • Meditate. Meditation is a great way to keep the mind healthy and thinking happy thoughts. It can be as long or short as desired. Meditation forces the mind to focus on the moment, allowing us to leave the world for a while and de-stress. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.

Warm Your Body

  • Move. Moving more throughout the day keeps blood circulating to all parts of the body. This includes blood flow to the brain, increasing alertness and productivity. (Here are some tips for finding motivation for winter fitness.)
  • Break a sweat. Working out can provide feelings of accomplishment and happiness. Exercise causes serotonin secretion, the catalyst for a great mood. 
  • Practice mindful eating and nutrition. It’s easy to get carried away indulging in favorite comfort foods. The downfall is that they are typically high in carbs and fats. Although you think you want these foods, it’s not what your body needs. Stick to the basic guidelines: half of your plate fruits and veggies, one quarter protein, and a quarter grains.

Warm Your Heart

  • Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. We’ve all heard about buying coffee for the person who’s in line behind you. If you’ve experienced this, you understand how great the heart-warming gesture feels and why you might do the same for a stranger the next time. However, paying it forward does not have to be monetary. Simple notions such as opening the door or smiling as you say, “Hello” to someone can go a long way and often creates a ripple effect. One day, I came across an envelope lying on a bench, addressed as “to whoever comes across this.” I opened it to find a card with an incredibly nice and uplifting note written inside. It ended with a request to leave the card in a new place in order to brighten someone else’s day.
  • Don’t be alone… all the time. Surround yourself with positive people. Spend time with those who make you laugh, who make you feel good about yourself, with people who motivate and encourage you.
  • Play or exercise with puppies. Animals and pets can have a therapeutic effect on us humans. Find a furry friend to give your attention and love to; I prefer puppies. Don’t have any around? Visit a local animal shelter, or better yet, volunteer your time and double up on the fuzzy feelings!

Warm Your Spirit

  • Be grateful. Showing gratitude shifts focus away from you and brings mindfulness to a greater purpose in life, helping strengthen the Spiritual Dimension of Wellness. Take a minute to let someone know that you are thankful for them or for something that they did. Writing down what you are grateful for can affect your spiritual side in a similar way.

How do you stay warm when the winter blues roll in, comment below.

Receive our blog straight to your inbox by subscribing below!  

Subscribe to our blog


Topics: winter fitness fitness nutrition winter blues meditation mindful eating motivation

5 Health and Fitness Tips for Keeping Holiday Depression at Bay

ThinkstockPhotos-496352559.jpgAccording to the American Medical Resource Institute, approximately 6 million people over the age of 65 are depressed. As we know, this time of year can be very difficult for some seniors since the holidays have a tendency to intensify feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Use the following tips for keeping holiday depression at bay this season.

Remain Physically Active

Mayo Clinic states that exercise can help to combat anxiety and depression by releasing “feel-good chemicals” into the brain while reducing the immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. These results boost mood through calming effects, coupled with an increase in confidence that we experience while exercising.

Keep Your Nutrition in Check

Typically, holidays are filled with family, friends, and foods that are full of sugar and high in fat, which can bring on or worsen anxiety, depression, and bad moods. (Check out this article to discover the ways sugar may be harming your mental health.) Try maintaining a blood-sugar balance, increasing omega-3s, eating a balanced diet, and getting in your vitamins to combat the blues stemming from poor dietary choices.

Get Outdoors

Speaking of vitamins, did you know that vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight? When the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, we spend less time outdoors soaking in the sun, which results in a dip in vitamin D absorption. Studies suggest that low vitamin D levels are associated with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Read more about SAD here.

Remain Social

Staying connected to family and friends will benefit you both emotionally and psychologically when you start to feel the holiday blues creeping up. Remember past holidays, but try starting some new traditions to find joy and balance this holiday season.

Lend a Hand

Volunteering to help the less fortunate reminds us how lucky we are while connecting us to others, keeping us mentally stimulated, and providing us with a sense of purpose!

***

Help keep your residents active and engaged with others, check out our quick read for the benefits of exercise and aging well.  

DOWNLOAD: Importance of Exercise for Seniors >

Topics: health fitness winter fitness depression

Employee Health: Get Fit with Your Kids!

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

family fitnessDo you sometimes feel tired after work, but your children have plenty of energy to burn off? Do you find it difficult to find time for fitness and family life? Try combining them for a new, fun outlook on physical activity. You and your children will benefit! It helps them burn off energy and you will hopefully gain some energy.

I’ve listed some fun and creative ways to get the family involved in a healthier lifestyle:

  • Kids love video games, so look for good deals to purchase a Wii. There is fitness, dancing, boxing, and several other active games to get the entire family involved.
  • Pull out some of your fitness DVDs and make a game out of who can do the most or go the furthest on the workouts.
  • Be a kid again! Play games like kickball, dodge ball, and tag at the local park. Get other neighborhood kids and families involved, too!
  • Find a good trail for a family bike ride.
  • Depending on the season, find an indoor or outdoor pool for swimming and fun pool games.
  • Light strength training is also good for the kids. They don’t need heavy resistance because their bodies are still developing. If you have an onsite corporate fitness facility, talk to the fitness staff for good strength training exercises for kids.
  • Try to walk as much as possible―for example, to the park, to the restaurant, or to school.

What other fun activities have you incorporated while spending time with the kids?

Topics: employee health exercise at home fitness corporate fitness centers winter fitness energy level kids staying active

Employee Health: How Do I Get My Family to Exercise?

This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

active family, exercise, healthy livingFor you: Take care of yourself as well as your family by carving out time to exercise and limiting sedentary behavior, which will give you energy to keep up with your family’s busy schedule. It’s always important to lead by example.

For your spouse: Once again, lead by example, and that may be enough to get your significant other off the couch and into an exercise program. Plan enjoyable activities that you can do together, such as biking, walking, and playing tennis. If you’re a gym rat, say that you need him or her for motivation, a spot, or even just the company, or plan to take a group fitness class together.

For your kids: Encourage any activity that keeps them moving, like sports (team or individual, such as martial arts, dance, rock climbing, skateboarding, or swimming), outside play, and play dates with friends. If you have video games in the house, make them active ones. Encourage friendly competitions among siblings, such as who can perform the most push-ups or sit-ups. Making exercise fun is the key!

For the entire family: When it comes to family exercise, the more, the merrier! Staying active as a family is not only good for everyone’s health, but it helps build strong relationships. Skiing, sledding, ice skating, and bowling are great for cold weather, and walking, biking, tennis, basketball, touch football, putt-putt golf, and swimming are all ideal for warmer-weather months.

Topics: employee health exercise at home group exercise winter fitness New Year's Resolutions in Action

NIFS Employee Among Jingle Bell Runners for Arthritis Research

This blog was written by Diane Miller. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

jingle bell run, arthritis, NIFSIf you’re looking for a run/walk event this December, why not try the Jingle Bell Run? The Arthritis Foundation will host its 23rd annual event this year in downtown Indianapolis on December 10. Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities gather together for this 5K (3-mile) event dressed in crazy costumes and ready to support the foundation as it searches for a cure for arthritis.

As someone living with arthritis, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this event. Having had back pain for nearly 10 years, I was finally diagnosed in 2010 with osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease). With at least five vertebrae affected, it has made daily living more difficult. My love of running and racing in events has been well rewarding but has taken a toll on my body.

After weeks of tests and a doctor telling me not to race, I decided that I wanted to compete in my biggest race to date, a half-Ironman. Seven hours into the race, I finally crossed that finish line and was overwhelmed by one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. Tears of joy ran down my face as I completed the unthinkable. Unfortunately, days after the race, I paid the price; the back pain was terrible.

I hope that one day we can find a cure, not only for myself but for other generations so they can reach their ultimate goals and live pain free. I am happy to be a part of the Jingle Bell Run and can’t wait to wear my best holiday-inspired costume. See you at the start line at 9 a.m.!

Topics: arthritis triathlon running winter fitness