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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Crucial Conversations: I Have 99 Problems, But My (NIFS) Gym Isn’t One

karen8.29.16.jpgFor the next installment of Crucial Conversations, a series where I have a chat with some very inspirational individuals and share it with all of you, I speak with a woman who needs no elaborate introduction. That’s because not only is she pretty well known around these parts, but also because she wouldn’t have it.

She is about the business of being fit and staying fit, no frills or fancy Instagram posts, just the business, and business is good. I am referring to longtime NIFS member Karen. I had the opportunity to ask Karen a few questions about being an “ageless warrior,” what keeps her motivated, and why she continues to make NIFS her fitness home. Join me as we uncover some of the things that make this amazing individual tick!

Tony: Tell me a little about yourself.

Karen: I was born in Indianapolis in 1958 and attended Arlington High School. During my time at Arlington I ran track and field and played volleyball. I got married in 1983, and my son was born in 1984.

Tony: Besides being a high school athlete, have you always been generally healthy, fit, and active?

Karen: I used to do workout videos, when they were popular, with my young son. At the young age of 25 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure [hypertension] after the birth of my son. This was hard for me to process due to my healthy lifestyle and healthy nature. It was something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. I began to feel restless and my life was becoming too mundane. I hated only being able to go to work and go home every day. At this point in my life I began to become depressed. I felt that I was not accomplishing anything in my life.

Tony: How did you make the change to pull yourself out of the rut you were in?

Karen: My son was in school and doing after-school activities, and my husband was heavily involved in church, and as a firefighter he was gone from home at least two days a week. I wanted to have something of my own; I wanted a place to go to meet and talk to people, a place where I could better myself every time I was there. I felt that the only place it could be was the gym. During this time I had fallen even deeper into depression, but by April of 1994 that would all change. My husband began working out at NIFS, and I would ask him where he was going to work out and he stated NIFS. He eventually purchased a membership for me, and it was the greatest gift he ever gave me. I joined NIFS and I have been a member for 22 years.

Tony: So how did you get started?

Karen: I began to look into going to group fitness classes. Every time I became stronger and the classes became easier for me, so I would begin going to more advanced classes. I started with step, spinning, and boxing, but my true transformation began when I began taking HIT class and group training. I was in the first Slim It to Win It competition, and to compete with other members was very exciting. Each time I would look for the next challenge to accomplish. I felt my body getting stronger and my endurance was increasing; I was feeling better about myself and my life, and I was looking forward to each limit I could cross.

Tony: What has created the most change for you?

Karen: I would have to say that my change came with the challenges I faced to make myself better in the gym. I began noticing these changes when I was able to go farther and longer than I could before. I felt this process could never end; if I worked at it, I would be able to surpass all of my limits, and with each and every class I knew there would be a new challenge for me to defeat. I’ve been able to make new friends, and for me exercising is a way of life. I am the result of hard work, I am in great shape for someone who is 57 years old, and I feel that my medical issues are very minor due to the effort and time that I have put in at NIFS. It has also allowed me to deal with stress, and it gives me a generally positive outlook on life. I would like to thank all of the trainers who have helped me along the way with my transformation, especially Tony Maloney.

***

I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing lady the first day I arrived here at NIFS eight years ago, and have had the continued honor to work with her in so many different capacities. From BOSU class, HIT, Slim It to Win It, and group training, Karen has seen and done it all, and has not just done it but done it well! She took on a nickname I gave her a few years back: “Grumpy”; but those who know her know that she is far from it. But she is focused, and when there is work to be done, she is all business.

Yes! I want to try a HIT class!

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS exercise depression fitness center motivation member group training HIT Slim It to Win It Crucial Conversations student athletes hypertension making changes

Exercising After a Heart Attack Helps Avoid Depression

My grandpa was an active man for his entire life, so he had a hard time sitting still after his heart attack. He loved going to cardiac rehab so much that he kept attending even after he was told he had graduated and that he did not need to return upon completing the program. He knew that staying active was a key to his recovery and preventing further damage to his heart, and that sitting around would more than likely cause him to become depressed. His doctors encouraged physical activity but restricted him from participating in some activities, which included cutting firewood and shoveling snow.

exercise after heart attack

A Heart Attack Can Begin a Vicious Cycle of Depression and a Sedentary Lifestyle

A heart attack is a life-changing event that oftentimes occurs unexpectedly and can turn someone’s life upside-down. According to the American Heart Association, individuals are three times more likely to develop depression after a heart attack. Depression, being over cautious, or fear of another complication often leads these individuals to become sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle is dangerous because it can contribute to other health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity, to name a few. Have you or someone you know become a victim of this reoccurring trend?

Talk to Your Doctor

Ask your doctor questions about physical activity following a heart attack. Your doctor can tell you how to safely add exercise back into your daily routine. They typically recommend starting slowly with low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, or biking, and exercising for only a few minutes at a time in the beginning before building up to longer durations.

So what are you waiting for? Go talk to your doctor about rebooting your activity level! If you have been cleared to begin an exercise routine check out the NIFS Lifestyle Rx Program, which serves individuals who have been dealing with chronic health conditions. This program provides individuals with monitoring and the appropriate tools needed to be successful with their fitness goals based on their fitness level and medical conditions.

This blog was written by Stephanie Greer, HFS at NIFS and Lifestyle Rx Program Coordinator. Contact Stephanie by email.

Topics: exercise depression staying active healthy habits heart attack

How to Beat the Winter Blues

The temperatures are still frigid, and there are days when it seems as if the sun doesn’t shine. This is the time of year when we can start to feel down and less motivated, and maybe start to develop a case of the winter blues.

It's easy for these negative thoughts to start creeping into our heads, but it is just as easy to kick these thoughts to the curb with these five simple steps.

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1. Stay Active

When the snow is blowing outside, the temperatures are below freezing, and the sun is not yet shining, it is easy to make excuses as to why you shouldn’t go to the gym. The thing is, you don’t have to go to the gym to be and stay active. You can complete a NIFS workout at home, throw in a fitness DVD, or embrace the cold weather and participate in a cold-weather sport such as skiing or snowboarding. Being active helps to relieve stress, elevate your mood, and increase your energy and metabolism throughout the day. All you have to do is get moving!

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

The foods that we put into our body have a huge effect on our mood and energy levels. Refined and processed foods are not full of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies crave. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will give your body nutrients to give you the energy that you want and need to move through the day with ease.

3. Plan Something for the Future

Now this won’t provide you with instant satisfaction, but it will give you something to look forward to when the warmer months come. You can plan a trip, sign up for a race, or just plan a weekend with your friends. Having that “thing” in the near future to look forward to will be like the carrot dangling in front of you to keep you pushing through these dreary winter months and looking forward to something brighter.

4. Treat Yourself Now!

Planning something for the future is great to keep you going, but you should also reward yourself for your hard work, healthy eating habits, trying that new workout, acing the test, or whatever you have accomplished right now! Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure, a new clothing item, time with your friends, a special event, or anything else that makes you happy. Winter can seem endless, but with little treats to look forward to, the dark and cold days will go by more quickly.

5. Soak Up the Sun

Even though the temperatures may be chilly, the sun still shines! Many people know that the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, but the sun also lifts your mood. The colder and shorter days during the winter months cause many people to spend more time indoors. A lack of sunlight can cause people to feel depressed or sad. Sunlight effects our mood by releasing neurotransmitters in the brain that effect mood (very similar to exercise!). Instead of cozying up in front of the TV, embrace the cold weather, bundle up, and spend some time outside. You can also soak up the sun simply by sitting near the window!

Using these five ideas, your winter will fly by and spring will be here before you know it!

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness winter fitness depression cardio nutrition staying active healthy habits exercise at home