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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Thomas's Corner: Off the Beaten Path—Outdoor Fitness Options

Sunny days and warm summer weather are now upon us. It’s hard to complain about a pretty day, except when you are confined to an indoor lifestyle or job. Outdoor fitness is exactly what you need to get rid of the summertime blues, but I’m not talking about running or boot camp. Indianapolis is packed with fitness activities just waiting to be discovered. Parks throughout the city are highlighted by fitness trails, open fields, and accessibility. The opportunities are only increasing as we, hopefully, move toward a more health-conscious society.

In this blog we are going to think outside the box and explore some outdoor fitness options that are not only good exercise, but also fun and stimulating.


Paddleboarding, a mode of recreational transportation, has been around much longer than you might think. When it was first invented is undetermined, but evidence of its existence dates back to early exploration of the Pacific Ocean in the late 1700s by Captain James Cook. 

Fast-forward a few hundred years and you will see paddleboarding nearly everywhere, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. Because it enables you to take in scenery and nature, paddleboarding can be both calming and serene. On the other hand, in some windy conditions, paddleboarding is completely challenging, giving the rider a great workout. Riding the tide for extended periods of time provides plenty of balance, core stability, and endurance opportunities for the aquatic enthusiast.

For paddleboarding in Indianapolis, visit local shops such as Rusted Moon Outfitters to see demonstrations and buy gear to satisfy your paddleboarding needs. If you are a beginner and would like lessons, another local company, Salty Dog Paddlesports offers not only training sessions, but also more advanced yoga classes on paddleboards!


Geocaching is a relatively new outdoor recreational activity that combines old-school orienteering and treasure hunting with modern GPS technology. The concept of geocaching is not new; following clues and landmarks to find hidden treasure has been around for a long time. 

In this modern-day search for “x” on a treasure map, individuals use clues via internet videos or posts to find hidden packages or containers yielding log books to sign your name, often a small prize, or even another clue to find your way to another hidden site. The treasures aren’t necessarily huge in size; the excitement comes from successfully navigating your way to the treasure. After the site is discovered, it is neatly hidden away so that another geocacher may discover it. 

Because it usually takes place outdoors in rugged terrain and involving hiking and walking, a geocacher’s main needs include comfortable clothes, shoes or boots, and a functioning GPS system. Most cell phones have GPS built in already, so becoming a geocacher is even more convenient than you think. Geocaching is happening in Indiana, and the Indiana Geocaching website is dedicated to it. There is plenty of information regarding upcoming events and links to other national geocaching clubs. Channel your inner Indiana Jones while you are actually in Indiana!

Disc Golf

One of the fastest-growing recreational sports and activities, disc golf is quickly becoming more than just a niche hobby. The concept of disc golf, obviously, is derived from traditional golf, including the terminology. Disc golfers typically throw one of their many discs (each one has specific characteristics, not unlike drivers, irons, and putters) from a tee box toward a basket on a pole. Score is kept with eagles, birdies, par, and bogeys. 

Sprinkled throughout Indianapolis are several disc golf courses that offer a variety of challenges and an opportunity to experience some of the many scenic neighborhood parks that otherwise may go unnoticed. There is even a disc golf organization (Indianapolis Disc Golf Club) that holds several notable tournaments, bringing in top competition in the area and the Midwest. 

Like all skill-based activities, disc golf requires practice time. This is easily countered by disc golf’s relatively easy concept, cost effectiveness (discs are around 10 to 15 dollars, while courses are free), and inviting atmosphere.


If you are bored with your current situation or just want a fun activity for you and your pals, there are definitely some excellent options to keep you active and your brain stimulated. Whether you want to take on some waves with your paddleboard, track down a series of clues while geocaching, or take a stroll through the park while disc golfing, the landscape for outdoor activity is ever changing. Be adventurous this summer and try a new outdoor sport or activity today!

Rejoice and Evolve,

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Instructor at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: summer balance endurance core outdoors golf sports hiking

Foundations of a Strong, Healthy Body: Muscle Building

ThinkstockPhotos-494559503-1Okay, so you’ve been successful in your first two phases of developing your new workout program. You have progressed in your cardiovascular exercises throughout the weeks and your muscles have been feeling more “in shape” from your high repetition, low-weight muscular endurance training. What now?

The next progression I would recommend would be to start training for muscular hypertrophy, or more simply put, muscle building. 

Getting Ripped Versus Getting Toned

Muscle building is a term that seems fantastic to some (guys) and horrific for others (ladies). Guys (depending on your age) have an affinity to building muscle on a higher level because of a little hormone called Testosterone. The higher levels in men will allow for more tissue development, while the lower levels in women will not. Training for hypertrophy in females will yield a more desirable “toned” look versus a large gain in mass.

Changing the Variables to Develop Muscle Mass

When you are training for an increase in lean muscle mass, you will need to tweak the variables that you used for muscular endurance. To recap, those variables included sets, repetitions, and rest periods. 

  • The sets you may perform can also start very low (1-2) if you are new to this type of training. As your experience increases, the amount of sets can double or even triple. 
  • The repetitions that you perform will also adjust. Instead of doing reps in the 15-20 range, they will be more in the 8-12 range. With the decrease in repetitions comes an increase in the resistance (weight) that you are using. You want to make sure that each set is performed with a weight that can be done no more than 12 times. 
  • Rest periods will also remain relatively low. 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets is recommended. You will definitely “feel the burn” if you do it correctly.

The next blog in this series talks about how to activate your newly developed muscle tissue to increase your overall strength.

Get after it!

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: cardio muscles resistance endurance weightlifting muscle mass muscle building

Foundations of a Strong, Healthy Body: Muscular Endurance

ThinkstockPhotos-178630269Once you have mastered the basics of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training is the next viable option. If you have no physical limitations (like the ones shown in the Functional Movement Screen), basic resistance training may continue your improvement in building a better body. Remember, not all resistance training is created equal, and the sets, reps, and other variables will determine the result that you receive.

The first goal that I have people focus on is usually muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability for your muscles to withstand a long duration of work. It is important throughout all walks of life, whether it be for preparation for a marathon or doing a day full of yard work. Your goals in everyday life determine your muscular endurance goals and the ways it can be achieved. 

There are three variables that are vital to how your body responds to all resistance training, not just training for muscular endurance. Those three are:

  1. Sets
  2. Repetitions
  3. Rest Periods

The number of sets you do during muscular endurance training may be relatively low. For someone new, 1 to 2 sets may be sufficient to see improvement. For those of a higher training level, 3 to 4 may be required. The number of repetitions you perform is the next important variable. If you want your muscles to be able to last a long time, repetitions will be high. 15 to 20 repetitions per set is usually sufficient but some individuals might increase reps above that level. The final variable is the rest period. The rest period between your sets has to be short. Less than 30 seconds is generally the accepted time but time can be whittled down to 15 seconds or less for optimal adaptations for muscular endurance.

This type of training builds that initial workload for the muscles to withstand the heavier/more intense training that could be done in the future. Below you will find an example of a lower body muscular endurance resistance training routine:

  1. Barbell Squat 3x15
  2. Kettlebell Lateral Lunge 3x10/Leg
  3. Dumbbell Step-Ups 3x10/Leg
  4. Kettlebell Swings 3x20
  5. Hamstring Curls 3x15
  6. Calf Raises 3x15

The next blog in this series will talk about the next phase of building a program, everybody’s favorite, building muscle.

Get after it!

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: muscles resistance endurance

The Importance of Recovery After Exercise

ThinkstockPhotos-184767539One of the most important elements of performance and exercise is rest, and it’s also one of the hardest things to do! According to ACE (a fitness governing body), recovery is the most important part of any person’s program. Taking time to rest your body can be challenging mentally, but rest has significant physical benefits.

The Recovery Stage

To get better at a sport or to enhance your personal fitness, you must expose your body to stresses. Different stresses include training and exercise programs like weightlifting, sprinting, endurance runs, etc. But upon completion of these stresses the human body needs to adapt to the stresses it just underwent, and this is where we get the recovery stage. 

Neglecting the recovery stage can lead to injuries. Many programs have built-in rest days, but if you are creating your own program to follow, be sure to find where to fit one in! It’s essential to listen to your body and gauge how you are feeling as well. If you are physically worn out, take a rest.

It’s Worth Making the Time for Rest

So maybe this is enough to get you to take a day or two off a week. But I know there are still some of you out there saying, “Okay, Amanda, thanks for the tip, but I’m in the middle of training hard right now for the half Ironman in Wisconsin, so I can’t afford to take a day of rest.” Let’s take a look at the benefits of recovery on the body. 

The whole purpose of recovery in exercise is to allow your muscles to repair themselves and to engage muscles that are sore from your workout. There are also different things that you can do during the recovery stage to help move the process along and come out ready to perform better than your pre-rest stage. 

Top 5 Recovery Techniques

Here are some things to keep in mind and apply while recovering:

Rest: Now we are talking about actual rest, sleep. This is one of the most important ways to get your body to quickly recover from the physical and mental demands of hard training.

Hydration and eating: One of the most vital aspects of both training and recovery is being properly hydrated. And nourishment falls right in line with hydration. Food helps to restore the body’s energy supply, so try to eat good, healthy options at the right windows of time to enhance your performance and recovery.

Massages: Getting a massage helps to loosen up muscles, increase oxygen and blood flow into muscles, remove lactic acid buildup (which is what makes you sore), and deliver nutrients from your body to your muscle.

Contrast therapy: If you are or were an athlete this may be familiar to you, but those who don’t have a facility at their disposal might not use it as frequently. You will be contrasting between an ice bath and a hot shower. You want to be sure to start and end with cold (like an ice bath). Jump in the ice bath for about 45 seconds and then into the hot shower for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this three times. The benefits of contrast therapy are to increase blood flow to the muscles and speed up the removal of lactic acid.

Ice bath: A familiar process to many, an ice bath causes the blood vessels of the body to constrict, pushing the blood away from the muscle because of the cool temperature. Once you are done and start to warm up, the vessels open up and allow blood flow back into the muscle, bringing with it more oxygen to help you recover.

No matter where you are currently in your workout regime, I encourage you to take some recovery time. It will benefit your performance in significant ways down the road. Consider trying a method from above that you haven’t before and see if it helps you. Different things work for different people, so find out what’s best for your body. You can also consult one of our health fitness specialists here at NIFS for advice. Most important, take time to rest and recover to avoid injury!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise fitness running marathon training injury prevention endurance weightlifting recovery

NIFS Lifestyle Program Participant: Kim Flowers

KimI’d like to take a few moments to highlight a member of the NIFS Lifestyle Program. This program provides extra guidance and observation to individuals with chronic medical concerns. NIFS’s Lifestyle Coordinator communicates with the participant’s physician about their progress and helps them plan workouts geared to their specific medical needs. Take a few minutes to read about Kim Flowers and learn how this program has changed her.


I am 48 years old and have been a member of the Lifestyle/Scholarship Program at NIFS for about five months. Currently I am on dialysis three times a week and am awaiting a kidney transplant. Due to diabetes I lost my leg, but I am coming to NIFS to turn all of this around and get healthier in all aspects of my life! My goal is to get back to work as a social worker once I receive my kidney.


I have enjoyed getting out of the house and learning different ways to exercise. Even with the limitations that I have physically, I have enjoyed seeing how much I am able to do that I didn’t think was possible. Working out, something that I have not done in the past, is giving me more overall energy. It is helping me to get stronger, and helping me in my everyday tasks, which sometimes are difficult with a prosthetic.


After getting my general fitness assessment, I learned and was surprised at the amount of fat I have in my body and that could cause me to have serious health issues. I am learning ways to work on getting my body fat to a more acceptable level.


All of it! I really do enjoy everything that we do. Though some things are harder than others and really stretch my abilities, there is not one thing that Amanda has me do that I don’t like. I really enjoy working out with Amanda and it has made a difference in my life.


I am able to do exercises that I was not able to do in the beginning. I have also increased my endurance. Being on dialysis and having a prosthetic makes it challenging to keep up my heart health, but I can tell when I am walking that I am able to last a lot longer than I could before*.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.


I have learned about better eating habits, how to use the machines at NIFS correctly, and how to make exercise a part of my life.


This is something that I want and that I know I need to do in order to help myself. It is helping me to take steps to my goal of getting my kidney and starting a new life.

I have really enjoyed being a part of the Lifestyle/Scholarship Program at NIFS. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in something that without others’ help I would not be able to do. Even once I hit my goal, I want to keep going! I want to say thank you to every person who helps to make this program possible.

NIFS Lifestyle/Scholarship Program

One component of the Lifestyle Program is that there is a scholarship opportunity for those involved. Many of these people have physical limitations and are unable to work. NIFS has a scholarship fund on a needs basis, allowing participants the opportunity to get the help and guidance they need. Currently NIFS funds 16 scholarships to program participants.

To help sustain our current scholarships and increase the opportunities to fund additional ones, NIFS organizes an annual auction. We need your help to continue to provide this gift to those who need it! Please consider bidding in the seventh annual online auction.

AuctionImageVisit the auction website beginning November 24 at 8:00am and concluding on December 15 at 8:00pm and see what great items you can bid on!

For questions about the Lifestyle Scholarship program or the online auction please contact Amanda Bireline at 317-274-3432 ext. 219 or abireline@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Lifestyle Program Coordinator and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise nutrition goal setting NIFS programs endurance diabetes

Race Day Nutrition: Before, During, and After

You have trained for the marathon, half-marathon, triathlon or other race, and now it’s the big day! However, you need to make sure you are properly fueling your body with optimal nutrition to guarantee that you will cross the finish line feeling great! Here are some tips to ensure that will happen.

Before the Race154039075

It is essential to have carbohydrates before racing. They provide the best source of energy for your body and give the most efficient fuel for working muscles. Examples of these are whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain breads, cereals, bagels, oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables.

Protein helps with sustaining energy for longer periods of time. A small to moderate amount of protein-rich foods is essential before exercising. Examples include skim milk, 1% milk, or low-fat chocolate milk; low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cheese; boiled eggs; peanut butter; yogurt; a small amount of nuts; lean meat, poultry, or fish; and soy products. Fat is stored in the body and is used as an important energy source. It is especially important for endurance athletes, such as runners.

Try to avoid high-fat foods because they may slow digestion. Examples of high-fat foods are crackers, chips, snack cakes, or muffins. Instead, opt for healthy sources of fat such as peanut butter, nuts, and olive oil.

Eating sugary foods before a race may cause side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can have a major effect on your race! You might think you get that burst of energy from the sugar, but the energy will peak quickly and will not last for a long time. Avoid pastries, donuts, and high-sugar cereals.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of fluids such as water, 100% juice, low-fat or skim milk, or a sports beverage two to three hours before the race, and then 1 more cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes before the race. A small amount of coffee (6 to 8 oz.) may be an option, but be sure that it settles well in your stomach.

During the Race Gels

Drink at least 1 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise (24 to 48 ounces per hour for most people). For every pound you lose during exercise, consume 2 to 3 cups of fluid. It is always good to calculate your sweat rate during training to know the proper amount of fluids you need to be taking in during the race. This can be done by weighing yourself before a workout and immediately afterward.

Water is always an excellent choice during the race, but for durations of longer than 60 to 90 minutes, it is important to take in some type of sports drink. Sports drinks provide a mix of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Electrolytes are lost in sweat during the race, which is why sports drinks help replenish electrolytes in the body.

It is important to intake the proper amount of carbohydrates during the race. Consuming carbohydrates should be a goal during the race to help increase endurance; 60 to 70 grams per hour is recommended. Good options for getting in carbohydrates during the race are sports drinks, energy bars, GUs, gummy blocks, and Sport Beans. If you prefer consuming an energy bar during the race, it is important to consume a bar that is high in carbohydrates, but low in protein and fat. Make sure to take in 4 to 8 ounces of water with the gels or the energy bars to prevent an upset stomach. Consider how your body digests these different items. Go with the item that digests well for you and will help you stay at your optimum performance level. Always practice with these products during training and never try something new on race day.

After the Race

Here are some tips for recovering after the race:

  • Aim to consume a 200- to 300-calorie snack within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
  • Rehydrate with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during the race.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal that includes protein, fluids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.455658863
  • Aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein to be consumed within 30 to 60 minutes after the race.
  • Take in at least half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within the first hour after the race.
  • Have salty snacks and sports drinks to help with replacing electrolytes, if it will be 3 to 4 hours until your next well-balanced meal.

Remember that training with certain foods is just as important as the physical training for the event! If you need help, consider a personal nutrition coaching session from NIFS.

If you are interested in having your questions answered during a personal nutrition consultation, please contact me at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239. Learn more about Nutrition and Wellness services at NIFS.

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This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training triathlon cycling half marathon hydration endurance

5 Tips to Stay Hydrated While You Exercise This Summer

It is finally summertime! You are looking out of the window from your office and can hardly wait to get outside for your workout after work or on your lunch break. Unfortunately, summer comes along with hot and humid conditions that can have a terrible effect on your body if you have not properly hydrated.476485117

It is important to consider the effects that the sun and warmer temperatures can have on your body and your performance, and to be sure to get appropriate hydration. The heat index chart, which shows where the combination of heat and humidity becomes dangerous, is a great resource in determining whether it is a good idea to go outside to exercise.

Here are five helpful tips to keep you hydrated and healthy as you exercise outdoors this summer.

  1. Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest hours of the day (generally between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.). This will make for a more comfortable training session and decrease your likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
  2. Carry water with you during your workout. Not only should you drink water in the few hours leading up to your workout, but you need to be drinking water during the workout as well. It is recommended to drink a cup of fluid every 15 minutes during your exercise session.
  3. Replace the fluid that you have lost. A good rule of thumb is to drink two cups of fluid for every pound that you lost due to water loss during the activity. If you have weight-loss goals, don’t be fooled into thinking that the weight you lost during the workout is a good thing. It is just water weight.
  4. Recognize if you are dehydrated. There are many symptoms that determine if you are becoming 153736610dehydrated, including feeling thirsty, tired, or dizzy; having a headache; and having dark-colored urine, to name a few. If you start to experience these side effects, you must rehydrate yourself before the situation becomes a medical emergency. Do not try to continue exercise if you feel you are becoming dehydrated!
  5. Be aware of hyponatremia! This occurs when you are consuming more fluid than you need during an activity, resulting in a low level of sodium in the bloodstream. Consuming a sports beverage rather than water during endurance activities can be beneficial to you if you experience this.

If you are looking for a half or full marathon training program for this fall, consider joining the NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete in the Monumental Marathon on November 7, 2015 in Indianapolis.


This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise summer hydration endurance outdoors safety

10 Ways to Survive Your Long Run During Half Marathon Training

It’s Mini-Marathon training time, which means thousands of people are logging miles to prepare for the big day. The NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is holding strong as we meet together each Wednesday night to complete the long run scheduled for the week.

If you have trained for a half marathon, you know that sometimes simply logging the miles can bemarathon training a hefty task. If this is your first time training for a half marathon, and the thought of running 10-plus miles seems a bit daunting, you are not alone.

Distance running is difficult, but it is not impossible. I have compiled a list of 10 things that keep me going when I am logging the miles, which will hopefully make your long run successful, too.

  1. Plan. Put this long run into your schedule and set yourself up for success. If you know that your long run is tomorrow, do what you need to do to enjoy the run the following day. Things like going to bed early and drinking lots of water may be helpful, while going out and partying with your friends may not be quite as helpful.
  2. Run somewhere you LIKE to run. I get it, running 10 miles can seem a bit monotonous at times. Some days I prefer to do my long runs through town so I can look in all the shop windows and be around a lot of people. But other times I choose to run in areas with much more beautiful, natural scenery. It doesn’t matter where, just pick a place that you will enjoy for a couple of hours at a time.
  3. Recruit a friend or have a friend meet you midway for a few miles.mini marathon training Sometimes when I am running by myself, a little voice inside my head starts to doubt that I can finish the long run I set out to complete. When I bring a friend along with me, she encourages me the entire way…even if she doesn't know it! Sometimes, just knowing someone else is running with me really helps me push through.
  4. Imagine your post-race or post-run reward. Is it a massage? A manicure? A shopping trip? Frozen yogurt? (Frozen yogurt is often a favorite reward of mine!) A really yummy dinner? Whatever it is, imagine that reward and I promise it will make your feet and legs push to the distance you set out to complete.
  5. Create a special running playlist. Music moves and motivates me, and it always seems that the perfect song starts blaring into my headphones as I reach a really steep hill at mile seven, or when I feel like giving up. It also helps me get lost and kind of forget what I am doing, which takes some of the pain away from my legs and feet! I am so serious about my music that I created a special running playlist and listen to it only while running. That way, the songs stay special and never get old.
  6. Think of a motivational mantra to keep you going. When the going gets tough, I always tell myself that this is all mental. Another mantra that keeps me going is, “You are stronger than you think you are.” Find something that works for you to keep in mind while training for your race.
  7. Mentally break up the run. If I am running 12 miles, I think of it as three 4-mile runs to make the distance seem much more achievable. Another trick I do is plan an out and back. If I am running a 10-mile run, breaking it down to 5 miles out and then 5 miles home really helps me push through.
  8. Compare the time you are running to something else you do for that same amount of time. This is probably one of my favorite things to do to help me get through a long run. I absolutely love group fitness, so I think of an hour-and-a-half run as a BODYPUMP class and a CXWORX class. It really helps me realize that the running time is totally doable.
  9. Imagine yourself on race day. Racing is emotional, at least for me it is. There is nothing that beats the feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment that I feel when I cross the finish line. For me, simply imagining that feeling is enough motivation to keep pushing through, even when the running gets tough.
  10. Think about something different each mile. This one takes a little preparation, but it can really do the trick and totally take your mind off of the distance of the run. Before you run, simply decide on the number of miles you are running, and on a piece of paper make a list of things to think about. For instance, you could write down five people you are thankful for if you are running five miles, all the things that are currently on your mind if you are running 26 miles, and the options are endless. Then place the piece of paper in a pocket or easily accessible area (maybe even in a plastic bag if you get sweaty!) and you have something to pull out if you need to take your mind off the run.

I hope you are able to use at least one of these tactics to log those miles as you train for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, or any other race you have in the future. Good luck with your training!

Written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness running mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs race endurance training mental focus

“Fight for Air Climb” Raises Money to Beat Lung Disease

Imagine the last time you ran up a few flights of stairs because you were running late to a Fight for Air Climbmeeting or were struck with a sudden burst of energy. Your legs probably began to tighten up and burn a little. Your heart rate suddenly climbs and you begin to consume more and more oxygen with every step. You have to, your body is craving oxygen to supply a rich blood flow to the working muscles so you can get to that meeting on time.

Now try to imagine that same climb up the stairs, but this time you have lung disease and you are unable to deliver that much-needed oxygen to your working body. I think it would be safe to say that you may be late to that meeting.

The Fight for Air Climb

The Fight for Air Climb is an event that can give you a taste of feeling unable to breathe while trying to get somewhere. This annual event, presented by the American Lung Association, helps raise money for lung disease research and educates people on the seriousness of this group of debilitating conditions.

The unique format is unlike any other race or fitness challenge out there. The site for this year’s event is the Chase Tower, and the challenge is to climb all 47 floors. If that’s not enough of a challenge for you to climb the tallest building in Indianapolis, do it twice or even three times for a total of 141 floors. There is a challenge for everyone.

A True Fitness ChallengeFight for Air Climb

I climbed my first event last year at the Regions Tower, made up of 35 floors, with a motivated and determined group from NIFS. Now I have run my fair share of half marathons, and even conquered a Tough Mudder, so I was pretty confident that this would be a challenge I could soar through. It wasn’t until I reached the 17th floor on my first run that I realized I was very much mistaken.

I took the Ultimate Challenge course and climbed the tower three times. It was about that time, halfway up on my first run, that I knew I was facing a mountain of a challenge (insert lame-joke rim shot here). It really is like no other feeling, midway up, and not being able to breathe very well at all and having 18 floors to go, plus 70 more. It really was like no other challenge I have ever faced.

Although the physical effort was immense, it did not compare to the empathy I felt for those who can barely walk around their homes without feeling this way. It’s for those individuals that we climb, because they can’t. It is so uplifting to see so many climb in hope of making the lives of those suffering from a lung disorder better by supporting the research needed to battle these conditions.

Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp

Last year, I also had the pleasure of helping train many of the individuals participating in the climb here at NIFS through our Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp. It was great to work with so many inspiring climbers all with a unique story of why they have decided to put their body through a grueling challenge. Many of them have loved ones battling a lung disease or have lost someone to the same battle. No matter the details of the story, there was always a consistent message: “Let’s climb for those who can’t.” 

The American Lung Association and NIFS have joined together to bring participants a FREE training program for the climb. You do NOT need to be a member of NIFS to participate, you just need to be registered for the The Fight for Air Climb event.

Tony Maloney is NIFS Fitness Center Manager and leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at NIFS Elite. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.


Topics: NIFS cardio running step group training challenge boot camp endurance training disease prevention

Join the Zumba® Party at NIFS!

Zumba® is a cardio-based class based on Latin dance styles such as Merengue, Salsa, Reggaeton, and Cumbia. While the majority of the class uses Latin songs, Zumba supports cultural unity and can also use songs of hip-hop, bellydance, soca, or even tribal origins.Zumba

It is a high-energy class with a unique teaching style. The instructor rarely uses verbal cues, and instead cues the next fitness dance movement with facial expressions, hand gestures, or body movements, again promoting cultural unity because anyone can take part in the class regardless of language.

What to Expect from Zumba

Zumba can be adapted for all fitness levels and dance backgrounds, and challenges both the body and the mind. As a first-time student, it is normal to feel unaccustomed to some movements during the class. However, movements become more fluid at a very quick rate with every class thereafter. Students begin to learn patterns in the songs and their bodies begin to move gracefully. In class, you should expect to feel confident yet challenged, surprised at how quickly the 60 minutes passed, and rejuvenated after class!

Why I Zumba

I have been instructing Zumba classes for more than three years. I always say that I am so lucky to be an instructor because I look forward to coming to class each time. Even on long, tiring days, I always leave class feeling better than before. On a personal level, I simply love to dance and move as much as possible. I have also grown to love the Latin music that I use in class, and more often than not, am listening to it in the car or at home.zumba teaching

As an instructor, Zumba is a rewarding class for me to teach. I have watched many students come in the first day unsure of themselves, and have had the pleasure of watching them grow into confident dancers who stand at the front and practically lead the class themselves! Students become engrossed in Zumba, creating their own song playlists at home, purchasing Zumba athletic wear, dancing at Latin night clubs, and requesting songs for class.

Together, my students and I form supportive relationships. Their dedication and enthusiasm in class drives me to create new and challenging choreography routines, learn new styles of dance that might be specific to their nationality, and incorporate aspects of wellness that they need most, such as stretching or core strength. Seeing their smiles and faces light up when a favorite song comes on keeps me energized throughout class, even though instructing is still a hard workout even for me! We laugh at our mistakes in class and move on to the next song, and students gain the confidence to put their own flair into movements.

Zumba is offered in 151 countries with over 14 million people participating in classes worldwide. With numbers like those, there’s no reason not to Ditch the Workout, and Join the Party!™

If you like to move to fast, upbeat music or would like to improve your cardio endurance, balance, strength, and agility, come to NIFS and try a Zumba class for Free!

This blog was written by Marcy Kerr, a Zumba®-certified group fitness instructor at NIFS. Meet our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: exercise cardio fitness center group fitness balance endurance Zumba