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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Acting Out: Make Changes for Health and Fitness (Not Excuses)

ThinkstockPhotos-589558764.jpegOf the many lessons that the recent events have provided, one that stands out to me is that anybody can be anything if they take action and pursue it. Establishing goals and setting your mind to accomplishing certain outcomes is important, don’t get me wrong, but action is what ultimately will create change in any aspect of your life.

A rather large pet peeve of mine (I know I have a few) is the behavior of being the first and loudest to complain about something and being the last to do something about it. That is not inspirational, and is a weak character trait, in my opinion. More importantly, individuals who exhibit this approach to life are usually the unhappiest. In my experiences on this planet, the happiest and most successful people are those who take action and make changes, and not excuses.

Questions for Health and Happiness

So here are some questions I feel you should ask yourself if you are currently not as happy and healthy as you hope to be, followed by actions that you can take to help right the ship and have the life you have always dreamed of having.

Question: Are you tired most days?

ACTION: Get more sleep! Turn off the TV and tablets and aim for 7 to 8 hours of good sleep every night (including the weekends).

Question: Are you hungry?

ACTION: Eat real food! Enjoy food that is close to its source and is nutrient dense, not calorie dense.

Question: Are you stressed out?

ACTION: Plan better, implement strong time-management strategies, and devote 80% of your energy toward the top 20% of what is most important to you.

Question: Are you unhappy with your current body composition?

ACTION: See the second ACTION and exercise! Eat the majority of your calories from lean protein foods and vegetables, eat slowly, and remove processed items from your menu. Move every day for at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity, lift heavy things, and sprint once in a while. Keep it simple, and keep it consistent!

Question: Do you say to yourself “I don’t have enough time to be happy and healthy”?

ACTION: Get up early! Stop hitting the snooze button and hit the floor running! There are 24 hours in a day; subtract 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of work and you have 8 hours remaining. That is a lot of time to prep food, work out, read, spend time with your family, improve your home, and improve yourself. You can get a lot done in 8 hours if you take ACTION and not find ways to waste it.

Question: Are you unhappy in your relationships?

ACTION: First of all, change your circle and remove those who are toxic to you and your life. Second, make more deposits in the emotional bank accounts of those strong and positive relationships and stop withdrawing from them. Examples of withdrawals from these accounts are being untruthful, being late, insults, being undependable, and being hateful. Deposits are going out of your way to show someone you care, sharing, inspiring, and spending time with them. Building powerful relationships in your life is very important, so keep a surplus in those emotional bank accounts.

Question: Do you have a negative attitude about most things?

ACTION: Develop a positive and dynamic mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. In a recent blog, I stressed the importance of mindset as it relates to change. If your unconscious story is a negative one, filled with self-pity and excuses for things being the way that they are, your conscious mind will simply carry out that negative story. Dive deep and analyze your story through journaling, counseling, and other strategies to write a more positive story of yourself and rid yourself of self-imposed perceptions that are holding you back.

Question: Are you ready for a change?

ACTION: Stop talking about it, and take ACTION!

Time to Do Something for Your Health and Fitness

So here’s the bottom line: To create change, you have to get up and take ACTION to get it done! No more talking about it; it’s time to do something about it. If health and fitness is an item on your action list, contact one of our outstanding instructors here at NIFS to help guide your way with an assessment and a personal fitness program and take ACTION toward a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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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 fitness goal setting health assessments mindset lifestyle happiness making changes

NIFS Lifestyle Rx Program Member Robyn Britt


Thanksgiving has come and gone and its time to look forward to the holiday season that is fast approaching! What better way to start, and save some cash, than with NIFS’ 9th Annual Online Auction! The Online Auction was created to help sustain scholarship opportunities for some of the members of the NIFS Lifestyle Rx Program.

The Lifestyle Rx Program provides extra guidance and observation to individuals with chronic medical concerns. A NIFS’s Lifestyle Coordinator communicates with the participant’s physician and helps plan workouts geared to his or her specific medical needs. The scholarship component of the program is determined on a needs basis and allows for some participants who are unable to work, due to their physical limitations, to come in and get the help and guidance they need at NIFS.

I would like to highlight a current member of the Lifestyle Rx Program, Robyn Britt. Please take a few moments to watch the video and listen to Robyn's journey!


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Auction Information

Our Online Auction begins Friday November 25 and runs through Monday December 19 at 11:00pm. There are a lot of great items that everyone can enjoy so be sure to get your bid on today!

AuctionImage.jpgFor questions about the Lifestyle Rx Program please contact Rebecca Newbrough at 317-274-3432 ext. 263  [email protected].

This blog was written by Rebecca Newbrough, Lifestyle Program Coordinator and Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.


 

Topics: exercise motivation weight loss member NIFS programs health lifestyle

Goal Setting: What’s on Your Fitness Bucket List?

Do you have a bucket list? Your bucket list includes many dreams and aspirations that may be obtainable but take some effort on your part to complete. Items on a bucket list could include (but are not limited to) visiting other parts of the world, furthering your education, and even going to see your favorite musical artist in concert. All of these things are great, but how can you create a bucket list of ideas for your health and wellness? The answer may or may not come to you right away, but given a little thought and strategy, you can begin a good, realistic fitness bucket list.

Setting Your Fitness Goals

ThinkstockPhotos-497641362.jpgMy fitness bucket list was created using SMART goals. SMART goals were first developed in the early 1980s by George Doran in Management Review magazine as a way to be more effective in goal-setting strategy situations. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound. To tie this in with your bucket list, think about goals that may be a little adventurous or challenging, but not too easy. I would avoid having goals such as “go to the gym” and “stop eating cake” and include goals such as “climb Machu Picchu by the time I’m 40 years old” and “complete a marathon in less than two hours.”

What are your dreams and aspirations? Including fitness and wellness goals on your bucket list can have a positive impact on your health. Keep it fun and don’t forget about your short-term goals as a barometer to determine whether you are progressing toward completing your bucket list objective.

Get Help from a NIFS Personal Trainer

So, create your bucket list today. Refer to a NIFS HFS or personal trainer for assistance in taking the right, necessary steps toward your goals. Although your list can be private, sharing it with others can help hold you accountable. If you are comfortable in doing so, please share 1, 2, or 3 of your bucket list items below.

As always, muscleheads evolve and rejoice.

***

Set your goals and get started! Schedule a free fitness assessment with a NIFS Trainer!

Free Fitness Assessment

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

Topics: NIFS fitness Thomas' Corner goal setting health personal training wellness

A Smartphone App for Health and Medical Emergencies

ThinkstockPhotos-187209893-new.jpgWith the rapid development of technology, apps for our smartphones are grabbing our attention. In the growing world of hands and eyes being permanently glued to the cell phone, I have to admit that it’s not all bad! Some of our staff here at NIFS would add to the list of helpful apps one that could be a potential lifesaver—it’s called ICE.

An App That Gives Emergency Medical Information

ICE, which stands for “In Case of Emergency,” is a smartphone app that allows a rescuer, doctor, or first responder to access helpful emergency information. Even if the screen is locked with a security password or touch ID thumbprint, the ICE information can be accessed. This app was developed following 2005 Vodafone research, which showed that less than 25% of people have on hand any sort of details about who they would like contacted in the event of an emergency. On top of telling responders who should be contacted in an emergency, the ICE app also gives information about medical issues, diseases, allergies, and medications that an individual may be on.

ICE Helps Save a Life at NIFS

bruno.jpgMy first thought after discovering what this was all about was, “Okay, that sounds kind of cool, but that’s a lot of personal information potentially being displayed for all to see if they got ahold of my phone.” But in early February, an emergency event occurred in the NIFS fitness center.

One of our longtime members experienced a cardiac emergency while running on the treadmill. After our staff analyzed the situation and followed emergency protocol, someone saw his phone and decided to take a quick look to see whether he had the ICE app. And sure enough, when our employee swiped across the screen, the emergency information came across, making the responders aware of a previous heart condition and replaced heart valve, which in turn caused his heart to stop. Today, we can gratefully say that after CPR, shocks from the AED, and the help of EMS, this individual is living and well; hands down we can attribute part of that success to knowing his previous medical history because he had the ICE app on his smartphone.

Get the App

If you do not currently have this on your phone, I would encourage you to get it. If you have an iPhone, you can download it through the App Store, or if you are an Android user you can access it through Google Play. Allow your family to rest secure; whether or not you have a medical condition, your emergency contact info can be reached far faster with the ICE app.

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

Topics: NIFS fitness center health technology medical emergency apps

How Stress Affects the Body and Your Health

ThinkstockPhotos-164471602.jpgThere are so many things in life that can affect different aspects of the human body, and stress is one of the biggest! During a stressful time in life, the body can undergo several physiological changes that can be detrimental to your overall health. Though sometimes we cannot avoid certain stressors that fall into our path of life, there are some things that can be done to help you cope during those times.

What Stress Can Do to You

Let’s take a look first at how stress affects the body.

  • Sleep: Stress disturbs sleep routines, typically making it hard to fall asleep as the mind wanders, tossing and turning, and constant interrupted rest.
  • Upset stomach: Another effect is having a constant feeling of being queasy or nervous.
  • Loss of appetite: Along with having an upset stomach, loss of appetite comes with either consistent or high levels of stress.
  • Rash: Stress can cause hives, which are a type of skin rash. Be sure during stressful times to take care of your skin by washing and moisturizing.
  • Change in eye pressure: When under high amounts of stress, the pressure of your eyes can change, causing something called ocular hypertension, which affects your vision.
  • Increase in blood pressure: Whether it’s short-term or long-term stress, spikes in your blood pressure can be detrimental to your overall heart health.
  • Increase in resting heart rate: The number of times your heart beats per minute can increase with stress levels and cause your heart to work harder than it normally would.
  • Weight loss: Excessive weight loss can come with stress as your body loses its desire to eat.
  • Chronic headaches: Anxiety and stress can increase the amount of headaches you get, as well as the intensity.
  • Back pain: Each person holds stress in their body in different places, oftentimes residing in the back and neck muscles, making it painful to move.
  • Sweating: Stress triggers sweat glands to become more active, causing you to break out in cold sweats (like you are nervous).
  • Tremors: Sudden twitches or tremors can be caused by stress, resulting in the contraction or continuous spasm of the muscles.
  • Bowel issues: One way or the other, bowel issues can happen when under stress.

Overcoming Stress

Now, I know that sometimes stress is out of our control, but when those times come there is something we can do about it. Exercise is one of the proven ways to keep stress levels low. If you are feeling stressed out, try coming to the gym or fitness center to workout, run or walk, do yoga, or whatever you like to do to help you decompress. 

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

Topics: exercise fitness center stress health

“Sir! Yes Sir! May I Have Another?” The Militarization of Fitness

200069247-001There is a fitness trend that has been bothering me for a long time, and in recent years it has gotten exponentially worse. There are exercise programs that have actually declared war on the human body, and by doing so, have widened the gap further between health and fitness.

I know that they are commonly linked, but please understand that health and fitness are not the same thing. You can have very healthy biomarkers and still be unfit. Likewise, you can have tremendous strength or outrageous endurance and be very unhealthy.

The Trend of Intense, Dangerous Workouts

This current version of “beating the body into submission” by the evil triumvirate of ego, willpower, and ignorance started with the media marketing experiment of P90X and its search for the limits of stupidity that people would pay for. At about the same time, there was the appearance of neighborhood boot camps that were conducted on strip mall parking lots and/or any available piece of grass that no one would be chased off of, led by unqualified trainers out to make a quick buck by riding the trend of selling pain to the fitness gullible. And then came the growth of CrossFit and its many copies selling to the male ego: SWAT Team, MMA, and Special Ops–inspired training so that “You can be the man!”

The common theme of this period is finding the limits of discomfort that the public can be convinced to invest their time, energy, and money into by marketing to the ego’s desire for quick and nearly impossible change by violating the basic laws of human biology and twisting logic to arrive at “the-end-justifies-the-means” training: No Pain, No Gain! Train to Failure. Train Hard or Go Home!

Currently, we have a cultural fitness myth that is doomed to fail because it is not sustainable. The human body cannot live on the “edge” for long without breaking down. The changes we desire actually occur during recovery as a result of proper exercise stimulus. More stimulus is not better; it is just more, and too much can retard recovery and greatly increase the risk of injury.

Jonathan Angelili wrote a very thoughtful blog published on Greatist titled, “The Massive Fitness Trend That’s Not Actually Healthy at All,” where he states that the fitness industry has come to “glorify exercise as an all-out war on the body.” Instead of living within our bodies and having fitness and health evolve naturally, the ego/mind plays the role of sadistic coach intent on whipping the lazy body to reach some arbitrary goal as quickly as possible, at which time another arbitrary goal is launched, so the beatings continue.

P90X, boot camps, and CrossFit didn’t create this antagonistic attitude toward the human body, but rather they simply took advantage of it. We, as a culture, have had a very long history of the mind being separated from the body and the belief that success, however you define it, must be chased down and wrestled to the ground at all cost, including the loss of health. The belief is “the more you want it, the more you must sacrifice to get it.” Sadly, way too many people are quite willing to sacrifice their health for what they have been convinced is The Standard for Fitness, not realizing that health and fitness can be diametrically opposed.

Pain Is a Great Teacher!

Punch a shark long enough in the nose and it will eventually bite you. Living on the extreme edge of training because it makes the ego feel special and supported by the mistaken beliefs that more is better and more often is better yet, a breakdown is inevitable. If you want to put a smiley face on this situation, pain is a great teacher.

Pain gets your attention in a way that nothing else can. Movement can no longer continue without a constant reminder that something is very wrong, and more than likely, you are responsible.

The mindset that led to the pain happening in the first place will begin by muscling on: icing, taking OTC pain relievers, and even metaphorically just “rubbing dirt on it.” You know, just suck it up and move on. Next will come a quick trip to a doctor for the next level up pain relief so that the same training can continue without missing a beat. If none of that works, then comes the specialist with X-rays, MRIs, PT, and possible surgery. That same training that got you here has stopped and the search begins for “what can I do now?”

Like a shop teacher accidentally cutting off his fingers with a band saw: Oops! At least, you’re helping the medical economy.

There is inherent risk in exercising. Most waiver forms state that exercise can even cause death, extremely rare but still possible, but the injuries I’m referring to come under the heading of “Can Be and Should Be Avoided” with an eye toward injury prevention.

Reasonable goals, properly designed workout programs, and just some plain common sense can go a long way to safely reaching your goals with few injury setbacks. If you are involved in fitness for the long haul, these three elements can lead to an enjoyable life of fitness and health.

Just ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is what I’m doing striving toward health and fitness?
  2. Am I learning to live within my body and experiencing greater joy while on this journey?

If your answers are yes, cool, you’re on your way.

If your answers are no, then “Sir! Yes Sir! May I Have Another!”

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

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Topics: fitness injury prevention challenge boot camp overtraining health injuries pain fitness trends CrossFit

NIFS Lifestyle Program’s 6th Annual Silent Auction

It’s that time of year: the holidays are just around the corner, which means NIFS is hosting the Lifestyle6th annual Lifestyle Program Silent Auction.

The Lifestyle Program serves individuals who have a chronic condition and need extra guidance, education, and assistance with living a healthy lifestyle. This includes individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, COPD, neurological disease, and cancer, to name a few. Members of this program are taught how to manage and prevent progression of their condition through exercise in conjunction with their physician’s recommendations. Our goal is to help participants progress to independence and maintain optimal health. Because of this program, many participants are successfully living with heart and kidney transplants, neurological disorders, and pulmonary disease.

“Being a part of this program has improved my overall health. It is a great way to start BIDmy morning by getting up and exercising, which helps me to feel good throughout the day.”

—Current Lifestyle Scholarship Participant

This auction funds the scholarship portion of the program, which allows individuals with chronic diseases or conditions in a financial hardship to work with NIFS staff members at little or no cost. This event wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations from companies and organizations on a local and national level. We want to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to St. Elmo Steak House, Green Mountain Coffee, AMC Theatres, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Segway Tours of Indiana, Redbox, and others still coming in!

To participate and see all of the items up for auction, you can visit the auction website. Bidding opens at 8:00am on Black Friday, November 29, and closes at 8pm on December 14. Bidders who place the highest bid will win the item. Last year, the auction raised nearly $1,000 and we can’t thank those who participated enough for their kindness and generosity! We hope to make this year as successful (or more!) Let the bidding begin!

If you or someone you know might be interested in the Lifestyle Program or have any questions about the auction, please contact Stephanie at [email protected].

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. To meet the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS programs health diabetes disease prevention

A Deep-Breathing Exercise for Stress Management

Do you ever stop to pay attention to your breath? Observe it now. Is it shallow? Is your inhale longer than your exhale? When we are stressed, we breathe more shallowly. When we relax, our breath deepens. What follows is a simple breathing technique that can help you lower your heart rate and manage your stress.

breathing for relaxation

Get into Position

Before you begin, check your posture. Often a slumped posture makes it more difficult to breathe deeply. Sit at the edge of a chair so that you can tilt your pelvis forward to bring the natural curve into your low back. Place both feet on the floor about five or six inches apart. Bring your head back so that it is in line with your spinal column.

Doing the Deep-Breathing Exercise

This exercise is a three-part breath used often in yoga classes. Follow these steps:

  1. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your ribcage. Observe your breath and state of mind.
  2. Now, begin to deepen your breath so that you feel your belly pushing out.
  3. Next, feel your ribcage expand.
  4. Finally, feel your collar bone lift up toward your chin. As you exhale, your collar bone lowers, your rib cage compresses, and your belly flattens.
  5. Try counting the inhale and exhale to make sure they are the same length. We tend to breathe more deeply on the inhale than the exhale.
  6. Breathe like this for a few minutes.
  7. Now, rest your hands on your lap. Again check in with your state of mind and your breath.

 Other Benefits of Deep Breathing

According to scientific research, deep breathing not only lowers stress and blood pressure but can also affect the brain, the immune system, and digestion. You should be able to feel the effects of this practice as it triggers your parasympathetic nervous system or relaxation response. To learn more about how breathing affects your mind, body, and spirit, click here.

Practice this breathing technique at one of our many Yoga classes at NIFS! Try a class for free today by requesting a Free Class Pass here!

Blog written by Laura Haehl, Yoga Instructor at NIFS. Meet our NIFS bloggers.

 

Topics: stress yoga health

NIFS Fitness: How to Dress for Running in Cold Weather

The weather in Indianapolis has been typical Indiana winter weather: COLD. Despite the near-freezing temperatures, the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is logging miles outside in preparation for May’s big race. Running or being active outside in temperatures that are fairly icy may seem dangerous, but with the proper gear and clothing, getting out of the gym can be a great way to switch up your typical training routine.

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Tom BonDurant, co-owner of the Runners Forum, spoke at the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program orientation, providing runners with tips and tricks for staying warm and safe when running in freezing temperatures.

Layering Is Key

Tom shared his favorite key pieces of running attire to
mix and match that meet varying weather conditions throughout the year.

Layer 1: The base layer. The base layer can be long sleeve or short sleeve and should be composed of a wicking fabric. The wicking fabric will keep the body drier, which will allow the runner to stay warmer.

Layer 2: The mid/thermal layer. This layer typically consists of a fleece-lined jacket that either zips all the way or is a half zip. The zip allows the jacket to cover the chin and mouth, but can also be zipped down for some extra ventilation if the runner begins to get warm.

Layer 3: Outer shell jacket. This jacket is going to keep the elements out. It should also have reflective material on it for easy visibility when running in the dark.

In addition to these three layers, it is important to have warm and comfortable running gear on the bottom such as fleece-lined running tights, socks, wind briefs (for the guys), a hat, and gloves. With these basic layers covered, you will be prepared for the elements and running outdoors at any time of the year.

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

 

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness winter fitness running marathon training mini marathon half marathon health outdoors safety