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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Use Prehab Exercises to Improve Athletic Performance and Health

To potentially prevent future injuries, you can use prehab exercises to bomb-proof your body. The overall goal of prehab exercises is to increase durability in your physical activities with better-quality movements, which will improve your performance and overall health.

How Prefab Exercises Help

As a planned part of your exercise routine, prehab exercises will help with mobility, activation, and stabilization:

  • MOBILITY is the process of collectively improving your flexibility.
  • ACTIVATION is the process of causing controlled contractions or trying to “turn on” specific underactivated muscle groups to fire.
  • STABILIZATION is the process of generating coordination, or to control movement.

Videos of Prefab Exercises

The videos I’ve added are a few of my favorite routines to do with athletes before workouts begin. The goal is to strengthen and mobilize joints (such as shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows) as well as help practice movements you do during workouts and everyday life. Depending on your workout for the day, I’ve included samples of full-body, upper, and lower routines that I use with athletes regularly.

Full-Body Prehab Exercise Video

Full Body Prehab Exercises

Upper-Body Prehab Exercise Video

Upper Body Prehab Standing-I, Y, T, Ws and Scap Taps

Lower-Body Prehab Exercise Video

Lower Body Prehab Exercises

Practice is the key to all these prehab exercise movements. Work on the exercises that you find the most challenging and develop a body that will be mobile, strong, and stable for many workouts to come.

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This blog was written by Michael Blume, MS, SCCC; Athletic Performance Coach. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercises videos mobility joints movement stability prehab

Practicing Self-Care: It’s More Than Just Healthy Eating

GettyImages-1238998139In today’s busy world, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner. When there are seemingly endless deadlines at work that must be met, household chores to tackle, and a calendar that is jam-packed it can be extremely difficult to even think about taking time out for ourselves. This is why we must take just a few minutes out of our days. And, as Millennial as it may sound, we need to begin to give some love to ourselves so that we not only exist, but live life to the fullest.

Why Is Self-care Important?

There are many reasons to take care of yourself:

  • Increase self-worth: Confidence, self-esteem, and feeling positive emotions about yourself can do wonders for you and those around you.
  • Reduce stress: Constant stress can take a huge toll on your mind and body.
  • Achieve work-life balance: You may find taking small breaks out of the day to focus on yourself not only helps you focus better on the task at hand, but also puts joy back into life outside of work.
  • Improve physical health: There is no question that self-care is good for you mentally, but it’s important physically as well. Getting better sleep, eating more healthfully, being more active—all deliver numerous physical benefits.

As a dietitian, nutrition is one aspect of self-care that is extremely important to me. For some, this could mean eating a little dark chocolate every night, buying a new water bottle to drink ice-cold water all day, or making a smoothie every morning in place of the usual breakfast.

Ways to Care for Yourself

But what are some other ways you can practice self-care that aren’t nutrition-related?

  • Call a loved one to chat for a few minutes.
  • Practice saying “no” to avoid overextending yourself. (On the other hand, practice saying “yes” if you feel that a healthy dose of socializing would be good!)
  • Take a stroll midday or once you get home—no matter the weather—and listen to an audiobook.
  • Take deep, cleaning breaths—in through the nose, out through the mouth—before bed.
  • Journal at the end of the day, even if it’s just a few quick notes.
  • Sip a glass of hot tea and stare out the window.
  • Listen to your favorite music while you take a hot shower or bath.
  • Go get a massage.
  • Sign up for a painting class with a friend.
  • Book one of the less-expensive midweek flights to Florida for some sunshine.
  • Visit the new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
  • Take a drive with the windows down and music blasting (once it has warmed up).
  • Visit a library and get lost reading a good book.
  • Declutter your room and make your bed.
  • Work on a puzzle or a coloring book.

Try to think of easy ways to practice self-care on your own. Items on this list might be relaxing for one person but could be a total nightmare for another. There is no right or wrong way to go about self-care. Just do what makes you happy. And remember, self-care is not indulgent. It is a must and it matters. Make sure some of your self-care techniques are easy to start and just take a few minutes of your day so that you can incorporate them into your daily schedule consistently.

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This blog was written by Lindsey Hehman, MA, RD, CD. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating stress relief self-care self-esteem work-life balance

Get Started with Group Fitness to Improve Your Mental Health

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 1.33.39 PMPicture this: It’s the last 10 minutes of your favorite group fitness class on the NIFS Fitness Center’s basketball court. You have already completed dozens of repetitions of strength-training exercises and now it’s time for a cardio finisher. You are sweating, tired, and ready to be done, but you keep going. You are so close… it’s the final 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 seconds of cardio, and you made it. Wow, you feel exhausted, but accomplished. Your body is tired, but mentally you are at ease. Why does exercise make your mind feel so good?

Mental Health Benefits of Group Exercise

Exercise has many perks that are relevant to daily life, but focusing on mental health, exercise has loads of benefits.

  • Exercise increases the blood supply to your brain. More blood means more oxygen and more nutrients.
  • Exercise works as a distraction. When you’re working out and pushing yourself, the things that usually occupy your mind to make you anxious are not the main focus.
  • Exercise helps you sleep. Pushing yourself daily in a workout can help you regulate your sleep cycle.
  • Exercise reduces tension. Moving your body in a workout can help relieve the tension built up from stress.
  • Exercise boosts your overall energy. Yes, working out makes you tired, but it also releases endorphins that boost your mood, memory, and energy level.

Getting Started with Group Fitness

Now that you know some of the benefits of exercise, how can you get started on improving your mental health with group fitness?

If you do not regularly attend group fitness classes, start slow. Set a target of one or two classes to attend a week. It’s important not to push yourself too hard by trying to attend a class every day of one week, causing you to be burnt out or unmotivated to go the next week. The main objective for you is to set an attainable goal for several classes to attend weekly and then gradually increase your weekly participation once you are comfortable.

Don’t be afraid to mix up the formats. At this point, any exercise led by our instructors will be good for you. Try out formats that you have never tried before, or even try a format you have enjoyed in the past with a new instructor. Mix it up!

The key to success within group fitness is to find formats that you enjoy with instructors that you look forward to going to. After all, attending a class that you dread is not going to be beneficial for your mental health. The more consistent you get with your workout attendance, the more constant the benefits will be.  

Group Fitness at NIFS

Come join us in our group fitness community. NIFS has a wide variety of group fitness offerings, so you are sure to find a class to boost your mood, increase your energy, and improve your mental health.

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This blog was written by Payton Gross, Group Fitness Coordinator and Barre Above Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center group fitness group training emotional mental health

The Three P’s of Group Fitness at NIFS

bootcamp-outsideGroup fitness classes are fitting for many people because the classes provide participants with predetermined workouts led by highly motivated instructors in a group setting. The niche of group fitness is constantly evolving. Classes in the category of group fitness look a lot different than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Not only do the classes look different, but they are more diverse than ever. Many participants use group fitness as supplementation for a typical workout at the gym because all you have to do is show up. Ease of participation coupled with the accountability of other members makes group fitness classes a unique environment.

NIFS takes pride in its group fitness offerings. This is why I want to share a little more about the three P’s our instructors prioritize in every class.

Prioritizing Purposeful Education

Educating members by encouraging them to attend workouts in complementary categories to get the most from their workouts while protecting their bodies.  

Group fitness classes are goal-oriented. No matter the format, every class has a goal that falls into one of these categories: endurance, strength, flexibility, or toning. A balanced group fitness schedule for a participant could look like this:

  • Monday: Les Mills Core and BODYATTACK Express
  • Tuesday: Cycling
  • Wednesday: Vinyasa Yoga
  • Thursday: Interval Training and Les Mills Core
  • Friday: Yoga
  • Saturday: Cycling

Group Fitness Schedule

Prioritizing Positive Experiences

Group fitness is a community. Studies have shown when you work out with others, there is a level of trust formed that enables people to be vulnerable and push each other to reach fitness goals. 

Encouragement within the group emphasizing small victories within classes makes the environment positive for participants. Our main goal is to make sure everyone feels good after their workout here at NIFS.

Prioritizing Participation

Group fitness cannot be group fitness without a group. NIFS instructors make participant needs and wants a priority. If a class time is not working to maximize participation, we edit it. Monthly revisions to the schedule are common to test and try class times and formats. 

Whatever works for participants, works with us. Additionally, these are unprecedented times; this is why a majority of our classes take place on the basketball court. We know how important mirrors are when checking form in group fitness classes, so we bought safe, glassless mirrors specifically for group fitness. Participation is the heart of group fitness, so the more the better. Come join us!

Come work out with us. Joining is easy, and once you’ve committed, the community is for a lifetime.

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This blog was written by Payton Gross, Group Fitness Coordinator and Barre Above Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center motivation group fitness accountability Les Mills education