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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Summer Health Tips and Fitness Ideas

Summer is finally finding its way back to Indiana! If you haven’t already, it is time to get outside and get moving! Indianapolis provides an abundance of outdoor activities that work well for promoting healthy lifestyles.

Indianapolis Attractions for Active Fun

Here are five ways for people to be active in Indianapolis this summer:

  1. ThinkstockPhotos-185469754web.jpgPerhaps the hottest attraction promoting physical activity in downtown Indianapolis this year is the new Indiana Pacers Bikeshare. With 250 bikes around the downtown area at your disposal, enjoy a day of physical activity and sightseeing in downtown Indianapolis by renting a bike and taking it for a spin on one of the local trails. I personally enjoy riding the Cultural Trail down to Fountain Square, among the many trail options available right downtown.
  2. Rent a kayak and enjoy some time out on the water while earning some physical activity points! Kayaking is an excellent form of exercise that can be learned easily at any age and enjoyed at varying levels of fitness. If you have never been kayaking before, do not be intimidated. Kayaks are available to rent around the city, including in Eagle Creek Park.
  3. Try a triathlon! Any age is a good age to try a triathlon for the first time. Here at NIFS we host a training program geared toward completing the Eagle Creek Sprint Triathlon for women both new and veteran to the sport. One of our participants was 68 years old when she completed her first triathlon with success!
  4. Take your kids or grandkids to the park and play. Being active with young children is great for everyone and is an excellent way for you to sneak in some physical activity. Consider that you may not be able to keep up with all of the moves that the kids are doing and stay within your capabilities while participating in the activities that they are doing.
  5. Consider training for a road race! You don’t have to be a top-notch runner to go out and try to run or walk your first 5K or marathon. NIFS is hosting a marathon training program geared toward completing the monumental marathon for those of you who have ever considered running a marathon. It is never too late to check that goal off your bucket list!

Health Tips to Keep in Mind

Being active in the outdoors during the summer adds another level of concern that you should keep in mind when selecting and preparing for your outdoor fitness activities.

  1. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your time spent outdoors. With the heat and humidity that come along with the Indiana summer, your body will lose the water that it needs at a rapid pace. Drink-waterDehydration can lead to heat illnesses, so it is important to stay hydrated and drink water even if you do not feel like you are thirsty. Read more about this in our 5 Tips to Staying Hydrated While you Exercise this Summer blog.
  2. Be cautious of extreme temperatures and avoid being outside for extended periods of time during these times. Hot temperatures can be dangerous, even if you are not exercising, so save your outdoor physical activities for later in the evening or earlier in the morning when the temperature is cooler and the sun is not beating down on your back.
  3. Wearing clothing that is lightweight, light in color, loose fitting, and moisture wicking will help you to stay cooler in warmer conditions.
  4. Apply sunscreen when you know that you will be outside. Whether you are working in the yard, walking the dog, or playing a round of golf, the sun has the same impact, so apply sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin.

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

NIFS new Fall Marathon Training Program begins July 20th-November 2. Get Registered Today!

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Topics: NIFS staying active fitness center triathlon NIFS programs summer hydration Indianapolis

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Getting Started

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Getting Started

by NIFS Personal Trainer Kris Simpsondescribe the image

Who Says That 40+ Women Can't Be Fit?

This four-part blog (and "vlog") series looks at what happens to women as we get into our fourth decade. As you see the scale creep higher and the clothes fit tighter, you know something must be done—now!

I will include both blogs and videos, giving you information and showing you ways to become FIT and FABULOUS into your 40's and beyond. Look for each part in the series to be posted weekly each Thursday. Subscribe to our blog so you don't miss an installment!

So What's Changing?

When we hit the big 4-0 the loss of muscle and decrease in metabolism seem to go hand in hand. Of course this varies for each person but some sources claim that your metabolism can decrease by up to 5% every 10 years once you hit 40. That means you have to eat fewer and fewer calories every year just to maintain the same weight.

As you edge closer to 40, you face the realization that workouts are not something you do or don’t do; they become what you need to do. You are starting to get into your routine: family, work, and social commitments, which invade your me time. You need to carve out some time for you, but it does not need to be long hours on the treadmill.

Getting Started the Right Way

(Before starting any workout program, get a checkup from your doctor.)

Just some basics here. Get good gear: shoes, sports bra, and comfortable, breathable shorts and top. The key is your shoes; your feet need to have support for the work you will be doing. The biggest mistake I see with new clients is old, broken down, poor-fitting shoes. If you are going to be running, get running shoes. If walking, get walking shoes. If you are doing strength and interval workouts, get a shoe that allows for side movements (like a court shoe). For most who have worn high heels or tight, ill-fitting dress shoes in the name of looking fabulous, the minimal (or barefoot) shoes will not give you enough support and could lead to injuries.

Also, don’t pay top prices for shoes. Look through the clearance section and buy some that you like the look of (this is a great motivator), that feel great on your feet walking around the store (bring workout socks), and are within your budget.

Sports bras are just a necessary evil, so buy a good one! If you have a difficult time with sizes and support level, look into online companies.

Shorts and tops should be made from breathable and comfortable material to help you move through the workout without getting in the way. Plus you can get designs and colors that can encourage you to get moving. These items can be bought off the clearance racks as well.

Start with Measurements To Track Your Progress

Getting fit is a process. Changing poor habits to better ones, at times, can seem long and slow. Remember you did not gain the extra 20, 30, 40lbs in a week so you won’t lose it that fast either. By taking measurements you can gain encouragement by results, even if the scale doesn’t show it.

Watch my video now on the right way to take measurements. This is an important step in getting started so don't skip it! Tracking your progress will help you see the changes and will also keep you movitated when you need it most.


 

The changes you start making will need to be life-long. If you can make small modifications, it will lead you to a healthier and happier you. I look forward to challenging you in this series to be your best at 40 and beyond!

To schedule a Bod Pod fitness assessment (mentioned in the video), click here for more information.

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. If you have questions about something in this series or would like to schedule an appointment with Kris please contact her at 317-274-3432 or email. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness staying active motivation goal setting running walking equipment

Finding Balance in Your Life

So I have a question for you: How is your “balance”? I’m not referring to your single-leg stand on the BOSU. I’m referring to the balance in your life. The juggling act of all the responsibilities and the people we are responsible for and to can be as if we upgraded from simple juggling balls to flaming knives.Work life balance

Sometimes I think of that line in the movie Fight Club, when Brad Pitt’s character says to Ed Norton, “Things you own, end up owning you.” For me, it is my career that at times owns me, and tends to monopolize my focus and energy. The balance among work, rest, play, and spiritual wellness is a crucial one, and it does take some juggling at times to ensure that proper balance.

Legendary coach Dan John puts it best that if you have to work more (say, your busy time of the year), you must plan to rest more, play more, and spend more time developing spiritually (this could be religion, alone time, meditation, etc.). As you expand each facet of your life to ensure the proper balance, you too should expand. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? If you work more to complete an important project at work and increase your rest time revolving around solid sleep patterns, you will increase the benefits of great sleep. Expanding work and rest will then lead to more play time, resulting in better moods and perception.

Lastly, expanding the preceding three facets of your life will result in you spending more time expanding your spirituality. Now this is different for everybody. For me, it is alone time where I develop both personally and professionally. Or it is a long walk with my wife, Teri, and our Snorkie dog named Traveler. What is it for you? I feel to be the best “YOU” that you can be, all other facets of your life must lead you to a strong and centered spiritual sense that must involve a close relationship with the ones you love the most.

I came across a survey years ago, and if it has stuck with me for this long it is probably worth repeating. The survey polled 100 senior citizens about what they would do differently if they could do it all over again. Here were their top 3 answers:

  1. Laugh more
  2. Spend more time with loved ones
  3. Take more risks

As you look at your current balancing act, would those three be on your list later in life? Sometimes you need reminding of what is truly important in your lives. THIS IS YOUR REMINDER! Spend time with the people you love and who love you, find a way to laugh out loud every day, and have the courage to take that risk you have been fearful to take. Create the true balance in your life. You won’t regret it.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager and leads Group Training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at ELITE. Meet our NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS staying active healthy habits fitness center motivation work/life balance sleep

How to Make Time for Health During the Busy Holidays

The holidays are known as a time of temptation, bustling around, and busy schedules. It’s part of what makes me love the holiday season so much. Despite the cheerful feelings in the air, many times when we get busy, nutritious foods and regular exercise are the first things to go!

I can definitely relate to feeling the holiday rush and not knowing where or when to fit in my healthy lifestyle. I also know that with a little pre-planning and a conscious effort put into my food and exercise routine, I feel much happier overall and I am able to enjoy fun holiday events even more! Whether you are attending holiday parties, working long hours, or enjoying your child’s holiday performance, it’s still important to make time for health.

Here are my six tips for staying healthy during the busy holiday season.

1. Schedule the Appointment

At the end of the weekend, I like to take out my planner and write down my workouts where I have time available (in ink!). This allows me to know ahead of time I have an appointment. And just as if I were meeting with someone for business, I don’t want to miss it or be late. Looking at my time day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, makes the busy schedule seem a lot more manageable and allows me to find empty time pockets that I can fill if necessary.

2. Make It a Traditionworkout buddy

A couple of years ago, I signed up for my first Thanksgiving morning run and it was a blast! There were tons of crazy costumes, families, and runners of all experience levels participating. The atmosphere was so happy and inviting! Having the race to look forward to kept me on task for the month of November, as I knew I needed to stay in shape to complete the race and feel good the rest of the day. I enjoyed the race so much that I have signed up for a race every year since, and now I am getting my family involved!

3. Cook in Batchesbatch cooking

Make batches of healthy meals and snacks at the beginning of the week so you aren't tempted by holiday treats at all times. I make this a habit even when it’s not the holiday season. It could be as simple as roasting extra veggies, cooking extra chicken or fish to throw on salads, or making sure all of your produce is clean and cut so you can grab and go at any time. Holiday treats are part of the season, so enjoy them, but don’t shape your entire holiday diet around them.

4. Combine Workout with Workbatch cooking

I know how it feels to have a big exam coming up that consumes every thought in my head, or extra work that needs to be completed away from the office. Having things like this on my mind have made me feel guilty about taking the time out of my schedule to get some physical activity in. Luckily, I have found a way to squeeze in some extra work while getting my exercise in. Read your notes while riding a stationary bike, running on the treadmill, or using the elliptical. It may not be your preferred mode of activity, but it is still movement. Combining the two things on your to-do list will hopefully give you a little break in your schedule so you can spend your spare time celebrating rather than at the gym.

5. Pack Your Bagworkout bag

Preparing for the next day the night before helps me stay focused and not miss any appointments I may have coming up, and that includes my workout appointment with myself! I pack my entire bag the night before so I can get up early to work out before my day starts or hit the gym right after work—if you are lucky, squeeze it in during lunch! No matter what, your bag will be packed and ready to go, leaving you with no excuses.

6. Find a Workout Buddy

Having a partner in crime for any activity makes it more enjoyable, and the same is true with working out! Another option is to attend a group class. Meeting the others in the group will help hold you accountable for showing up each day. They will help motivate you during the workout, too!

If you need some extra motivation, NIFS offers Group Training classes throughout the week to keep you on track during the holidays!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: exercise fitness nutrition staying active motivation healthy eating

No-Equipment-Needed Workouts for Holiday Travel

With the holiday season upon us, we can almost guarantee that at some point we will be expected to travel. Sometimes we only have short trips that make for a nice recharging, but other trips can last much longer. Couple that with limitations on equipment and less-than-desirable food options and we have an instant cause for concern. Because that workout your trainer prescribes relies heavily on bands, ropes, foam rollers and weights, you may think you are without a workout plan. But don't give up on your workout just yet, here are some ideas on what you can do with little to no equipment.

Do Stretching Exercises

To maintain flexibility, stretching through dynamic movement patterns is ideal and can be done in a small area. Inch Worms, Knee Ups, and Jumping Jacks are all good examples of dynamic movement patterns.

Perform Simple Exercises That Use Multiple Muscle Groups

To simplify your workout, you can focus on a few great exercises that work multiple muscle plankgroups. These exercises can range from beginner to advanced, with the functionally basic movement of sit and stand at a chair to the more challenging Burpees (add a pushup and squat jump for even more workload). The Plank exercise is also one of the best exercises for building endurance in the abs, back, core, glutes and hip flexor. To make the Plank easier add an incline or lower knees to the floor. For a greater challenge increase the period of time you hold the plank or add movement such as leg lifts or arm extensions.

Cardio Exercises at the Hotel

suitcase carrystairsThere are other “tools” you can use while on the go that you may not realize. For a cardio option, most hotels have a staircase. Use it! Avoid the elevator and take the stairs instead. For a challenge, run the stairs for ten minutes (and because most people use the elevator, it should be mostly empty for your use). Suitably known as a suitcase carry, your suitcase can be used for a one-sided farmer's carry walk that pinpoints your oblique (like a side plank), and a bathroom towel can be used to create an isometric static hold for countless upper-body exercises.

Whether or not you are on the go for the holidays, be sure to exercise the next time you travel; it’s easier than you think. See a health fitness specialist or personal trainer to help design a workout plan that is right for you.

Be sure to sign up for upcoming NIFS exclusive programs geared toward your goals (such as Maintain Not Gain, Slim It to Win It, or Summer Showdown).

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.
Topics: exercise cardio staying active healthy habits Thomas' Corner holidays muscles Summer Showdown

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Ronald Cooper

RonaldCooper 15
Charter member Ronald Cooper talks about a few of his favorite things
at NIFS! Watch his video!
Topics: exercise fitness nutrition staying active fitness center motivation anniverary

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Rick Hurst

Rick 18


Charter member Rick Hurst talks about his favorite activities at NIFS and what has kept him coming back for 25 years. Click here to watch his video.


Topics: NIFS exercise fitness cardio staying active fitness center workouts anniversary

How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle in College

With NIFS being located on the campus of IUPUI, it is hard not to notice the campus’s schedule and all of the students bustling between classes. Several students stop into our fitness center for advice so they can avoid the “freshman 15” or get their healthy habits back on track.

Now that school is in full swing and you have your classes and routine figured out, it is a good time to take a look at your healthy habits or areas that could use a little tweaking in the health department. I know how tough being in college can be, but it doesn’t mean that all healthy decisions have to fall to the wayside. This is a crucial time in your life when new routines are developed, so why not develop healthy habits that you will have for life?

College is a time when you go through many changes all at once, so it’s important to not only focus on putting healthy foods in your body, but also to be healthy physically, mentally, and socially, too! Not to worry; it may be challenging at times dealing with so many new things all at once, but I promise you will make it through.

You may be a new college student, in your third or fourth year of college, preparing to go to college, or helping a loved one get ready for his or her college experience. Whatever the case, these tips will help keep anyone college-bound healthy, balanced, and happy!

1. Create a Routineplanner

Every person functions differently. Some people are planners and some people thrive on spontaneity. Whatever the case, your body needs a little bit of routine. Make sure that you are orderly with things you do each day. For example, keeping your keys, ID cards, and notebooks in the same place each day will save you the stress of searching and scrambling last minute to find these items before each class. This extra time will also allow for more “free time” when you can do spontaneous and fun things to keep your mental and social health balanced.

2. Begin with Breakfastpeanut oats

Breakfast is the meal that boosts your blood sugar and metabolism, and can set the tone for the entire day. Skipping breakfast can lead to moodiness, low blood sugar, and overeating later in the day. Remember that you don't have to eat "breakfast" for breakfast. If you want leftovers from the night before, go for it! The important thing is to include complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat to increase your focus, metabolism, and energy. If you don’t want to eat in the dining hall, an easy dorm room breakfast is hot oats cooked in the community microwave topped with a dollop of nut butter and a side of fruit that you grabbed from the dining hall the night before.

3. Hydrate

Keep in mind that the calories in your drinks count toward your daily calories, too. If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated, and often thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Choose water when you can, and keep a fun water bottle or cup with you at all times to encourage drinking throughout the entire day.

4. Schedule Physical Activity and Make it FUN!group fitnees

Don’t like going to the gym? You don’t have to! Since I work at NIFS you probably think I am crazy for saying that! The thing is, your body doesn’t know whether you are running inside on a treadmill or playing a game of soccer. What your body does know is it was meant to move, so schedule some fun active time in your day just like a class or appointment. Sign up for an intramural sport, try a group fitness class, join a running group, volunteer at the animal shelter to walk dogs, sign up for a dance class, and get creative! Find something you love and do it.

5. Be Prepared

Although it may be hard to pack an entire healthy meal when living in a dorm, packing a snack can be easy! Some fruits and vegetables require little to no preparation (such as apples, oranges, peaches, cherry tomatoes, and snap peas) and can be thrown into your school bag for an easy energy booster. This can lift your mood and sharpen your focus to help prevent the afternoon blues and help increase your productivity while studying. Having water and emergency snacks on hand will also make it less likely for you to reach for fast food as a regular option.

6. Indulge!cookies

In moderation, it's okay to eat your favorite treat every once in a while. Things like ice cream, fast food, chocolate, or a special coffee drink are perfectly fine to enjoy...sometimes. It's not what you do every once in a while, it's what you do every day that makes a difference.

At NIFS we are here to help, and we couldn’t be more conveniently located for students in central Indianapolis.

We offer fun group fitness classes that are included in your membership. We have a Registered Dietitian on staff who can help you create a meal plan that will work with your campus lifestyle. And our Health and Fitness Specialists will create a workout plan for you for free.

If you have questions about student membership or any of the programs that we have available to help you live a healthy campus lifestyle please e-mail membership at membership@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen.Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise nutrition staying active healthy habits group fitness healthy eating snacks outdoors

7 Quick Tips to Get Moving at Work

Are you one of the many Americans who are glued to a desk throughout the day? On top of that, do you have other responsibilities outside of your work hours that limit the amount of time that you can spend exercising throughout the week? Here are some ways that you can become more active at work. Remember, 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week can make a huge difference in your long-term health!

1. Bike or Walk to Workbusinessman walking

If you can ride a bike or walk to work each day, you can add a significant amount of physical activity minutes to your week. If you have a bike path or walking trail near your home that leads to your work, this is an excellent option. Many do not have this luxury or live too far away, but that doesn’t mean it is completely out of the question. If you have a longer commute, you can drive to a path and park nearby and bike or walk the remainder of the trip. This is a great solution for those who work in busy cities.

2. Take the Stairs

Even if you are stuck at a desk the majority of the day, you can get in some quick cardio bursts if you have a set of stairs in your building. Anytime you have the opportunity to switch to a different floor, utilize the stairs instead of the elevators. For example, instead of using the restroom that is a few steps from your office, take the stairs to a restroom on a different level to sneak in some extra steps. (You can even go up and down a few extra times while you are up!) 

3. Walk on Your Lunch Break

Squeeze in a few extra minutes on your lunch break by taking a stroll around the block or through the hallways. If your time is limited, do not underestimate the value of a short 10-minute walk. The small additions of physical activity throughout your day add up fast! Some companies even offer incentive programs at work for walking so be sure to join in!

4. Walk During Meetings and Brainstorms

When possible, have meetings while walking. This can be especially beneficial during brainstorms. Instead of sitting for 20 minutes with a colleague discussing the next task, walk!

5. Desk Exercises

When you feel like you have brain block or just need to pause for a few minutes from what you are doing, complete a few exercises right at your desk! Try alternating between incline push-ups on your desk and body-weight squats for 3 sets, 10 to 15 reps for each exercise, for a quick burst of energy. All you need is your own body weight and your desk!

6. Sit on a Stability Ballbusiness women on ball

Not all companies will allow this, but if yours does you should definitely take advantage of it! Sitting on a stability ball throughout the day improves posture, strengthens the core, and is an excellent piece of equipment for a few quick desk exercises throughout the day. A regular stability ball will work, but balance ball chairs are excellent and provide additional ergonomic benefits.

7. Stand Up

Simply stand up at your desk when possible! Standing burns more calories than sitting and allows for your body to stretch from the seated position. Oftentimes we need to be seated to complete a job task, but you can easily stand during a phone call or while you are reading a long document. If you want to add an extra burst of cardio along with this, try marching in place to increase your heart rate.

Have specific questions on ways to incorporate more physical activity into your day? Sign up for a free fitness assessment with one of our expert trainers!

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, ACSM certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our bloggers.

Topics: staying active walking employee health exercise at work

New to Exercise: 10 Minutes Makes a Difference!


Can you find two and a half hours in your weekly schedule to devote to exercise? Most adults would say NO WAY! Not with my job, running the kids around, taking care of the house, and taking care of my parents. We are all busy, but the truth is, it only takes two-and-a-half hours a week of your time to lower your risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type-2 Diabetes, and some cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

time to exercise

The Health Benefits of Even a Little Activity

Would you be able to complete your list of to-dos if you were dealing with a serious health condition? The same amount of activity will also help you to control your weight, improve your mental health, and increase the strength of your bones and muscles. Wouldn’t it be great to feel stronger physically and emotionally and to have more energy throughout the day? It is possible!

Take one of my clients who has a very hectic schedule himself that changes constantly, making it difficult to make it in to NIFS every day. To combat this, he has purchased a foot peddler that he keeps at his desk to sneak in some extra physical activity when he is working to keep him on track with his fitness goals.

Fitting in Small Bouts of Exercise at Work

Think about what works for your situation and how you can find the time. Another option is to take a few minutes to complete a few exercises at your desk such as an incline push-up or body-weight squat followed by a quick walk around your office space or up and down the stairwell. Other quick-fix options include parking farther away from the front door of the store or at work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can do similar activities pretty much anywhere when you have a few minutes of downtime!

Finding the time is easier than you think! Even small bouts of exercise of only 10 minutes can contribute to your weekly total. First try to find time twice a day every day to walk for just 10 minutes. You only need to find 15 times a week (twice a day plus one extra) where you have 10 minutes to spare to reach your two-and-a-half hours! You could do this on your lunch break, while you are watching your kids practice, or by waking up 10 minutes earlier. Gradually, start adding more bouts of ten-minute activities into your day where you see fit. Making this positive change will make a huge difference in your health and you will be thanking yourself later in life for your lifestyle changes today!

Take that first step towards a more active lifestyle. Put down that mouse or smart phone right now and go for a 10-minute walk!

This blog was written by Stephanie Greer, NIFS certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Topics: staying active healthy habits exercise at home walking exercise at work