Restarting Your Fitness

Had an exercise lapse? No worries? Follow these easy steps to get back on track safely and smartly.

Fitness  Slips Away so easily. One week you’re on the walking path or at the gym every other day,the next you make it a couple of times.Then a few more weeks slip by.A cold virus,a busy workweek-and one day you wake up and your exercise routine is a distant memory.

Or maybe the athletic thing never really made sense to you.But now you’re fired up and you’re ready to fire up some workouts.Getting started-or restarted-takes some care,espeially if you’ve put on a few pounds in the interim or you were carrying extra weight to begin with.And don’t expect to jump right into the federally presrcibed levels of exercise.At first,the distance or internally could be too much.
“People often expect to pick up right where they left off”.says American College of Sports Medicine spokesman  Stephen G.Rice,M.D.,Ph.D., director of sports medicine at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center.”That’s surefire way to bring on an injury.If it’s only been a few weeks,you should start at 50 percent of your original workout.” And if you’re really just getting serious about working out,begin at even 25 percent of the recommended amount,he says.
If you’ve gone more than a few months without working out,treat your reentry as if you’ve never exercised.Here are five things to keep in mind.

  • CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
    You’ll happy to know that very few conditions can keep you from being active.People exercise regularly despite all kinds of health woes-even chronic diseases.But see your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to make sure your body is ready.
  • YOU’RE READY-WHAT ABOUT YOUR GEAR?
    Once you have a doctor’s blessing,check your workout gear.Are you planning to walk? Invest in good shoes.Typically,sneakers should be replaced every three to six months,or 300 to 500 miles of walking.Even if the soles look like they have some miles left in them,the cushioning can break down and leave your feet vulnerable to injury.Planning to ride a bike for exercise? Have your wheels tuned before you head out-and make sure the brakes work.
  • A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY
    Government health experts recommend you exercise 30 minutes most days of the week-or a minimum of 20 minutes of high-intensity activity three days a week.But ignore  those numbers when you start.Only stay active for the length of time you feel comfortable ,says Dr.Rice,even if it’s just a few minutes.”Stop when you’re tired: don’t go until you’re hurting.”
  • ADD SOME WEIGHT EXERCISE 
    Strength training is a critical part of any workout program,though most people groan when they hear it.Even more than aerobic exercise.lifting weights will pay off right away.Research shows that after just three weeks of regular lifting,muscle begins to replace fat and the body manages blood sugar more efficiently.In one four-month trial,people who lifted weights shed eight more pounds of pure fat than aerobic exercises.The American College of Sports Medicine advises beginners to lift two to three days a week and to start with at least one set of eight to 10 repetitions per muscle group.You can streamline your workout by doing lifts that challenge several muscle groups at a time-leg press,chest press,shoulder press,lat pulldowns,crunches,rows and squats are a good rotation for beginners.Be sure to start with light weights-or do the moves sans dumbbells.
  • STEADY AS YOU GO
    Dr.Rice advises exercises not to increase their distance or length of workout by more than 10 percent a week.If you’re walking a mile three days a week,up the distance to 1.1 miles the second week.”That may seem to little of an increase for some people,” he says.”but you have to take the long view.If you keep increasing at 10 percent,withing about two months you’ll have doubled your distance.And you’re less likely to suffer injuries.” You’ll know you’re ready to increase your weight when you can do 11 repetitions of a move,Dr,Rice says ” Add a few pounds so that you can do seven repetitions and no more.Use that weight until you can lift it 11 times,then increase the weight again.” Dr.Hill advice for walkers is to keep it simple.”I don’t believe in setting goals around total number of steps or time,” he says.”Any increase in activity is success.”

FAST FACT

Get pedometer to count steps and wear it all day to keep track of how you’re doing,Dr.James Hill advises.Then look for ways to add 2,000 steps.Eventually,you’ll want to average around 10,000 steps a day,but give yourself plenty of time to work up to that number,he says.Slow and Steady…

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