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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

HEALTHY LIVING By Andrew Nelson hysical activity is crucial to our health and well-being. It provides numerous short- and long-term physical and emotional benefi ts. P But for people who haven’t exercised before — or who haven’t exercised for some time — it can be hard to begin and stick to an exercise plan. Staff and physicians with the Methodist Wellness Center have long experience at working with individuals to develop activity and fi tness plans that not only provide lasting health benefi ts, but also fi t into real life. Here, they offer some proven tips to get going and keep moving — whether you’ve never exercised, or you’re starting again after taking a long break. GET A CHECKUP We’ve all heard this instruction: consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Is it really that Tips to get moving important? Yes. Dr. Michael J. Feltovich, an internist with the Methodist Wellness Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, explains why. “You’d like to be certain that there’s no medical condition on the musculoskeletal side or on the medical side which would somehow be problematic in terms of the exercise program,” he says. When you talk to your doctor, he or she will talk to you about what exercise you’ve done in the past, and ask you some questions about your current health. “I’ll ask, ‘Do your knees give you problems? Do your ankles give you problems?’” says Feltovich. “And then on the medical side, ‘Do you have any established medical diagnoses? Do you have high blood pressure, do you have known heart trouble, do you have diabetes?’ Because exercise has to be designed to take all of those into consideration.” Based on your answers to questions like these — as well as the results of a basic physical examination — your doctor may clear you to exercise, or may recommend some additional testing. All of it, though, is designed to make sure that your exercise objective is safe, manageable and appropriate to your current health. GET SOME ADVICE Once you’ve seen your doctor, it’s time to develop an exercise plan. A personal trainer or an exercise physiologist can do a basic fi tness assessment and then help you put together a plan that’s suited for your experience and your condition. Determination is as important at this stage as any other, so try to stay positive. “A lot of people are afraid to get started again, thinking, ‘Oh, it’s going to be too hard to get started,’” says Peter Puzon, an exercise physiologist and senior wellness coordinator at The Methodist 60 methodisthealth.com/leadingmedicine


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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