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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

Hospital’s Wellness Center. “But you’ve got to start somewhere!” TAKE IT SLOW Most plans will begin not with fullfl edged cardiovascular exercise, but with steadily increasing levels of physical exercise — and for good reason. “I preach gradualism,” says Feltovich. “The problem with saying, ‘I’m going to run four miles tomorrow’ is that you get sore, and then you don’t exercise. So all you’ve done is set yourself up to get set back.” Walking is often the fi rst step — no pun intended. “The most important thing, and the simplest thing for someone who has not worked out in a while, or who has never worked out, is walking,” explains Oliver Batinga, also an exercise physiologist at the Methodist Wellness Center. “It’s the most simple and basic functional thing we do on a daily basis.” A walking plan might start with a very short walk at a gentle pace. But with repetition, you’ll soon be able to increase the distance and the speed — and before long, you’ll be gaining real cardiovascular benefi t. DON’T GO IT ALONE Starting something new can be intimidating when you’re fl ying solo. Having a partner can be a real help — for company and for motivation. “If you have someone waiting for you, like a personal trainer, or if you have a workout buddy, you know someone’s waiting for you, and you know you’re going to be accountable for your time,” says Puzon. “So, people have a tendency to show up.” Batinga agrees. “If you have someone who can motivate you as well as work out with you, that’s one thing that can help get you back on track,” he says. FIND EXERCISE EVERYWHERE Exercise doesn’t just have to be something that you do at the gym or at Leading Medicine • Volume 7, Number 1 a set time in the day. A good element of a healthy life can be a commitment to increasing your activity throughout the day as a part of your everyday activities. You can make a point of parking at a distance from the grocery store, to add a short walk to your trip. And you can make a point of walking all of the aisles in the store, rather than going straight to the top items on your list. At the offi ce, you can take the stairs, rather than the elevator, for short trips. Even if you use an escalator, you can walk to speed your progress. And if you have a meeting with one other person, you might suggest that the two of you take the meeting on foot — making it a walk, instead of a sit-down meeting. Speaking of sitting down, that suggests another direction. “We do a lot of sitand stands every day — we sit and stand from our chairs,” says Batinga. “By doing so, you work your large muscle groups. So, if you’re at your desk, you can sit and stand up and down a few times. That will work your leg muscles, which is good for strengthening and balance.” KEEP GOING Starting an exercise program is, by defi nition, a beginning. But it’s a good one, and it can improve your health, your self-esteem and your quality of life. Once you’re under way, the key is to stick with it. “You take the initiative of starting somewhere. Then once you get used to it, then you start feeling good about yourself, and then, bam! You’re in your own workout,” contends Batinga. “But then it’s also a matter of maintaining it and persevering — so that you maintain your goal and then improve your lifestyle even more.” n Dr. Gregory Terry Making the Right Moves Finding the right exercise for you is just as important as getting started. Dr. Gregory Terry, a family medicine physician at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, recommends weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, doing tai chi or using an elliptical machine to strengthen bones. “Walking at least 30 minutes, fi ve days a week, is not only good for your bones and joints, it’s aerobic exercise that helps lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure,” says Terry. “As you get in better shape, you can tailor and lengthen your walks for maximum enjoyment,” suggests Terry. “Doing some stretching after walking, especially if the walk is going to be long or strenuous, helps to keep the joints fl exible.” If you have serious problems or pain while doing any weight-bearing exercise, try going to the local pool. “Water exercise doesn’t help so much with strengthening bones, but it is great for strengthening muscle, and improving balance and range of motion,” says Terry. The buoyancy of water reduces the pressure on bones and joints, so try moving your legs in place while standing in water up to your neck. Stay close to the edge if you need to grab on to maintain balance. While hanging on to the pool’s edge, try some leg kicks or pull your knees up to your chest and stretch them out again. n i n a d d i t i o n For more information on services at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, please call 855-999-7564. 61


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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