Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fitness Tips

This article originally was published on in the Fall of 2015

Exercise.   Depending on who you are, that word can invoke various thoughts and feelings in your mind and emotions.  If you dreaded gym class, you might have feelings of anxiety.  If you were a high school athlete, you may or may not feel nostalgia at the thought.   Whatever your feelings, exercise is something that we all need in one form or another.  We need a certain amount in order to feel healthy, to be healthy.   I am not speaking of running marathons or participating in Iron Man triathlons, just activities to keep your body, mind, and spirit humming along.


As a former certified group fitness instructor and now a registered nurse, I would like to discuss some
“fitness tips” with you in this article.  Don’t get me wrong—I have been struggling with my weight the past few years (since getting older…sigh) despite my almost daily workouts.  I do however have blood pressure on the lower end, my triglycerides are low and my HDL (good cholesterol) is on the higher end of normal.  Being slim is nice but being healthy is too!
When you decide that you need to become more physically active—and I know that you have read this many times before— you do need to meet with your doctor and get the okay to begin to exercise.  Even if you are in your 20s, it is best to have a physical with your health care provider and have your blood pressure, lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), blood sugar, heart and lungs evaluated.  If you do have an underlying, undetected health condition your doctor may want to restrict your activity level or have you meet with a personal trainer or nutritionist first.  Better to be safe than sorry!
Next, decide what type of activity you would enjoy.  If you don’t enjoy it, you are not going to do it.  Find something that you will stick with.  Walking is one of the best activities that you can do and it is virtually free, you just need a good pair of walking shoes.  Swimming is another activity that many people enjoy and most city recreation departments offer a low cost monthly pass.  Swimming is also great as it is non-weight bearing and anyone with joint problems can benefit from this.  Maybe you have participated in the past in a group sports activity, such as volleyball or basketball.  Again, check with your city rec department or ask your friends if any of them would be willing to have a game a couple of times a week.  If there are community colleges or universities in your area, many offer community classes at a lower rate and most offer some fitness classes; in the past, I have taught at our local college and had a good response.