Beginning to exercise—safely

Below are links to vetted websites and the library offers a variety of health resources including Health and Wellness Resource Center.

With a new year upon us, resolutions to lose weight and get fit are surely on the top of many a “to do” list for 2011. In the rush to join a gym and get started, some folks jump in with the best of intentions but with little caution for how to put together a safe exercise regimen. Some suggestions and resources for getting fit safely follow.

Medical professionals have long advised those beginning a workout routine to first consult their physician for clearance and guidance. This is particularly important for those who are recovering from illness or injury, pregnant, have diabetes or other diagnosed health condition, are over 65 or have a heart condition. Your physician will likely encourage some form of exercise but not be able to provide guidance on what types and how often.

Fitness experts are used to the mad rush to the gym that inevitably hits post-holiday season. They are just as accustomed to seeing gym attendance flounder come February. To stick to a healthy and effective fitness routine, they advise that individuals set realistic expectations and achievable goals. By sticking to one small physical activity goal and perhaps one small nutrition goal, beginners are more likely to see success and keep at it.

Fitness pros also suggest a whole body approach to exercise that includes both cardio and weight-bearing activities. A holistic approach to exercise ensures both a strong cardio workout that will benefit the heart, lungs and blood vessels and a workout that will enhance the function and long-term health of one’s bones, muscles, joints and connective tissues.

Working with a personal trainer who is certified is typically extremely useful to exercise novices who may not even know what a realistic physical activity goal would be. Likewise, working with a trained professional , exercise newbies can learn how to use equipment that may seem intimidating, how to integrate cardio and weight-bearing exercise into a workout routine and how to set achievable weight loss goals.

Numerous resources provide guidance on exercise and doing so safely. Some of those follow.

Mayo Clinic’s Five steps to getting started on a fitness program

American Heart Association’s Children’s Exercise & Nutrition Resources

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Physical Activity Information site

Exercise is Medicine’s Keys to Exercise Success Guide

The National Institutes of Health’s Senior Health “How to Get Started” Tips: NIH Senior Health:

President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

The American Council on Exercise’s Fit Facts

by jbluethmann Jan 4, 2011 2:23 PM

The Pulse


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