KHQ MD: How to get started on an Exercise Program - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ MD: How to get started on an Exercise Program

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Exercise Specialist and Registered Nurse Heidi Green from Deaconess Medical Center is ready to get you moving! Here are her words of encouragement about getting started on an exercise program, and what regular exercise can do for your heart- and the rest of your body!

 Benefits of regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise:

-          Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system.

-          Improve your circulation and help your body use oxygen better.

-          Lower your blood pressure.

-          Improve your blood cholesterol levels.

-          Reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke & type 2 diabetes.

 How often & how long do I exercise?

- For health benefits adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) a week of moderate intensity exercise.  Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and spread throughout the week. Additional benefits are seen if adults increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise.

- Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days each week.

 How to start:

- Inactive adults should increase physical activity gradually over time to meet the guidelines. Remember to "start low and go slow" by gradually increasing how often and how long activities are done.  Start by taking a 10-15 minute walk 3-5 times a week.  Add 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes of moderate-intensity walking 5 times each week.

-  Individuals with diagnosed chronic conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis) and/or symptoms (such as chest pain/pressure, dizziness or joint pain) should consult a health-care provider about physical activity.

-  Local YMCA's and health clubs are great resources. Fitness professionals will be able to help you assess your current level of fitness as well as develop an exercise program.

Best exercise for weight-loss & cardiovascular health.

-Aerobic activity is best for weight-loss and heart health. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen. Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses your large muscle groups (arms & legs) and makes you slightly short of breath. Aim for moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

- Use the Talk Test as a gauge: you should be able to walk and talk (2-3 work sentences) but not walk and sing.

Examples are (but not limited to);

- Walking Briskly

- Biking

- Doubles Tennis

- Hiking

- Swimming

- Dancing

* Do remember that muscle mass contributes to total calories burned. To help with the natural decrease of muscle mass as we age and add to total calories expended through exercise, make sure to add full-body muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week.

 Other benefits of exercise:

- Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath

- Increase endurance

- Improve muscle tone and strength

- Improve balance and joint flexibility

-Strengthen bones

-Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight

-Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression

-Boost self-image and self-esteem

-Improve sleep

-Make you feel more relaxed and rested

-Make you look fit and feel healthy

 Words of Wisdom

The goal is to pick an activity that you like and one that fits into your life. Then do it consistently.  If it helps, think of each completed exercise session as a deposit into your own personal health and wellness account. It is an investment in your future.

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