What to Consider When Starting An Exercise Routine



Are you thinking about staring an exercise program or incorporating exercise into your daily routine on a regular basis?  This article offers tips for beginners on how to first begin and what to pay attention to as you learn to make exercise part of your life.

Start with Low Impact.


Start an exercise program by choosing low-impact exercise including walking, swimming, light resistance training or beginner-level classes. Make sure exercise is easily accessible and fits into your schedule. So for instance you may want to pack an exercise bag with you when you leave the house in the morning so you can go to the gym on the way home. Or, you may set a goal to walk at lunchtime. Aim to progress by about 10% per week. So for instance, if you walked around your neighborhood this week, add about 10% distance the following week (this may equal your neighborhood and an extra block).


Strength Training Guidelines.


Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with light aerobic exercise followed by light stretching before beginning. Also, if you’ve never done strength training exercises before, schedule time with a trained exercise specialist to learn how to perform the exercises correctly (and ask them about doing a dynamic warm-up as well). This will help prevent injury and also ensure that you get better results. Start off 2 to 3 days a week allowing at least one full day of rest in between workouts.


Focus on Form.


In the beginning, it is important to ignore activity tracking devices, the amount of weight you are lifting, repetitions and sets. If you’ve never performed strength training exercises before, learning the proper movement patterns is the most important thing you can do. Your entire body needs time to adapt. If your tendons and ligaments don’t get the time they need to adapt, you may risk an injury. After at least nine workouts, you can start to focus on reps, sets and weight and increase all slowly and under the guidance of a trained exercise specialist.


Sticking with it.


You are more likely to stick with an exercise program if you have identified one or more goals. For instance, your goal made to make specific health improvements or transform your body. Once you have your short and longer term goals laid out and you have developed a baseline level of physical conditioning, you can work with the exercise specialist to identify the type of physical activity, intensity, duration and days per week to help you meet your goals. In addition, gathering baseline measures and setting up plan for tracking your progress will also help you stay motivated and adjust your exercise routine when necessary.


As with any exercise, stop if you are mentally or physically fatigued, feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous or feel pain, as your form (bio-mechanics) will suffer and this may lead to a strain or injury.


Great resources for older adults are available from the National Institute On Aging.



What You Need to Know before Starting Physical Activity

Pre-Exercise Considerations

Pre-Exercise Considerations


This article is targeted to those who do not currently exercise regularly, but want to begin.


Exercise is medicine.


In fact, it is so important that the American College of Sports Medicine states, “Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death worldwide and is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers.”


If you are new to exercise, how do you get started?


First see if you need a Health Screening:


Get a Health Screening if you have:


  • A chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, end stage renal disease or symptomatic or newly diagnosed pulmonary disease or new or unstable symptoms of cardiovascular disease, see your physician prior to beginning an exercise program. Also ask your physician about getting an exercise test (this is recommended) prior to starting an exercise program or ramping up the intensity of your current program.


  • Two or more cardiovascular disease risk factors (check your Total CVD Score here)  you should also see your physician prior to starting a vigorous intensity physical activity program. However, if you feel comfortable, you can begin a light to moderate intensity activity program, such as walking, prior to consulting with your medical doctor. See more about beginning an exercise program by clicking here (hyperlink to next blog).



If you are generally healthy and asymptomatic you may not need a health screening.


Are you ready to get started?


References:  ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.


Ahh-choo! Natural Remedies for Springtime Allergies

bee on echinacea


When layers of yellow cover your car, the street and sidewalks, you know allergy season is here. In an ideal world avoiding the allergens completely is the best solution for minimizing allergy symptoms. However, now that the weather is finally warmer, it’s tough to stay indoors all day long. Last year we mentioned foods high in querectin, probiotics and green tea (as well as liquids in general to help thin mucous) as potential options that may help minimize some of your allergy symptoms. And this year we are adding a few more natural remedies to our anti– allergy arsenal.


Vitamin C Rich Foods


Vitamin C is an antioxidant necessary for healthy skin (the largest organ in the body and your first line of defense against bacteria and pathogens), wound healing, the absorption of plant-based iron, immune health and many other functions. In addition, some research studies suggest that vitamin C may decrease airway constriction due to allergic reactions. There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that vitamin C supplements are warranted however, be sure to eat enough vitamin C rich foods. Bell peppers, oranges, kiwi fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and baked potatoes are all excellent sources of vitamin C.


Nasal Rinses


Over-the-counter nasal rinsing products that contain sterile saline help moisten nasal passages and also clear out allergens and debris. If you’re using in a device at home with tap water make sure you follow the FDA instructions for safety to ensure that you do not get sick from your nasal rinse.


Choose Your Fruits and Vegetables Wisely


If you know you’re allergic to certain environmental allergies you may also have an allergic reaction specific raw fruits, vegetables and nuts that have proteins similar to those in pollen.  When the immune system reacts to these proteins you have oral allergy syndrome. Symptoms are typically isolated to the face and mouth and may include itching or swelling in the mouth, face, lips, tongue and throat after the consumption of certain raw fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Here are the common environmental pollen and potential cross-reactions with fruits vegetables:


Birch pollen: apples, almonds, hazelnuts, celery, cherry, hazelnut, cherries, kiwi, peach, pear, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, carrots.


Grass pollen: celery, melons, oranges, peaches, tomatoes.


Ragweed pollen: bananas, cucumbers, melons, tomato, sunflower seeds or zucchini.  Chamomile tea and Echinacea may also cause a problem in some people.


You don’t need to give up any of these fruits or vegetables completely. Instead, just cook them or consume them in processed form such as canned fruits and vegetables.


Be Aware of Exercise and Food Interactions


If you find that you get itchy, feel lightheaded, develop hives or have an anaphylactic reaction during or after exercise, take a close look at what you ate beforehand. Some individuals develop an allergic reaction to foods after exercise. Common culprits include crustacean shellfish, alcohol, tomatoes, cheese, and celery.


Allergies can be a nuisance and tricky to manage. However, if you avoid the environmental allergen is much as possible, take a shower and wash your hair and wash the clothes that you were wearing when outside while also avoiding eating any raw foods that could also cause a reaction, you may get through the allergy season a little bit easier this year.