Tag Archives: exercise

483959971As we enter the long dark days of winter, it is important to maintain a regular exercise routine. In addition to weight reduction, regular exercise can improve sleep, reduce stress and even improve symptoms of depression. Regular aerobic activity can also help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Exercise makes your heart stronger and increases your healthy, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while lowering the bad, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis and reduce your risk of diabetes and even certain types of cancers.

Aerobic activity is any sustained physical activity that uses large muscle groups and causes the body to use more oxygen than it would while resting. Brisk walking, jogging, snowshoeing and cross country skiing are all good ways to strengthen the heart and help maintain a healthy weight.

If you wonder whether or not you’re working hard enough to strengthen your heart, use the talk test. If you can talk easily, you’re not working hard enough. If you can’t talk at all, you are probably working too hard. If you talk in fragments, and catch a breath in-between, you’re probably exercising at the right level to get a good workout.

Whether the activity involves jogging, cross country skiing or using equipment at the gym, the greatest benefit comes when you are in your target heart rate zone. Each individual’s personal zone depends on their age and fitness level. For most people, their target heart rate zone is 60 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. For otherwise healthy people with no known health issues, a maximum heart rate is usually defined as 220 minus their age, and the target heart rate zone will be 60 to 85 percent of that number.

The key to a successful exercise routine is to take it slow and steadily build up your endurance. If you’ve been inactive for a while, start with 10 minute sessions and build up to 30 to 45 minutes of activity 3-5 days a week. If you are just starting to get active, keep to the lower end of your personal target heart rate zone. You can increase the intensity as your level of fitness increases. The most important thing to remember is to pick an activity or two that you really enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it.

Sara Krebs, E.P.Sara Krebs is the Program Coordinator of MidMichigan Health’s Medical Weight Management Program. She is part of a multi-disciplinary team that consists of exercise physiologists, registered dietitians and a behavioral specialist. Together these weight management specialists work to address all aspects of weight management to help individuals effectively meet their healthy lifestyle goals. Sara received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise and Health Science with a minor in Public Health at Alma College.

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Weight Management: Surviving and Thriving

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82634926HolidayMealIt all starts with Thanksgiving and continues for two months or longer if you count the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day. The holiday season is a struggle for anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s skipping our exercise routine because we are “just too busy,” eating that extra piece of pumpkin pie as we sit around the table, or picking up one too many cookies that our co-worker brought in to spread holiday cheer, this can be an extremely challenging time of year to avoid weight gain. Holiday stress, physical and emotional exhaustion and cold weather can also contribute to lack of exercise and overeating.

It’s important to remember how hard it will be to get started on that healthy diet and exercise routine again if you stop. So, instead of waiting until January 1 to make a New Year’s resolution, try and continue your healthy lifestyle through the holidays.

Here are some quick tips for staying healthy and active during the upcoming holidays:

  • Be aware of how much you’re eating and why. Allow yourself some special treats during the holidays. If holiday cookies and other treats are a real temptation to you, allow yourself one a day to avoid deprivation and then overeating.

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