The New Year is coming around. We all want to have a life of health and shed those extra pounds. Of course you do! It’s one of the top three on everyone’s New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself and your health care professional. Be prepared and you’ll succeed in 2007. How about getting a head start on the resolutions? You could be the person that doesn’t gain during the holiday season!
1. What are the best types of exercises for me? How should I tailor my exercise program to my particular fitness needs?
Your health care professional is not going to tell you everything. They can tell you what to watch out for like knee problems, back problems, and such. You’re going to have to research exercises that will benefit you. There are some wonderful and free websites out there that will show you different exercises.
Let’s use my own body for example. I’m cursed with knee problems. So whenever a personal trainer or DVD asks me to do lunges, I go into a tiff. It’s not that I don’t want to do them. It’s just that my knee painfully pops every time I do one. So, I improvised and do extra squats instead.
You can’t skip a muscle if you have problems. You need to use that major organ in your skull and come up with exercises that you enjoy and can do.
2. Do I need to undergo an electrocardiography test (exercise stress test) prior to beginning an exercise program?
Good question to ask your doctor. Especially, if you are taking heart medications, are obese or have a history of heart problems in your family. We don’t want your new exercise regime to send you to the ER.
3. What is my resting heart rate? What should my heart rate be while I’m exercising?
You don’t actually need to go to the doctor to find this out. It is something that you want to check constantly though. No, I don’t mean every hour. I mean every week or so. Your heart rate tells you at what intensity you are working at. To get the best cardio effect, trainers say that you should be working at your target heart rate.
Do not use the target heart rate measurement if you are taking medication that affects your heart rate, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or digoxin.
4. What signals should I watch out for while I’m exercising?
Listen to your body! There are signs that tell you that you are pushing yourself too hard or that there is a serious problem. For example, my painful popping in the knee is a sign. You should also be watching out for joint and muscle pain, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and signs of heart problems.
5. At what duration, frequency and intensity should I begin my exercise program? What should I be able to work up to?
If you have medical problems to deal with then talk with your doctor. Most trainers say that you should try to do a cardio routine three days a week, for 30-45 minutes. The intensity is based on your target heart rate. We all start out somewhere. Some of us won’t be able to do 30-45 minutes. It’s ok to start with 15 minutes of cardio. It’s your body. When your ready to add more time because 15 minutes is too easy then add more time.
6. What if I experience chest pain, faintness, dizziness or bone/joint pain while exercising? Chest pain, faintness and dizziness can be a sign of heart problems, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Call your doctor!
7. If weight training is recommended, what weight should I start out with?
There are tons of benefits when weight training is involved. Weight training produces muscle which supports your body. Muscle cells also burn calories. Weight training exercises have been known to increase the density of your bones. The best weight to start out with is the one that you are comfortable with and can do the exercise in proper form. If you feel the muscle burn on the tenth rep of an exercise, than you have the right weight for now. As your muscles grow with exercise, you will want to increase the weight gradually.
8. How might my medications affect my exercise program, especially exercise intensity and heart rate response?
I mentioned a few medications before, as with anything, always talk to a health care professional before starting an exercise program.
9. Should I change my diet in any way after I start an exercise program?
I’ve always been on the weight loss program side of this question. If you want to lose weight than you’re going to have to change those eating habits. If you do not need to lose weight, you will want to eat the calories that you have burned during exercise.
10. Can you recommend a hospital-based fitness program?
There are some hospital-based programs that track and take care of everything. If your health care profession doesn’t know of any, than you can do a search through Google, ChaCha or Yahoo search engines.