Motivated to Work Out? Planning Your Exercise Routine

Sunday, July 29, 2012 9:16 AM comments (0)

Workout-MotivationHas watching the London games made you eager to start a new exercise routine? While your training schedule probably won’t be as grueling, diving right into a new routine can be difficult. Beginning slow and identifying your workout goals is a great starting point.

Carrie Jaworski, MD, Sports Medicine physician at NorthShore, gives the following tips for starting a new exercise routine:

  • Choose an activity that you enjoy doing. You’ll be more likely to stick to it. This could include walking, cycling, running, swimming, jumping rope, or even playing basketball or soccer with your kids.
  • Find 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week to exercise. Keep in mind that you can break these 30-minute workouts into shorter intervals. Maybe given your schedule it’s easiest for you to work out for 10 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening. Do what’s best (and most convenient!) for you.
  • Mix it up. Aim to do aerobic exercise three to five times per week and strengthening workouts twice a week.
  • Work to perceived exertion. You should be able to carry on a conversation without feeling winded or out of breath.
  • Prevent injuries. Be sure to properly stretch before and after your workout. If you do get injured, remember P-R-I-C-E: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

What weekly workout activities do you enjoy most? How do you stick with your routine?

Gearing Up for Endurance Training – Beat the Heat

Friday, June 08, 2012 7:55 AM comments (0)

Endurance TrainingReady, set, go! You registered for the big race and now you’re all set to begin your training routine. Ramping up your endurance can be easy when the temperatures are cool during daytime and nighttime hours. But what do you do about training when the temperature and heat index continue to rise?

While staying on schedule and continuing training is vital to your conditioning and mental preparation, when it’s hot outside it’s important to make some adjustments in your routine to avoid injury, dehydration and fatigue.

Carrie Jaworski, MD, sports medicine physician, offers the following tips for those training for endurance races this summer:

  • Know your sweat rate and start out your workout fully hydrated. Dehydration is one of the biggest problems people face when training in the heat. Being dehydrated by as little as 2% of your weight can significantly hamper your performance and being 3% or more dehydrated puts you at risk for heat illness. An easy method to figuring out your fluid needs is to:
         o    Determine how much sweat you lose with your workouts. This can be
               accomplished by establishing a baseline weight (weigh yourself in
               the morning after going to the bathroom).
         o    Return from your workout and before going to the bathroom, weigh
               yourself again.
         o    Subtract out any fluid you consumed during your run.
         o    Plan to replace about one liter of fluid for every pound you lose.
  • Monitor your urine. Your urine is a quick and easy indicator of hydration status. It is best to always have your urine resemble lemonade, not apple juice. Certain foods and medications can alter your urine color so ask your physician if you are not sure. Don’t overdo your water intake as it can put you at risk for low sodium levels known as hyponatremia. If you are gaining weight post-exercise, or your rings feel tight, you are likely drinking too much.
  • Choose appropriate clothes. Many options exist for keeping cool while training. Look for clothes that are lightweight and light in color. Wicking fabrics will help to keep the skin cool.
  • Wear sunscreen. Apply sunscreen liberally and reapply often, especially if you sweat a lot. Don't neglect the backs of your legs and your neck.
  • Know the signs of heat illness. It is normal to feel tired after a good workout, but extreme fatigue, weakness, a racing heart and/or changes in mental status/alertness can be due to heat illness. The best advice is to prevent this from happening altogether by following the above tips. You can also reschedule workouts during times when the heat index isn’t soaring and slow your pace. If despite your best efforts, things go wrong you should:
         o    Cool off immediately.
         o    Use an ice bath or apply ice bags/cold towels to your armpits, neck
               and groin.
         o    Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms are severe.


Are you currently training for a race or run? What do you do to beat the heat?

--

Does the heat put a cramp in your fitness routine? Join experts at NorthShore on Saturday, June 16 from 8a.m. – 12:45p.m. for an educational morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden—complete with a healthy eating demonstration, work-out demonstration and panel discussions on skin care, heart health, and sports injury care and prevention. Space is limited for this free event. Register today for Total Care for the Athlete at Heart.

Earth Day – Live Well, Eat Well

Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:14 PM comments (0)

Earth DayThis Sunday is Earth Day! It is a great day to celebrate the earth and your health.

Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, integrative family physician at NorthShore, provides some tips on how you can stay healthy while being mindful of the environment:

  • Drink plenty of water a day, to your thirst, and up to 8 glasses. Among its many benefits, drinking sufficient water each day will keep your body hydrated and can regulate your weight by decreasing the amount that you eat. To help reduce waste, drink tap water or filtered water instead of bottled water. If you do drink bottled water, be sure to recycle.
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. This should combine moderate aerobic exercise (such as walking or jogging) and muscle-strengthening exercises. If you can, get outside for some fresh air and exercise. If you can walk or ride your bike to work you’ll help reduce greenhouse gases produced by cars.
  • Make half of your plate at every meal vegetables and fruits of different colors. Eat 2 ½ -3 cups of vegetables and 1½ -2 cups of fruit a day. Try to buy more local, seasonal and organic foods.
  • Compost. Not only does composting reduce the amount of garbage thrown out over the course of year, but it also makes a great fertilizer for your garden.
  • Grow a garden. If it isn’t warm enough to start seedlings outside, begin preparing your garden indoors. Once it is nice enough outside, transfer your planters and pots. The satisfaction that comes from eating what you grow yourself is priceless!

What tips do you have for Earth Day? What do you do to help protect our planet?

Maximize Fresh Air Fitness and Reduce Your Odds for Injury

Thursday, April 05, 2012 8:42 AM comments (0)

Sports InjuriesDust off those running shoes and find that soccer, football and/or basketball equipment in the garage or basement because warmer weather is here. And, with spring officially in the air, many of us who had limited exposure to exercise and outdoor activities during the winter begin our regimen.

Not only is spring a busy time for high school and college athletes, but it’s also a time for weekend warriors—those who do much of their physical activity during the weekend—to engage in recreational sports.

Adam Bennett, MD, team physician for U.S. Soccer and the Chicago Bears, offers practical advice to weekend warriors, and high school and college athletes, to reduce injury risk while enjoying outdoor activities:

  • Weekend warriors and recreational athletes should try to include some sort of training and exercise during the week to strengthen muscles. This is especially important for the muscle groups that you will be using in your dominant sport. Implementing this into your weekly routine one to two times can greatly decrease your chances for injury.
  • Teenagers actively involved in sports are encouraged to take a few days off. Not only will this positively impact performance, but it also can help prevent injuries.
  • Teenagers should also be sure to eat well and properly fuel their bodies both before and between practices. Vegetables and lean proteins are a great source of necessary nutrition. Staying well hydrated is also essential.
  • Regardless of how frequently you partake in sports, be sure that if you suffered an injury you have fully recovered and healed before you return to the sport or activity.

What sports do you play? What do you do to reduce your risk for injuries?

Fitness First - Losing Weight and Staying on Track

Friday, January 20, 2012 8:02 AM comments (1)

Getting and staying fit, isn’t always about losing weight. It’s also about increasing your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, joint flexibility and energy levels – all while fitting it into your normal routine and lifestyle.

April Williams, Exercise Physiologist at NorthShore’s Center for Weight Management has some tips to keep your exercise route on track:

  • Check in with your physician first if you’re new to exercising. This is especially important if you have other underlying health concerns.
  • Start slow. If you haven’t been exercising frequently, there’s no reason to rush into a rigorous routine.
  • Pick three days a week to go to the gym and exercise (starting out with 30 minutes) and work your way up from there. Gradually increase your workout sessions to last 45-60 minutes five times a week. Don’t feel you have to work out for five days in a row; be sure to give yourself rest days in between to relax and recover.
  • Partner with a friend or family member. Choose someone who is also committed to exercise, and either go to the gym or take a walk with them. Listening to books while exercising can also help make the experience more social and make the time go by faster.
  • Schedule time in your calendar in advance for exercise. We all get busy and it’s easy to overlook exercise when other life events occur (shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc.)
  • Keep an exercise log. This way you can measure your progress.
  • Skip the gym if it’s not for you, and look into doing exercise routines and workouts at home. There are plenty of free options and resources available.

What does your exercise schedule look like? What keeps you motivated to workout? Which types of exercise do you enjoy most?

--

Have fitness questions? Join April Williams on Tuesday, February 7 from 11a.m.-noon for an online chat about how to stay fit in 2012. Submit your questions in advance and save the date.

Trimming Down in 2012 – A Quick Guide to Weight Loss

Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:10 AM comments (2)

The New Year is upon on us, and with that comes the resolution of many: to lose weight and adopt more healthy living habits.

According to Goutham Rao, MD, Primary Care Physician at NorthShore, weight loss can be achieved through incremental behavior change. He provides some quick tips about healthy behaviors to help lose weight.

Healthy behaviors include:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast. Skipping breakfast encourages overeating later in the day.
  • Eliminate all sweet beverages from your diet and switch to water exclusively. (Sweet beverages include: fruit drinks, punches, regular soft drinks, fruit juices, sweetened iced tea, flavored milk, sports drinks and energy drinks).
  • Limit fast food consumption to no more than once per week. 
  • Incorporate about 15 – 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine (e.g. aerobics classes). Walking—even part of the way to work—is a good example.
  • Limit all non work-related screen time to no more than two hours a day. This includes computer, video games and TV. 
  • Eat meals as a family. Don’t eat in front of the TV; mindless eating promotes obesity.
  • Avoid snacks or meals just before bedtime (when energy is least needed).

What tips do you have to stay trim in 2012?

For more information about Childhood Obesity, please check out Dr. Rao’s book, Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim and Happy Child.

× Alternate Text