Ben (Moderator) - 9:51 AM:
Greetings everyone and welcome to the NorthShore University HealthSystem's latest chat: Achieving Your New Year's Fitness Goals with Erika Hostetler, certified personal trainer. The chat will not begin for another 10 minutes, but please start submitting your questions now and we will start answering them soon.
Erika Hostetler (NorthShore) - 10:00 AM:
Hello, everyone! Happy New Year! I'm Erika Hostetler, a fitness professional at Galter LifeCenter. I'm ready to take your questions.
George (Evanston, IL) - 10:00 AM:
What exercise is easy on your joints?
Hi George. Thank you for your question, which is a really important one. Walking is a great, easy, and low-impact exercise, and it can be done anywhere. All you need is a pair of sneakers! You can take it easy, with a leisurely stroll, or you can challenge yourself by quickening the pace, walking up hills, or adding a pair of dumbbells to the work out.
Other low-impact exercises include riding a stationary bike, exercising on an elliptical machine, and working out in a pool.
Penny (Highland Park, IL) - 10:05 AM:
If you workout first thing in the morning is it better to do that on an empty stomach or eat something first?
Thanks for your question, Penny. There is conflicting research out there about the science of fasting exercise, so my advice always comes back to what feels better to YOU. For example, some people prefer running on an empty stomach, while others need a bit of fuel in their tank to perform their best. Listen to what your body is telling you, and you won't go wrong.
Juls (Buffalo Grove, IL) - 10:12 AM:
I work 12-hour shifts & I am finding it really difficult to exercise on those days. I try to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier but I'm torn between getting an extra hour of sleep or losing an hour of sleep. Sleeping 5.5 hours if I get up early to work out or 6.5 hours if I don't. Should I just lose the hour & get the work out in? Too difficult to do after work with kids/family.
That is a really hard call and I can see why you struggle with it. Without knowing the rest of your schedule, let me make a suggestion for you. A good night's sleep and eating healthy are just as important as exercise for your body. So perhaps on the days you work these grueling shifts, you stay razor-focused on a healthy diet and quality sleep. On your days off, you can add in some meaningful exercise, knowing you've been taking care of your body in other ways the rest of the week.
But if you really want to add a bit of exercise to your workdays, you could compromise and aim to exercise just one or two of your workdays, while continuing to focus on diet and good sleep for the rest of your work week.
Good luck, and great question, as I know many of us struggle with fitting a workout into our busy schedules.
Sarah (Skokie, IL) - 10:23 AM:
I would love to get ideas on implementing exercise as a busy person.
Hi Sarah! I'm so glad you are interested in starting an exercise routine. My first suggestion would be to think about what you like to do. You will most likely be more successful if you are having fun doing it. Perhaps taking a walk with an audiobook on your headphones, or if you like to dance, you find a YouTube video that you can follow along. Galter LifeCenter has a variety of online group fitness classes for all levels: https://galterlifecenter.org/fitnessclasses/details/virtual-group-fitness
Once you pinpoint what you like, schedule time into your calendar for can't-miss appointments with yourself! Write down your goals, and keep them nearby to remind yourself of your success. Good luck!
Barb (Skokie, IL) - 10:34 AM:
How do you know what type of workout is best for you? I've always thought cardio was key, but I have been ready more and more about the benefits of high-intensity interval training in lieu of long sessions of cardio.
Hi Barb! This is a great question.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is bursts of maximum effort followed by ample recovery time, and this type of workout will improve performance and speed, as well as other benefits, such as oxygen intake during exercise. A true HIIT workout is usually practiced by professional athletes and other high-performing exercisers, while the rest of us are usually practicing circuit training or interval training that can sometimes be mistaken for HIIT.
Since we are not a one-sized fits all population, I would say the same goes for the type of exercise you choose. An ideal fitness routine would include a variety of exercises, which would include cardio, strength training, flexibility, balance, as well as HIIT, circuit training and so much more. Good luck!
Tonya (Niles, IL) - 10:51 AM:
What kind of exercise is the most effective for rapid weight loss and longevity?
Hi Tonya. I'm so glad you asked. There a common misconception that exercise is the answer to weight loss, when, really, the truth is so much more nuanced and complicated. A healthy diet coupled with good sleep and exercise will be the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Try to think of exercise as a way to feel good, as well as look good. Exercising not only is like medicine for your body, it also feeds you feel-good endorphins that put you in a good mood, and perhaps motivates you to make your next meal a healthy one. And the most effective type of exercise is the one that you ENJOY doing. If you like it, you'll most likely stick with it.
Anida (Morton Grove, IL) - 10:57 AM:
Calories or carbs? What to eat?
Hi Anida! Your diet should include a well-rounded variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and healthy proteins. A good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with half vegetables and fruits, and a quarter grains, and a quarter lean protein, according to the USDA MyPlate. Take a quiz here to learn more about what you're putting on your plate! https://www.myplate.gov/
Ben (Moderator) - 11:02 AM:
That's all the time we have today. Thank you, Erika, for your time and expertise. There were a number of questions that we could not get to, so keep your eyes on northshore.org as we will answer them in a blog post soon.
Erika Hostetler (NorthShore) - 11:08 AM:
Thank you all for your questions! Best of luck in your starting/working on your fitness routines. And please feel free to come visit us at Galter LifeCenter! All new members are offered free fitness consultations with our Fitness Specialists to help you get started with an exercise plan. We are rooting for you!
All the best,