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Getting in Shape Anywhere: Gym-Free Workouts

September 25, 2018 12:00 PM with The Sports Medicine Division

When you hear about exercise, you often hear about the need to hit the gym, but for many, it’s not convenient, comfortable or fun. That doesn’t mean your workouts can’t be! Our experts at the Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, Division of Sports Medicine discuss how to get your sweat on without going to the gym. Learn about various types of exercise, how you can set a fitness plan and tips for safely fitting exercise into your schedule wherever you are.

Anne Marie Zeller - 11:59 AM:
Hello everyone! Thank you for joining the chat. I am ready to answer your questions.

Ben (Evanston, IL) - 12:00 PM:
Welcome to the Getting in Shape Anywhere chat. The chat is now open and you can submit your questions at any time.

  Barbara - 12:00 PM:
I'm retired and in good health. I walk several times a week and attend gently yoga. I'd like to strengthen my arms and core. I own 2, 3 and 5 lb weights. What do you recommend?
Anne Marie Zeller
Barbara, thank you for your questions. For starting a strength training program I recommended lightweight with higher repetitions. Strengthen shoulders with 1-2 exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff and back with exercises like rows help your core also. Yoga is great for core strengthening. Adding any balance exercises to your regime helps prevent falls and strengthens the core naturally.

Anne Marie Zeller - 12:08 PM:
When starting a new exercises program, always discuss your goals with your physician. I like to recommend something called the F.I.T.T. prescription. F-frequency (how many times a week); Intensity- base on your individual goals; T- timing (how long you do the exercise and time of day); and T-type of exercise you like or want to try.

Anne Marie Zeller - 12:08 PM:
When starting a new exercises program, always discuss your goals with your physician. I like to recommend something called the F.I.T.T. prescription. F-frequency (how many times a week); Intensity- base on your individual goals; T- timing (how long you do the exercise and time of day); and T- type of exercise you like or want to try.

  Ollie (Chicago,IL) - 12:09 PM:
I have had multiple back surgeries and have a bad knee. I used to love running because it helped clear my head. Running is super painful now for me, what are some good alternatives to help get me moving without injury (swimming isn't an option unfortunately either)?
Anne Marie Zeller
Thanks for the question. First recommendation to consider cycling. With the correct bike fit and size bike, this can reduce the stress on the back and knee. Yoga is a great alternative as it help with back pain and strengthening the muscle of the core that helps take pressure off of the knee. If you have continuing knee pain that is limiting your daily life, I would recommend also seeing our local orthopedic doctor that can discuss treatment options for your knee.

  Unkown (Chicago, IL) - 12:13 PM:
I have hypothyroidism and don't want to hide behind this being the reason for my 240lbs. I want to change my life but I have two small children. One who is with special needs. What can I do to make a permanent change in my life to lose weight and stay healthy?
Anne Marie Zeller
Great questions and you are not alone with this struggle. Some of the best ways to get started with activities are to get the little ones involved in your activities. Having the whole family do an activity together has a higher rate of success. First, exercises do not have to be 2 hours long. It can be broken up into 5-10 min spurts of activity. Examples- walking after dinner with family, taking the stairs for work, walking over lunch break, dance breaks with kids. Once it becomes a habit with the family everyone is expecting it. Also, with permanent weight loss, food is medicine. To start long-term change, one recommendation I like to start with is reducing processed food in your life. We do offer exercises prescription and nutrition services also at NorthShore to help discuss more options.

Anne Marie Zeller - 12:23 PM:
It can be overwhelming with all the "diet" around in the news and online. One thing we do know is reducing processed food in our lives will naturally increase your fruit, vegetable, and more natural food consumption.

  Jennifer (DeKalb, ILL) - 12:24 PM:
My commute takes 1-1.5 hours each way. How can I fit exercise into my schedule? My kids are in their early 20s and I have a hard time finding the time. I do have a gym membership to a place I love! Thanks in advance!
Anne Marie Zeller
Jennifer, I completely understand this issue as I used to commute. Biggest recommendation is if you have time for lunch or a break, before work, make it the time you are going walking, stretching, stair walking for 5-10 mins especially after long car commutes. I have seen people bring resistance bands in their bags to get some exercises on during the day. I personally set an alarm on my phone and stretch, walk the hall, walk the stair for 5 mins a couple times a day. Also if you put workouts into your phone calendar as an appointment that is not able to be rescheduled people are more apt to be successful.

  Nancy (Skokie) - 12:33 PM:
I have chronic back pain, what are some exercises I can do at home that won't aggravate the pain but help with weight loss?
Anne Marie Zeller
Nancy, thank you for the question. If cleared by your physician for activity then some exercises that help low back pain involved stretches hamstrings, quadriceps, piriformis, and hip flexors as these are known to be involved in low back pain. Yoga has been shown to help with low back pain. Swimming (not just laps swimming) also allows you to walk, running, stretch, and strengthen in the pool with lower stress on the back and joints. Walking is also great exercise even better with stretching.

  Tom (Northbrook, IL) - 12:40 PM:
If you were limited to one piece of equipment, which do you find to be essential, even in a gym free environment?
Anne Marie Zeller
Love this question, Tom! Stuck on 2 of my favorites. 1) Resistance band- easily packed, cheap, get strength through WHOLE exercises not just the lifting part of the exercises = more calories burned and better results. 2) Suspension straps- easily packed to go anywhere, I use these in the park or playground. This is functional training that again gives your whole body exercise.

  Cindy (Wilmette, IL) - 12:47 PM:
I've tried to work out at the park or school playground and I just get so embarrassed. Do you have any tips to overcome this embarrassment of doing different exercises in public?
Anne Marie Zeller
Cindy, I hear you on this one, felt the same way. One way to think about it, you are out there exercising and you choose this for your health and most people are looking at you because they are curious and interested, maybe slightly jealous? If that doesn't work, I would suggest a time of day that fewer people are around. Try the early AM, or before sunset.

  Dave (Waukegan, IL) - 12:53 PM:
My wife and I are trying to get into shape together. What are some good exercises for the both of us, specifically ones we could help each other out with?
Anne Marie Zeller
Love it! Partners that exercise together have a greater success rate. There are some fun exercises that partners can do at home with resistance bands and weighted (4-6 lbs) balls that work legs, core, and arms. These can be easily searched online. I would recommend 2-3 upper body exercises, lower body exercises. There are ballroom dancing videos online or classes that are fun and are a great workout. Good luck and have fun!

Ben (Evanston, IL) - 1:00 PM:
That's the end of our chat, thank you Dr. Zeller for all of your insight.

Anne Marie Zeller - 1:01 PM:
Thanks to everyone for your great questions. Have fun!

This chat has ended.

Thank you very much for your participation.