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Things to consider before starting an exercise program

It’s a new year and a new decade, so like many others you may have decided to finally start a program of regular exercise. There are many reasons to get started since regular exercise can reduce your heart attack risk, lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthen bones, improve balance and boost energy. However, as with any change in life, it pays to do a little planning. Here are a few tips to consider when starting an exercise plan.

You are not 16
You may have been able to do 50 push-ups in high school gym class but those days have passed. As a teen, your body was still developing and surging with hormones so you were able to do many things that may not be so easy now. It is important to start by assessing your fitness level and record things like your pulse rate before and after walking a mile, how far you can reach forward while sitting on the floor with your feet in front of you and your body mass index. Instead of trying to duplicate your high school workout routine, use this current information to develop an exercise plan.

Set challenges that are realistic
Come up with a workout that pushes you, not destroys you. If you can talk on the phone when you are working out, you need to up your game. But if you can barely move after a workout, you need to pull back. Set some goals like losing a few pounds or regaining strength in your legs to help with motivation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests trying to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. Remember to warm up and cool down before and after each exercise routine to protect muscles.

Make exercise convenient
Be creative and come up with a variety of activities that are enjoyable and doable. Instead of walking every day, try walking three days a week, riding a bike once a week and perhaps go ballroom dancing once a week. If you don’t enjoy your exercise choice, it is less likely that you will continue. Exercise needs to become part of your daily routine. Some people find it helpful to have exercise buddies who will work out with them and provide encouragement.

Look at the total package
Exercise is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. If you run two miles and come home to drink two beers and eat a bag of chips, you are not going to get the best results. A healthy lifestyle includes a nutritious diet and a good sleep regiment as well as exercise. The human body needs adequate nutrition to repair and rebuild muscles. Your body also needs enough sleep so that hormones can do their work. Be sure you have the proper equipment, especially shoes. If you are running, invest in some running shoes but if you are doing cross-training, look for shoes that offer more support.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you have concerns about your health, you may want to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you are investing in exercise equipment, learn how to use it correctly to avoid injury. Doing exercises incorrectly can cause significant harm. When in doubt, seek professional guidance.

Listen to your body
Whoever said “no pain, no gain” was not thinking of safety. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. A common mistake is to start exercising in a frenzy and then get so exhausted that you give up exercise altogether. Push a little but when it seems overwhelming, take a break. Try keeping track of your progress. Write down how long it took you to run a mile or how far you can reach. Seeing progress is a great motivator. If you haven’t taken a run or touched your toes for years, take it slow and steady to avoid a serious injury.

A time for extra help
During a prolonged illness or recovery when a person is unable to move about as normal, deconditioning begins. This is a physical and sometimes psychological decline in function. Even a relatively fit person can lose 50% of muscle function is just three weeks of being confined to a bed. Regaining strength after an illness or injury requires intentional physical therapy, which can be challenging to complete during recovery at home. This is why many people choose to recover in a short-term care facility where there is a rehabilitation program in place.

One of the premier choices for short-term care is Whitehall of Deerfield where guests have access to specialized equipment and experienced therapists who can move you toward recovery at a steady and effective pace. Whitehall of Deerfield has been given Medicare’s highest rating in its five-star quality rating system of rehabilitation facilities and is accredited by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading and most respected health care accrediting authority making it an excellent choice for recovery.

Guests at Whitehall of Deerfield receive the highest quality medical and personal care. Well-appointed rooms feature world-class amenities including concierge service, valet parking for visitors, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, high-speed wireless Internet, dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies and much more. Guests enjoy a variety of appetizing menu items either in their own rooms (in-room dining) or in attractive dining rooms. There are also complimentary fresh-baked treats and ice cream available at an on-site ice cream parlor and coffee shop. A life enrichment department provides various leisure and social programs to enhance your stay.

See for yourself if a short-term stay at Whitehall of Deerfield answers all your needs by requesting a private tour. After meeting the team of professionals and seeing the elegant surroundings, it will be clear that Whitehall of Deerfield is an ideal place for short-term care.

To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600