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Missed your New Year’s resolution? It’s OK to restart

How much exercise do you need?

If you turn on the TV, you're bound to see advertisements for a variety of exercise programs guaranteed to help you get in shape and improve your cardiovascular health. But how much exercise do you really need to be heart-healthy? And what type of
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If you turn on the TV, you're bound to see advertisements for a variety of exercise programs guaranteed to help you get in shape and improve your cardiovascular health. But how much exercise do you really need to be heart-healthy? And what type of

Jan. 1 is full of ambitions for how to start the New Year with a plan for a fresh, healthy lifestyle. However, by March, many of us find that our plan has faded and our trips to the gym have dwindled. With spring and summer right around the corner, it’s OK to set a spring resolution and get moving now! The warmer weather is a perfect reason to break out the tennis shoes and get back into it.

Where do I begin?

To prevent yourself from getting injured, it’s important to not jump in to new exercises too quickly. Begin slowly and build up your tolerance, and start by going for a brisk walk a few times a week. Grab a walking buddy to keep yourself motivated and accountable. For optimal exercise, work up to a faster pace or longer distance to get your heart rate up. If walking isn’t your thing, try biking, jogging or swimming. If you’ve been less active for a while and experience pain once you begin, don’t be afraid to stop in to see a physical therapist.

Set a goal for yourself

Keeping up your exercise routine can be more attainable if you have a goal in mind. Set a realistic goal and track your progress. Add milestones into your plan and don’t be afraid to reward yourself every once in a while when you reach one. If you obtain your goal sooner than you think, set a new one! It’s always good to have something to work toward.

Don’t be afraid of weights

Weights are a great addition to any exercise program and provide benefits beyond the treadmill. Free weights are extremely versatile, allowing you to customize your workout to what you want and need. Building strength is key to keeping your muscles strong, promoting fat-free body mass and improving the activities in your daily life. As we age, using weights — even if they are small — is important. Once again, don’t be afraid to consult a PT if you experience pain in your activities, or consult a personal trainer to set up an exercise plan.

Don’t be discouraged

Like all good things, this takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Just getting off of the couch to exercise 2-3 times a week is an excellent start in beginning your healthier life. If you don’t see improvement, ask for some help or advice — you might just need to adjust your program. Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Jan. 1 may have gotten the best of you, but spring is your time to shine!

Julie DiStasi is a physical therapy technician at Mount Nittany Health Fit for Play.
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