If you have a medical concern, please consult your physician before beginning any physical exercise program.
Increasing Heart-rate: Raising your heartrate as a targeted approach to cardiovascular stimulation is an approach that is approved by healthcare providers for optimal health and wellness.The best approach is a regular dose of elevated heartrate. Begin slowly and regularly then step things up.
For starters, kick off with a 10 minute walking regimen, keeping your pace regular and your arms swinging at shoulder height to increase your stride (which increases the actual amount of leg muscle that you are using). Then add in a walk/jog regimen, pacing your walk/jog at a 3:1 pace. Even if you have issues with leg cramps or with peripheral artery disease or if you have shin splints, you can start this exercise routine and it can help.
Then, step it up, literally. Start with stair walking and take it 1 flight at a time, then 2 flights, then 3 flights. Once you’ve gotten up to 5 minutes of stair walking, then start taking the stairs at a slightly faster pace. Once you ‘feel the burn’ in your upper thighs, you are reaching aerobic capacity for the muscles you are using. If you stop to rest, that’s okay, but only stop for 10 seconds, then resume walking for another flight or 2. If you slow down but keep walking, you are getting to the next level of emptying out your glycogen stores in your muscles which is a slightly higher level of exercise. And if you keep pushing through and continue the stairs until your muscles ‘collapse’; then you’ve reached the goal of muscular “failure” which means that you have burned all of your glycogen stores and now you are burning fat for energy. And you can do this in only 5-10 minutes!
Gym; Equipment, Trainers and Classes: Now, if you are feeling even more adventurous, take it to the next level. That may include a gym with equipment; and trainers who can help you learn how to use them. Or you may wish to add muscular/body balance work by adding in Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi; all of which help bring in metered breathing and a more balanced approach.
Swimming Pool Exercise: For the truly seasoned exercise person, who is already a jogger or runner, you can do more demanding exercise and that is phenomenal. Yet, many patients are unable to handle that level of impact-style exercise due to issues such as osteoarthritis of hips or knees or peripheral neuropathy to feet or even plantar fasciitis or heel issues that cause pain with walking or impact. In that case, head to the pool and get involved in water-based exercise classes.
Weightlifting: For another high quality exercise option for both the novice and the seasoned exercise person, try weightlifting. Weightlifting can be done with hand-held weights or with ankle-weights while you walk or even stretch bands while you are sitting. Weightlifting can also be done at a gym, working with graduated weights on a machine. The Cadillac of weightlifting is working with a trainer for a personalized and targeted approach to specific areas of concern. For example, patients with back pain may be quite surprised to learn that targeted weightlifting with their back can help strengthen back muscles to even help a bulging disc in their spine to be drawn back into place by stronger vertebral muscles.
The Right Level: It’s never too late to start and it’s always fine to take a break and then step back into your routine. Whatever exercise you do, learn how to do it safely and on the right gradient for your body at this time.
Find the level of exercise that works for you!