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AARP, June 5, 2007
We all know that we should exercise, but sometimes it's hard to summon up the energy or motivation to make it happen. We encounter stumbling blocks at every turn and somehow end up back on the couch. Here are a few common barriers to exercise and some "work-around" tips from Robyn Stuhr, MA, Executive Vice President of the American Council on Exercise.
Squeeze in short bouts of exercise during your day.
If you have joint or muscle conditions such as osteoarthritis or low back pain, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Ask for a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in your condition. You'll learn targeted exercises that will strengthen the injured area and allow you to engage in an overall program of exercise.
Although many health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure require certain modifications and precautions, these conditions can be significantly improved by regular exercise. Seek guidance from your doctor before starting a vigorous program.
Don't become a member of the "too much too soon" club. Start with just a few minutes of activity every other day and add only 10-20% in time or distance each week. Give yourself permission to "start low and go slow". You'll reduce your risk of injury and gradually build your body's tolerance for a new active lifestyle.
Choose exercise clothes designed to keep you warm and dry in the cold, and cool in the heat. High-tech fabrics and new garment designs make it easier to handle weather extremes.
When inclement weather has you dreading stepping outside, find indoor options: fitness club, home exercise equipment, fitness videos or t.v. shows.
During hot weather, exercise first thing in the morning or evening when the air is cooler and ozone levels are low. Find a shady course or park for walking or bike rides. Drink plenty of fluids before you leave home and carry a water bottle with you.
Snowy, icy weather can create slippery surfaces. Choose an indoor option, or wear shoes with good traction. Remember that layering with jackets, hats and gloves keeps you protected when you leave the house, yet you can remove items as your body warms up.
Source: American Council on Exercise
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